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Everest with Mountain Madness

Clear Skies on Kilimanjaro Climb

Hav­ing arrived in Tan­za­nia two days before their Kil­i­man­jaro climb, Kather­ine and Daniel chose to cus­tomize their itin­er­ary to relax in the Dulu­ti Lodge wait­ing for their Moun­tain Mad­ness guide to meet them for their brief­ing. On August 6th, I arrived and joined them in the lodge for our first brief­ing. Daniel and Kather­ine were hap­py to see me but appre­hen­sive about what lie ahead.

Kather­ine and Daniel ready for their adven­ture. Ben Mal­i­ty photo

I’m scared Ben! Is it going to be this cold on the moun­tain?” Kather­ine asked. It gets cold on the moun­tain, cer­tain­ly; most­ly in the morn­ing and evening. But not to wor­ry, you will always be warm as you hike and your sleep­ing bag will keep you toasty warm while you sleep,” I replied. They were so excit­ed to be on this adven­ture and were excit­ed at the thought of reach­ing the roof of Africa. To ease their wor­ries, I joked, We are going to eat an ele­phant tomor­row. Remem­ber it is a big ani­mal, so one bite at a time!” Every­one laughed, per­haps feel­ing a lit­tle more at ease.

The climbers with their trekking staff. Ben Mal­i­ty photo

Day one at the trail­head we met with the porters and Daniel and Kather­ine were amazed at the num­ber of staff we had for just two peo­ple. We car­ry a lot of things and we want to be self-suf­fi­cient on the moun­tain,” I said. After sort­ing through the details of the next sev­er­al days, we start­ed our climb.

Ben, Daniel and Kather­ine. Ben Mal­i­ty photo

One of the best parts about this trek is the food. The food is so good on the moun­tain and Daniel and Kather­ine were hap­py to be able to have any­thing they request­ed. How­ev­er, we do try to intro­duce local food to our guests and this trip was no excep­tion. Machalari from the Chag­ga Tribe and Ugali — which is tra­di­tion­al food from Tan­za­nia, are always favorites with our clients. Daniel and Kather­ine enjoyed this food so much that from the sec­ond day for­ward, that’s almost all they want­ed! This is the life you can enjoy on the moun­tain; shar­ing meals with local peo­ple and learn­ing from local guides in a land as beau­ti­ful as Tanzania.

A deli­cious spread. Ben Mal­i­ty photo

This is one of the rea­sons I love guid­ing for Moun­tain Mad­ness. We all agree that the cul­tur­al exchange is just as impor­tant as the climb! Anoth­er fun part of the trip was play­ing cards: guides, porters and clients. And not west­ern card games, but local card games. This became habit for all of us and every­day after lunch we would start play­ing cards and play until it was time for din­ner. Amongst all this eat­ing, cul­tur­al exchange and card play­ing, we climbed a moun­tain! The tallest moun­tain in Africa, no less. 

Suc­cess! Ben Mal­i­ty photo

We were very for­tu­nate in regards to the weath­er on this trip as dur­ing the day we saw lots of sun­shine, how­ev­er that made for low tem­per­a­tures at night. The trail was dusty with the absence of rain but Daniel and Kather­ine marched on, push­ing them­selves high­er and high­er until final­ly we reached the sum­mit. Both clients were thrilled to have made it to the top and went home with mem­o­ries to be cher­ished forever. 

- MM Guide Ben­hadad Mality