What’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the channel. I’m Alex, aka Alexthevagabond, and you are watching Vagabrothers. In this video series, I will be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain, the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, all the way up to around 19,000 feet, actually just over it. This is going to be a huge adventure. At five thousand eight hundred and ninety five meters or nineteen thousand three hundred and forty-one feet Kilimanjaro is the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. It’s also the tallest mountain in Africa and the tallest volcano on any continent. Definitely lives up to its nickname the Roof of Africa. Located in Tanzania just a few degrees south of the Equator near the border with Kenya, Mount Kilimanjaro is at the tail end of the 4000 mile long Great Rift Valley, a massive geological fault that’s slowly ripping apart East Africa and can be seen in the gorges, bluffs, lakes, and volcanoes of the region. Since Kilimanjaro was first climbed in 1889 by a German named Hans Meyer, it’s become one of the most popular high-altitude treks in the world. But only around 65% of trekkers make it to the summit at Uhuru Peak. So here’s a couple of tips: first off take it slowly. “Pole, pole” as they say in Swahili. The longer you take, the higher your percentages of making it to the summit because “Mukungu akipenda tutafika.” If God wants it, we shall arrive. There are two main trekking seasons that coincide with Kilimanjaro’s two dry seasons: January to March and June to October. Although you can climb Kilimanjaro year-round, climbing in the rainy season is exactly how it sounds, rainy, therefore wet, cold, and unpleasant. We’re climbing in July, and the weather is fantastic. But for me the most impressive part of the climb are the four distinct ecological zones: the Rainforest from 7,000 and 9,000 feet; the Moorland Zone at 10,000 feet; the Heather Zone at 13,000 feet; and the Alpine Desert at 15,000 feet where plants experience summer temperatures during the day and winter temperatures at night. Above that is a land of rock and ice, the summit, and above that only sky. As much of an accomplishment as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is, let’s be honest it wouldn’t be possible without the superhuman effort shown every single day by the porters, chefs, and guides who do everything in their power to get you to the summit and make it as comfortable as possible. So don’t skimp. When it comes to tipping, bring an extra three hundred to four hundred US dollars for your porters, chefs, and guides because let’s be honest, without them there’s no way you’d make it to the top. The adventure begins by climbing a couple thousand feet up here in a van. We’re up here on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro We’re at about 6,000 feet, quite a lot of agriculture. They’re growing carrots; they’re replanting pine forests; and the soil here on the slopes of the volcano is actually really good. Across the valley, you can see Kilimanjaro’s little brother, Mount Meru, and it’s beginning. So really excited to get underway, start walking. We’ve got to the gate of the park. This is where everybody kind of signs in.. you pay your fees, and then this is where the porters have to weigh their bags. Legally, they’re required to have a limit. I think the limit is something around 30 kg, which is like 60 pounds. But there is a scale here. Each porter has to weigh their bag and make sure that that weight limit is below. The reason they do this is two fold: A. It’s in the porters’ best interest to have a lighter load, and B. It employs more people. Obviously, Mt Kilimanjaro is a big tourist draw, which means it’s good for the economy and for the local population. So the porters get a job and by limiting the weight means more porters get more employment. Okay, check-in is done. It’s time. We’re back in the van we’re driving down, which is counterintuitive, but then we will begin the trek in the Rainforest Zone, and hopefully this will end with us at the top of the mountain. So let’s begin. We’ve just arrived… an incredible welcome and introduction from the porters from Kiliwarriors, and then we have a nice little lunch spread. We’re going to get some food into us. One of the best ways to combat altitude sickness is to stay hydrated and continue to fuel your body by eating. So I’m going to go stuff my face real quick, drink much water, and then we’re going to begin. The trailhead is right there, and it goes up. We’ve just begun the climb, and right now we are in the Forest Zone. This is kind of the base of the mountain, even though we’re already out around 6,000 feet. But it’s pretty cool up in the treetops. You can see there’re monkeys running around. But as we get farther up, we’re going to see less and less wildlife. So today in the beginning of the trek, this is when we have the most chance to see some of the wild. We’ve been walking now for maybe two and a half or three hours. We’re at around 9,000 feet, which is difficult to believe because we’re in this lush jungle, but what I found the coolest so far are these little glades…. like the mountain kind of falls down, and then there’s just a little valley, and at the bottom of the valley it’s just full green lush foliage and all of these bird sounds that I’ve never heard before, a special place. I’m so glad to be out here experiencing Mount Kilimanjaro. Wow. End of day one. In the tents. Really actually quite spacious and luxurious. Got a little bowl of hot water for cleaning up, washing the face, and just kind of saying goodbye to the sweat and the sunscreen. But great first day. Going to have some dinner and hit the sack early. Big day tomorrow climbing out of the jungle, making our way up into the Moorland. It’s such a fun first day though. Good morning everyone. It’s day two. We’ve just finished our first night up here on the slopes of Kilimanjaro and actually slept surprisingly well. Only got up once around 2:00 in the morning. Heard some very interesting sounds in the forest at night. We’re packing up our stuff. We’re stuffing away the sleeping bags. I’m going to pack up our day packs again. We’ll have some breakfast, and then we’re going to get on the trail. We have about six or seven hours of trekking today. We’re going to gain around a thousand meters, almost 3,000 feet, and we’ll be leaving the Jungle Zone and entering the Heather Zone. Let’s go. We’ll be hiking from Big Tree Camp at around 9,000 feet all the way up to Shira One Camp at around eleven and a half thousand feet. The first milestone has been reached. We’re right on the edge of the Heather Zone, and we have to say goodbye to the Rainforest, which honestly I’m a little bit sad about. It’s been beautiful walking through these gorgeous trees. And as we’ve kind of come up to the edge of the Heather Zone, we’ve entered into almost like a cypress forest, and we’re surrounded by this lichen, which really just reminds me of back home in California in Monterey County. There’s a lot of trees that look like this. It’s been familiar. It’s been exotic. But we have to say goodbye to the Rainforest and continue climbing. We’re at around nine thousand three hundred feet here, and we’re going to continue to go up. We’re going to say goodbye to the trees and say hello to the shrubs and the Heather zone. Let’s go. Well after a long steep hike, we’ve made it to the Shira Plateau. We’ve waited a little bit, but the clouds have parted and Kilimanjaro has revealed itself to us, and it’s a really special feeling. I’m super excited. I’m really glad to be here and hopefully in a few days we’ll be at the top next to the glaciers and touch that sign on a Uhuru Peak and climb Mount Kilimanjaro. So today we will be walking across what’s called the Shira Plateau. Shira was the oldest of the three volcanoes here in Kilimanjaro: Shira, Mawenzi and Kibo. Shira and Mawenzi are both extinct. Kibo is dormant But the Shira Plateau.. Shira means war, and it was named that because, back in the day, there were wars between the local Chaga and the Maasai tribes. The Shira Peak collapsed ,and when Kibo exploded the magma that came down the Western Breach filled that collapsed caldera and created the plateau that we’re walking across today. Definitely starting to feel the altitude just a little bit, but feeling good. We got a lot of kilometers in front of us. So time to stop talking and start walking. This is pretty cool. We’re just tromping around here on the Shira Plateau. Found a piece of obsidian from the volcano and Obsidian is the sharpest naturally occurring substance in the world. Even up until a few years ago, it was used in optical surgery, eye surgery, because it’s so sharp. This would have been used by our ancestors like Homo Sapien, Homo Erectus to make tools, arrowheads in particular for hunting. There’s a lot of history here. This is a really unique corner of the globe and Tanzania really is the birthplace of humanity. It’s very interesting to to think that our ancestors would have been able to witness this volcano when it was active. Now, here we are hundreds of thousands of years later finding tools and climbing this volcano. Very cool. Wow, well right now we’re quite literally hiking up an old lava flow. You can just see billowing rock. You can imagine this just kind of oozing down before it just slowed to a stop, dried and became rock from molten magma. So one of the most exceptional parts of this trek is that the food is just next-level. And last night we had an incredible dinner of fried fish and a bunch of vegetables But right now at lunch in the middle of the trek, we’re eating fried chicken and French fries. I don’t understand how you guys do it. Good, good. Thank you. Asante. It’s about time I introduce everyone to our head guide, Wilbert. We are in great hands an amazing human being, and one of superhuman strength, I will say. How many years have you been doing this? How many times have you been to the summit? I’ve been in this mountain for more than 18 years, and I’ve been probably to the top more than 350 times. I just started like in the very beginning as the porter, Yeah and then I went on to a camp manager, And then I became an assistant guide, and then now I’m the head guide of this group. In the twenty years that you’ve been doing this, what changes have you seen on the mountain? Actually, I can even say the biggest changes, the first changes are like the first time we’re sleeping in caves and there’s no propane. That’s to begin with as porters. And now the other changes is changing in glaciers like that blue glacier was like one big one, and now you can see like split into two. So there’s like big changes in terms of operations and in terms of the mountain itself. Good morning, sunny beautiful day, a little bit chilly. We’re at 13,500 feet here at Moire Camp. We’ll be climbing 1,500 feet 4 kilometers to Lava Tower where we’ll have about a day and a half of acclimatizing. I think one of the coolest parts about this trek is that every single day we’re in an entirely new ecological zone and eventually, we’ll leave the land of rock and enter the world of ice at Uhuru Peak. That for me has been the coolest part of this trek is just being able to walk through so many diverse ecological zones in one epic trek. Just crusted the first little climb of the day, and across this big sea of cloud, you can see Kilimanjaro’s little brother, Mount Meru. And we have just arrived to Lava Tower Camp 4,600 meters right at the base of the Western Breach. We’ll have about a day and a half to acclimatize before we climb up that. We’ve scrambled to the top of the Lava Tower 180 feet above our campsite, and it’s kind of strange actually, getting this perspective, looking down on our little tent village. Yeah, this is a place of contemplation. It’s really quiet. The scenery is extremely beautiful, and now that we’re above it all, maybe just sit up here and do a little meditation. Who knows? To be honest, I don’t really know what to say. This mountain has surprised me in so many ways. We’ve gone through so many different ecological zone, and every single day has been something new, something that I’ve never experienced before, seeing plants and animals that I’ve never seen before. It’s captivating; this mountain is magnetic. It draws you up even though to be honest it’s extremely challenging. And the higher you go, the harder it gets. This is going to be the end of this video. We have an acclimatization day tomorrow. So we’re staying here at 15,000 feet. We’ll be doing some smaller hikes, acclimatization hikes, to better prepare ourselves for the summit push, which happens in two days. We can see Uhuru Peak right there. Freedom Peak is right above us. it’s about four thousand four hundred feet above us and I’ve never felt better or happier in my life. This climb has invigorated me in so many ways. It’s taught me lessons about myself. It’s given me the opportunity for introspection, and it’s really opened my eyes to this whole world, this corner of the world and the whole world of Alpinism and climbing. We’re going to get a good night’s rest. We’re going to have a delicious meal made by Momma Lewis, the talented chef of Kiliwarriors, and we will see you in the next episode where we will be summiting Uhuru Peak. It’s going to happen. We have to make it to the top, no “ifs, ands or buts” about it. But if you enjoyed this video, make sure you give it a big thumbs- up, share it with your friends, the people you want to try to climb Kilimanjaro with, and make sure that you’re subscribed with notifications enabled. Now as we always say… stay curious, keep exploring, and we’ll see you on the road. Make sure you tune in for Episode 3 climbing to the top of Kilimanjaro. And if you haven’t seen Episode 1, go check that out. Peace.