Alan Arnette knocked off another one of the Seven Summits today, reaching the "Roof of Africa" on Kilimanjaro. This is his fifth successful summit as he continues his efforts to raise funds, and awareness, of Alzheimer's Disease.
Earlier today Alan sent an audio dispatch from the top of Kili, where he reported spectacular views and clear skies overlooking the African savannah below. Since Kilimanjaro is the tallest free standing mountain in the world, at 5894 meters (19,340 feet), summiteers can see for miles in all directions, which makes the experience different from a lot of other climbs.
Following their successful summit, Alan and his team were planning a descent back down to about 3048 meters (10,000 ft) where the final camp of the climb is located. While there are a number of routes to the summit, all teams use the same route to descend, and as a result, the camp is often a busy and active place. Trekkers spend a final night in that location before hiking back to the base of the mountain on their final day, before making their way back to Moshi or Arusha, the two cities that serve as the launching pad for Kilimanjaro climbs.
In his dispatch, Alan noted that Kilimanjaro is more than the "hike-up" as it is often dismissed as. While it is true that no technical skills are needed to go to the summit, trekkers can be caught off guard by how challenging the climb can be. Not only is the altitude an issue, the trail can be rough and demanding as well, which is something to keep in mind if you are planning a Kili climb of your own. It is an incredibly special place, with experiences unlike any other, but it can also surprise you at times as well.
Next up for Alan will be Carstensz Pyramid, located in a remote area of Indonesia. That mountain is 4884 meters (16,023 ft) in height and offers a significant technical challenge. It is considered the tallest peak in Oceania, which encompasses Australia and a number of island nations in the Pacific. If you take the Seven Summits at their purest sense, the tallest mountain in Australia is actually Kosciuszko, which is 2228 meters (7310 ft) in height, and is generally considered the easiest of the all the climbs.
So far, Alan has been successful on all of the Seven Summits, save Denali. Poor weather conditions on that mountain prevented him from even making a summit bid when he was there in July. Hopefully he'll get another crack at it next summer.