A climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro before the storied snows turn to dust will be on your bucketlist sooner than you may have feared.
For many, even for those in the business or traveling to Africa for the first time, the Mount Kenya, Mt Kilimanjaro and other high-altitude destinations are known only by those who have achieved them. The top of Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, is shrouded in clouds when it’s snowing.
Yet, this is no ordinary snow—it’s the stuff of legend. Kilimanjaro, the world’s highest peak, was last climbed by a Frenchman during the early 20th Century. In 1909, German explorer, Reinhold Messner, made a record attempt up Kilimanjaro, but it was thwarted a couple months earlier.
In his memoir, Messner described his frustration and disappointment, as well as the exhilaration of reaching the summit. The same can be said about an Austrian guide named Heinrich Harrer, who also went to the region in 1899 with a group of six climbers. Harrer said, “the real excitement started about two miles from the summit.” The other six climbed above that spot to find that they could not even find a trace of the climbers in the snow.
A German adventurer named Alfred Schlei visited the mountain in 1907, and made a number of attempts before his death in the following year.
Kilimanjaro remains one of the world’s most magical peaks. The region has been a refuge for adventurers for centuries, providing a refuge from the hardships of the developing world. Many have gone into the mountains, like Messner, to find themselves isolated in a place from which they may venture out and explore.
But the story of those who venture to Africa to seek their fortune is one that has been well documented for centuries. As early as 1910, one of the first explorers from the outside to trek to the region was