KILIMANJARO: IT’S ABOUT THE SUMMIT
Journey vs Destination
If you want to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro don’t buy into the travel cliché, ‘It’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey.’
It’s that kind of psychobabble that leads you to be satisfied with getting halfway to the top and stopping because you couldn’t push through some pain or moments of self-doubt. It’s easy to go home and tell your friends that it didn’t matter getting to the top because of all the wonderful people, views, birds and flowers you saw along the trail. The journey was more important than the destination, but some will see it as an excuse for your summit failure. They likely will be thinking, ‘you spent all that dough and failed to reach the summit. Did you fail because she wasn’t mentally tough enough or was it something physical?’
Avoid the second guessers – and bag the summit. Kilimanjaro is more about making the peak and the euphoria you share with your fellow summitteers. You need a summit mentality if you’re going to get there. The journey is what you get for reaching the summit. It’s bonus.
There are many trips on Tusker’s current schedule where the journey -not the destination is the big payoff, but Kilimanjaro isn’t one of them. Making it to Uhuru Peak is a life achievement and to get there you have to be totally focused and self-absorbed with your summit conquest. Let your ego out of the cage because if you take the ego-less ‘journey’ mindset it makes you mentally less tough. When the going gets tough it gives you an excuse to quit and that leads to a Zen-like attitude, ‘that being is more important than a constant stream of determined doing.’ That’s the kind of lazy mindset mountaineers detest.
To make it to the top of Kilimanjaro you start from day one with a clear picture of yourself atop the mountain. You have got to want it bad, willing to make the big sacrifice to get there. The only thing that can stop you is altitude sickness, but because you know the symptoms, you and your Tusker guiding team catch them early. While you can still enjoy the journey, your focus must be on the end result, and if you’re not attuned to your body you won’t make it. Be selfish, focused, goal-oriented. Enjoy Kilimanjaro’s grandiose, stark beauty as a bonus, and then come back again.
Confidence is King
You must develop an unwavering self-belief and bulletproof positivism that you belong in Uhuru’s snow fields with the scorched African continent 19,341 feet beneath your conquering vibrams. You trained for months, you were mentally and physically tough to pound for many days and nights to make it and this is your reward. The journey up the mountain was partially about suffering, but the reward of summitting was worth it. You were worthy of this iconic mountain.
It’s not coincidental that many of the foreigners who have climbed Mt. Everest are some of the most accomplished in their professions. These are driven individuals, totally goal oriented who took the same approach to mountaineering that they did achieving success in their fields. They put their lives on the line, but were confident they could do it. They also didn’t have an ounce of laziness in their mental or physical approach to the climb or anything they tackle. A big ego was part of their Everest assault. You an use that same determination to summit Kilimanjaro.
Destined for Greatness
Journey or destination? This is not an ‘either-or’ question. Whether or not you climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro you will have an exciting journey. The flora, the fauna and the incredible African spirit that you encouter are tremendous rewards. However, you must want more.
The summit is reserved for only a few. It takes an effort you didn’t think you had in you when you first dreamed about standing on Kilimanjaro’s summit, but you trained and reached deep. By making the summit you conquered self-doubt and had the journey of a lifetime because you reached your destination.