I just found out one of my best friends, Mike Campbell is climbing Kilimanjaro this month.
JBS: Why Kilimanjaro?
MC: The opportunity to go with an experienced climbing group presented itself. That—coupled with the fact that the climb leader lived there for several years and has promised an insider’s view.
And we’re going the least travelled route during the best time of year.
JBS: What sort of climbing experience are you expecting compared to the NW peaks you’ve climbed?
MC: I keep envisioning the dry side of the
Cascades, but folks are telling me that it’s more like walking from Los Angeles to the Yukon… across five distinct climates. I haven’t run across any “Dr. Seuss-like” plants in the Cascades, but I’ve been told I will see some indigenous only to
Kilimanjaro. And I’ve never had anyone carry my bags on a Mazamas’ climb.
JBS: Someone will carry your bags?
MC: Yup. A porter. The government requires it.
I’ll still have my own pack, but they’ll be carrying the bulk of my crap. I think for our group of ten, there’ll be 25 porters, cooks, and yes, someone to carry the toilet.
JBS: Where do you fly into?
MC: It’s a town at the base of Kilimanjaro called
Moshi. We’ll be in Tanzania the whole time. Ten days of climbing, and then about seven-eight days of Safari. There’s also a chance we may climb an active volcano near the Ngorogoro Crater in the Serengeti called Lengai. Supposedly, if it were in the U.S. there’d be no way in hell they’d let us anywhere near it.
JBS: Do you know if there is a lot of climbing litter on the mountain? Will your expedition be doing anything in particular to “leave no trace?”
MC: Yes. It’s getting worse and worse as there’s more pressure to get clients up the mountain. One of the things we’re doing is paying a little extra to have a guide haul the human waste out. That’s become a big issue. We’re also trying to lessen our load by travelling a route that’s not travelled heavily, and we’re taking over extra gear to help support an effort called the Porter Assistance Program. A lot of these guys climb with flip-flops and light jackets. This is a way to hand off good climbing gear to folks who will totally use it.
Look for more reports of Campbell’s journey on our blog at outtheremonthly.ziplinestaging.com.
Jon Snyder, Editor-In-Chief