KIlimanjaro Summit Recap: Injury on the Descent

Sep 20, 2011
Outside Magazine

Alan On Kilimanjaro Alan on Kilimanjaro Summit

While climbing Kilimanjaro was not the most difficult of my climbing life, getting down was perhaps in the top three! We made the summit in good time and style after leaving the Barafu Camp at 15,000′ around midnight. The climb to the summit crater rim was mostly in mild temperatures with clear skies and obviously in the dark.

As the sun rose over Mawenzi, the adjacent excitement volcano and and part of the Kilimanjaro structure, we enjoyed almost perfect climbing conditions. The climb was on scree and dirt trails that switch backed endlessly, reminding me of some of Colorado’s long scree climbs, but this was at almost 19,000′.

Once at Stella point, the entry to the crater rim, the crater was fully visible as were a few of Kilimanjaro’s remaining glaciers. I took the quick 10-minute walk to reach the world-famous sign at the true summit and enjoyed the views while posting the audio dispatch noting November as World Alzheimer’s Month.

The clouds covered the Savannah of Tanzina but it didn’t matter, the view was incredible. After an hour and half we left the top and returned in a swift two hours to Barafu, had a quick bite and left for Mweke camp to spend the night. That was when ‘it’ happened.

My experience demands a full update but the short story is I folded my right ankle over itself along an innocuous trail at 15,000′. It immediately swelled with a tennis-ball-sized lump on the outside near the ankle bone.

What transpired over the next 12 hours could be a movie, again for a future post. But after a long night in the Moshi hospital and an x-ray, it was a serious sprain but bad enough that I could not have walked off the high slopes of Kilimanjaro without the herculean aid of our local porter team.

I know this is a tease but I have to do something to keep you interested in following me! Full details when I get home, but I am still planning of leaving for Carstensz Pyramid in mid October.

The full team is back down and feeling proud to have made the summit. 100% team success and hats off to IMG for a great trip.

OK, that is all for now,

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

Arnette is a speaker, mountaineer and Alzheimer's Advocate. He is climbing the 7 Summits throughout 2011, all to raise $1 million for Alzheimer's research. You can read more on his site.

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