Friday, December 22, 2017

Tusker Scout Team to Go in Search of a 7th Climbing Route on Kilimanjaro

At 19,341 feet (5885 meters) in height, Mt. Kilimanjaro is the tallest peak in Africa, and the highest free-standing mountain in the world. Trekking to the summit of Kili has long been a major bucket list item amongst adventure travelers, and remains a challenging, but very rewarding experience. It is such a popular climb in fact that there are more than 200 companies that offer guided treks on the mountain, taking thousands of travelers up one of the six established climbing routes each and every year. But now one of top guides on Kilimanjaro believes he may have discovered a seventh route, and will soon head to Tanzania to see if it is a viable option.

According to this blog post on the Tusker Trail Adventures website, company owner Eddie Frank is planning to take a scout team to Kilimanjaro in January to search for this elusive seventh route up the mountain. The other routes – Machame, Marangu, Lemosho, Rongai, Umbwe, and the Northern Circuit – can get quite crowded during the busy time of the year, removing much of the solitude and remoteness that many of us enjoy about adventure travel. But a seventh route would likely add that back into the experience, not to mention a sense of wandering into the unknown. 

In the blog post, Eddie says We’ve been climbing Kilimanjaro for 41 years and we want to offer something new, a route no else has done.” For those intrigued to learn more, he's quick to add, "We will scout it in January so stay tuned."

For now, the details of this potential new route are shrouded in mystery and we'll probably have to wait until after January, and possibly beyond, to learn more about it. But for those of us who have been to Kilimanjaro, and know its current routes, the prospects of a seventh option are exciting. Especially one that could take trekkers far from the bustling crowds. As the Tusker article points out, the Machame route is the most popular, drawing more than 16,000 hikers each year. This new option – wherever it is – would be completely free from other trekkers, as least for awhile. 

I had the privilege to climb Kili with Eddie and the Tusker team back in 2015 and for my money the company is the best operator on the mountain. If anyone can find a new route, and take adventure travelers up it, is is probably the Tusker crew. Best of all, if this new route is indeed viable, some lucky trekkers will get the chance to be amongst the first to go up it. That alone is pretty exciting. 

No comments: