American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Africa, Kilimanjaro, Western Breach

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1983

Kilimanjaro, Western Breach. On September 16, Harold Knutson and I ascended and descended this route next to the Arrow Glacier. Beginning at the rarely used 12,500-foot roadhead on the Shira Plateau (only four parties signed in at the national park gate in the previous six months), we reached the main summit of the mountain, 19,340-foot Uhuru Point, in seven hours, then regained the roadhead in four-and-a-half hours. Local climbers later told us that this was the first one-day round-trip up and down Kilimanjaro. A major contributing factor was our footgear. The use of new Nike trail shoes enabled us to wear the same footgear for crossing glaciers up high and for running trails down low. Also, neither of us had the slightest sign of headache or altitude sickness, which we attribute to rapid descent and minimal time up high. We left Moshe at 3500 feet one afternoon, slept at 12,500 feet, and returned to 3500 feet just 15 hours after the start of the climb.

Galen A. Rowell

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