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At 19,341 Feet, Kilimanjaro casts a giant shadow across the morning clouds

Kilimanjaro, the Roof of Africa located partly in the Amboseli Game Park, Mount Kilimanjaro at 19,341 feet is Tanzania's and Africa's highest peak, part of the chain of volcanoes formed along the line of the Great Rift Valley. Standing only a few degrees south of the equator the main massif extends over an area of some fifty miles and has three main peaks. the highest peak, Kobo, appears as a smooth dome from a distance but contains a crater almost one and a quarter miles across. Outside the crater glaciers descend to 13,900 feet. On the south west side Kobo is linked to Mawenzi, the second highest point. The third peak is Shira the lowest of the three at 12,800 feet.

Tanzania from the lower slopes of Kilimanjaro. The mountain offers the climber everything from jungle to glaciers.
To ascend Kilimanjaro is akin to taking a vertical trip from the Equator to the Arctic. The climb takes in dessert, savannah, tropical rain forest and glaciated ice fields. Above the 5906 foot contour line the whole mountain becomes a nature reserve. The lower slopes are cultivated but above 6,500 feet gives way to a forested zone. This thick rain forest belt eventually yields to groves of heather trees and dense tussock grass, the vegetation becoming more sparse until it peters out at around 14,750 feet. After this point the terrain becomes truly alpine. In this area of the mountain temperatures fluctuate between +104ºF to below 0ºF at night.

In the high summit region there are great climatic changes, little rainfall means that life is scarce. The southern slopes of the mountain are the most fertile receiving rain from the east Trade Winds. This area is home to the Wachagga tribe who crop Banana and Coffee.

The Window of Opportunity
Due to the uneven rainfall pattern January and February or June and July represent the best periods to climb Kilimanjaro. We shall be targeting the January/February window of 1998 as our first choice.

The Summit, snowfields on the Equator.
The advance team shall be on the ground for approximately 21 days with the remainder of the team arriving one week later. Climbing time 7 to 8 days. The work involved will be extremely debilitating, especially at altitudes in excess of 10,000 feet. The intended route is hutted to an altitude of around 14,500 feet and we shall be making use of these facilities where possible. The support team and climbing team will be working on local projects as required during the remaining time.

Although Kilimanjaro is known as a trekking peak the undertaking must be viewed in a serious light as a mountain of this magnitude should never be underestimated. Remember that altitude does kill and people have died on this mountain. However every effort will go into ensuring project '98 successfully and safely achieves its aims.