Tanzania

Travel Log- Twelve Years Ago Today

Travel Log- Twelve Years Ago Today 620 269 Greg Ellifritz

Twelve years ago today I made a trek to the summit of the highest mountain in Africa. While getting to the top of Kilimanjaro didn’t require any technical climbing skills, it did require more fortitude than any endeavor I’ve ever completed either before or since.

 

For those who don’t know, Kili is more than a mile higher than those big 14,000 foot peaks in Colorado. It’s no joke. The summit was about 15 degrees (F) with 40 mile an hour winds.  It was a five day hike to the top and back down.

 

I had horrible altitude sickness and high altitude cerebral edema on summit day. I actually passed out at the summit shortly after the photo above was taken. I’ve never puked so much in my entire life. For about the last six hours, I would throw up about every five steps I took. All this was happening at 3:00 am so that we could be on the top for sunrise.

 

It was rough, but I made it to the top and then made it back down to base camp without assistance. And now, whenever I have to work through a difficult situation, I tell myself:

“This isn’t shit. You climbed Kilimanjaro while you were mostly dead. Suck it up and do work.”

 

It’s good to have motivating successes that can help you through the tough challenges of life.

 

Go do epic shit.

 

And for those of you who like seeing cool things, check out the photos below from my trip.  You may also like the story about how I was almost killed by a corrupt Tanzanian cop before I even started my hike.

 

The bustling town of Marengu, Tanzania

 

Marengu grocery store and bar

Butcher shop without electricity or refrigeration. Note the name. It wasn’t a very friendly town for Americans.

 

Hiking through the clouds on day two

 

Campsite Day Two

 

When the clouds cleared the next morning, I saw the summit (in background) for the first time.

 

Above the treeline on day three with a good view of the mountain.

 

The initial summit, right before I passed out.

 

African sunrise from above the clouds

 

Happy to be done at the end of the trail back down near sea level

 

Suffering from high altitude cerebral edema at the summit.