For most of my adult life, I have dreamed of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, “The Roof of Africa”.  Now, finally, on Saturday July 14th 2012, I will begin a 7 day climb of the tallest free standing mountain and one of the world’s largest volcanos.

Joining me are 5 of my close friends, 1 of whom is my girlfriend.  They have apparently shared my vision of an unforgettable adventure and a particularly unnecessary risk to our personal health.  Each person in the group has done their fair share of training for the trek up to 5895m.

I have an insatiable adventure craving. I’ve always enjoyed hiking/backpacking and the outdoors in general. I have a desire to visit all 7 continents and climb the tallest peak on each of those continents. Kilimanjaro will be #1 for Africa.

I personally train in a program called Crossfit.  If you haven’t heard of this movement gaining popularity across the United States and Worldwide, it is defined, in a nutshell, as constantly varied functional movement performed at high intensity.  Everything is timed and no two workouts are the same.  It utilizes many different aspects of fitness including Olympic lifting, gymnastics, kettlebells, and military style conditioning.

A typical workout would be along the lines of:

For time:

Run 1 mile

100 Pull-ups

200 Pushups

300 Air Squats

Run 1 mile

My nutrition has followed something called Paleo, which essentially follows the diet of a Paleolithic era human.  Meat, Vegetables, Fruit, Nuts.  No Grains, No Dairy, No Legumes, No Salt, No Refined Sugars, and No Processed Oils.

My adventure begins in Chicago, IL USA where I live.  I depart from O’Hare International Airport the evening of Thursday July 12th bound for Amsterdam.  After an 8 hour flight and a 3 hour delay, I’ll be headed to Moshi, Tanzania; A city of about 200,000 people located at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Moshi is known as the gateway to Kilimanjaro, being popular for holding an annual marathon and specializes in industries such as Coffee (excited), Beer (more excited), and Sugar.  The climate is very mild with average highs ranging from 25-33°°C and lows never reaching below 16°C.  My first night in Tanzania will be spent in Moshi at the Keys Hotel on Friday July 13th;  a family owned hotel on the slopes of Kili providing such amenities as Buffet breakfast, Full bar, and majestic mountain views.

The route I’ve chosen up the mountain is the Machame route, also known as the Whiskey route, one of the most beautiful trekking tours at Kilimanjaro.  I chose this route because of it is one of the more challenging routes up the mountain but offers some of the best scenery, containing steep passages and higher altitude than the other routes.  We will climb through 5 different climate zones (Rainforest, Heather, Moorland, Alpine Desert, and Summit Zone (Arctic).  The Machame route offers only camping tents for accommodation with temperatures in some camp sites reaching sub-freezing.  We will have the opportunity to see such sights as late afternoon sunsets at Shira, to the misty revelations of Kibo at the great Barranco Wall as well as climbing high to the Lava tower at 4630m. Starting at 1790m ultimately after a 5 day accent reaching 5895m (Uhuru Peak) the roof of Africa.

Day 2, I walk through Machame Gate