Kilimanjaro: The Peak Experience

Tim Ward, best selling author of Zombies on Kilimanjaro and Ultimate Kilimanjaro client, writes about his peak experience.


There is that moment when the indigo sky pales and the stars slowly vanish, yet the sun is still hidden. What time is it? You can’t guess. You are near the top of an all night hike – one way, uphill – to the roof of Africa.

The air is winter cold, though it’s July and you are standing near the equator. Your lips feel rough and numb, like they have freezer burn. For the past five hours you have thought about turning back. You might have feared you would fall asleep and wake up half frozen. Or tripped on your leaden feet and tumbled into the darkness, a human avalanche. You wiggle your toes and you don’t feel a thing. You beat your hands together, move your fingers inside your gloves as if playing piano, not hoping for sensation, but just to keep them in motion.

Somehow you persevere, putting one foot in front of other, encouraged by your Tanzanian guides, whose good humor on the trek is mostly welcome, but dang, they make it seem so easy. “Po-le, po-le, slowly slowly:” they urge you in Swahili not to push too hard. As if anything about this was easy. And yes, “Hakuna matata,” they say with a lilt in their voices, “No worries!”


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