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The Trip-Finder, January 1999
Climbing the back Way Up Kilimanjaro

Outfitters Price Accommodations
Alpine Ascents International
206-378-1927, www.mountain
$3,795 camping, tourist hotels
Mountain Travel-Sobek
$4,540-$5,390 camping, tourist hotels
Thomson Safaris
800-235-0289, www.thomson
$4,250 camping, tourist hotels
Wilderness Travel
800-368-2794, www.wilderness
$3,995-$4,295 camping, tourist hotels

The Route: A 16- to 21-day journey culminating in a rigorous, weeklong ascent of the 19,340-foot summit of Africa’s highest mountain — via routes far less mobbed than the Marangu tourist trail. Includes a post- or pre-climb minisafari.

When to go: Year-round

Difficulty: Difficult

Travel advisory: Begin cardiovascular training four months in advance, and pick guides who can recognize early signs of pulmonary or cerebral edema; a dozen people died on Kilimanjaro in 1998, most of them from acute mountain sickness.

High/low points:

  • Reaching Uhuru Peak at sunrise to see the fleeting phenomenon of the mountain’s huge shadow stretching to the horizon.
  • After the giddy triumph of reaching the crater’s rim, realizing you still have at least an hour or two of walking to reach the summit.