Why Kilimanjaro?

Published by Fr. Corwin Low, OP on

Mt. Kilimanjaro is one of the famed Seven Summits, a collection of the highest mount peaks on each of the seven continents. So while Kili (as the locals are apt to call it) doesn’t rank up with all those peaks in the Himalayas or the Andes, it is still quite high, coming in at 19,341 feet (or 5,895 meters) above sea level. It’s prominence (height above surrounding area) is almost as high as the mountain itself, coming in at 19,311 feet, making it the 4th highest mountain in the world using this measurement. It truly is a mammoth.

Because of its proximity to the equator (it’s only 3 degrees south), means that the base of the mountain is quite warm. Mountains much further north or south are cooler or even frozen at their bases. And since there’s approximately a 3 degree drop in temperature for ever 1,000 vertical feet, the top is not nearly as chilly as most mountains.

Lastly, climbing the mountain does not require any special equipment such as ropes, crampons, or heavy gear. There was a woman in my last party who was 62 years of age. The Masai porters and guides affectionately called her ”Mamma”. And whenever any Masai passed us they would shout out to here ”Jambo Mamma”, ”Hello Mom”. It was quite endearing.


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