Kilimanjaro 2013: The Beginning

Mount Kilimanjaro

My son Sam came to me during the summer last year and announced that he would like to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro right after he graduated from high school. Having travelled fairly widely myself, and believing in the good that exposure to other cultures brings to anyone, I thought this was a good idea. Add to it my being somewhat of a plan-in-advance type, I knew I had two years to get ready, as he would be turning 19 in March of 2015, planning then to go on an LDS mission. I’m thinking, “summer of 2014, no problem.” Then came the announcement last fall changing the mission service age to 18, and I had our family plan backed up by a year. Now the scramble was on.

After researching a number of different options for making this trip, I chose ClimbKilimanjaro, a tour company that has twenty-some-odd years of experience, and to my pleasant surprise, an office here in Highland, Utah. It also has a very attractive option called the “lifetime deposit” in which you put down $350 a head for the trip, and if you have to cancel or delay your trip, the deposit sits and waits on your schedule. I don’t recommend taking them up on their offer, as the procrastinators in all of us can find any number of reasons not to go, but there it is if you need it. So book the trip, check.

Last week I took the big plunge. I wrenched the credit card from the wallet, after searching flights across a few weeks, and paid $4,300 for two tickets all the way to Moshi, Tanzania, the airport closest to, and I believe built for, the traffic that has built up over the years for climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Now I was committed. As we all know, in this day of cutthroat airline competition, plane tickets don’t often come in the refundable variety.

August 1st, we head out from Salt Lake straight to Amsterdam, then on to Moshi through Nairobi after connecting with Kenya Airlines. Roughly a two week trip, Sam’s first trip outside of the country, or even east of the Mississippi, as he likes to remind me, and we’re going, time to get serious.

Editor's Note: Wayne has graciously offered to share his experiences and adventures as he and his son get ready to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. If you have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro please share any comments or suggestions that might be of help. ~ Jeremiah Breeze