Mount Kilimanjaro - the Roof of Africa
Along the northern border of Tanzania lies Mount Kilimanjaro, the roof of Africa. At 19,340 feet, its summit is over 3000 ft higher that is nearest rival in Kenya and no other mountain in the world exceeds its mass. The mountain is visible from the plains of the Kenya and Tanzania and consumes the horizon with its expanse. Though it rests just 3 degrees below the equator, it has snow and glaciers covering its summit much of the year because of its height.
The massif of Kilimanjaro is over 43 miles across the base and 15 miles wide. It is said by geologists that the weight of this massive block of mountain is so heavy that the earth crust is depressed by it. The mountain rises out of the northern plains of Tanzania and steadily climbs up to a large saddle at 14500 ft. The saddle lies between the two peaks of Kilimanjaro. To the east is the minor summit called Mawenzi, which rises to over 16,000 feet high. Mawenzi Peak is the fractured remnant of a volcanic sideshow that occurred eons ago on the east flank of the main summit. The main summit, called Kibo, is a decapitated pyramid that is nearly block shaped, rising 5000 feet above the saddle between the two halves of the mountain. The slope gradually angles up to about 45 degrees making the final ascent to the crater rim, a steep climb that challenges all who attempt to reach the top.
The summit of the mountain is a multi-layered crater – a product of multiple eruptions that have left large glaciers over the crater floor and along the southern aspect of the mountain that receives less direct sunlight. These glaciers are regressing, and have a peculiar appearance with shear side walls that are exposed fully during the dry season and show the many layers of deposition that were created during their formation.
This is the story of our climb of this peak. Come with us on our attempt to reach the Roof of Africa.
On to the next page - Day 1