Reading up on Mount Kilimanjaro

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of October 30-November 5, 1997
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Reading up on Mount Kilimanjaro
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Reading up on Mount Kilimanjaro
Question: I was wondering if you could tell me if there are any books out there that would be a worthwhile read prior to ascending Mount Kilimanjaro?

Tom Fuyala
Atlanta, GA

Watch the sunset from the rooftop of Africa on Mount Kilimanjaro
Adventure Adviser: Before you read anything, you must pick up a copy of the December 1997 issue of Outside and read Chip Brown's piece titled "Humbly Goes the Mountain Man."

It's a rather humorous account of one man's journey to the roof of Africa. But ignore all his references to altitude sickness — after all, that's part of the fun.

Another read to consider is the very famous short story by Ernest Hemingway, "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," which can be found on any library shelf in America. This is classic Hemingway at his macho-pig finest. Dissing Hemingway aside, it's a good romantic look at the culture of the mountain circa 1936.

A great picture book — which may be hard to find in the United States but is sold for $58 by nearly every outfitter in Moshi — is Kilimanjaro, by John Reader. Published in 1982, the book gives you a good geologic and cultural history of the mountain, as well as a personal account of Reader's ascent.

The Breach by Rob Taylor (Wildeye, $16) is a frightening account of an ice-climbing adventure that went disastrously awry — a good book to read for those who tend to underestimate the power of Kilimanjaro.

Finally, for technical information and descriptions of climbing routes, track down Iain Allan's Guide to Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro (Mountain Club of Kenya, $30).

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