Slowly, slowly down Kilimanjaro

December 2008. “Pole pole (Paw-leh paw-leh),” my guide, Orest, warned me in Swahili. “Slowly, slowly,” I said to myself as I made my way up to Horombo Camp at 3,705 meters. That was three days ago. I was back at Horombo after reaching Gilman’s Point at 5,685 meters. It was short of the highest point, …

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The Coca-Cola route

December 2008. I sat in the mess hall at Mandara camp, waiting to be served a cup of hot tea. At 2,700 meters, it had been a relatively easy climb up Mount Kilimanjaro so far. Except for some leg cramping as I neared camp, the first day experience fit the name given by guides to …

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Testing my limit on Kilimanjaro

December 2008. 5:10 a.m. The sun emerged from behind the dark slopes of Mawenzi Peak in the distance. I’m at Gilman’s Point -  5,685 meters above sea level. Streaks of snow worked their way down the crater of Kilimanjaro.  My guide, Orest, shook my hand as he had done with countless others in previous climbs. …

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