Snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, stands 5895 m (19 335 ft) high and is the highest mountain in Africa. The hike up the mountain, although considered arduous, is attempted by dozens of people each day. About one in four actually succeed. A few years ago, we set out to climb it, planning to get to the summit and down again in six days. We had pre-arranged an experienced guide and, rather than carrying tents, chose to stay in huts provided on the mountain. We hired some down-filled clothing and sleeping bags with the help of our guide — but, when offered crampons and ice axes for hire, we both laughed at the idea. “This is just a walk”, we joked, “not a real climb”.
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