Seeking the Seventh
I don’t know about you, but we get a little complacent doing the same trek routes in the same places. Adventure travel’s big turn-on is the thrill of discovery, the new route, or new destination that no one, or very few traverse.
Kilimanjaro’s well-worn trails have been trod for over a century and today there are six routes to the summit, but is there a seventh?
There must be a route not taken and Tusker founder Eddie Frank thinks he found it.
Stiff upper lip and a locked briefcase
In January 2018, Eddie will take a scouting trip up Kilimanjaro seeking the seventh route. He is keeping his route details close to his down vest because in a competitive world (there are over 200 companies leading climbs) that seventh Kilimanjaro route might be as valuable as a map to the buried treasure.
“We’ve been climbing Kilimanjaro for 41 years and we want to offer something new, a route no else has done,” Eddie says. “We will scout it in January so stay tuned,” Eddie says with the secrecy of the 18 century British explorers who guarded their plans with a stiff upper lip and a locked briefcase.
Since Hans Meyer bagged the summit in 1889, Kilimanjaro has become an adventure travel icon attracting 50,000 climbers a year, who use the six current routes to the Kibo summit. In the mid-1970s just 4,000 sought the summit, but then Kilimanjaro entered the age of mass tourism and the Machame Route became the most popular carrying 16,000 climbers alone each year.
But Kilimanjaro is a huge volcanic behemoth rising to over 19,000 feet from the flat African savannah; its base is planted in both Tanzania and Kenya. It has diverse terrain and parts of the mountain remain terra incognito especially on the Kenyan side where Amboseli National Park’s large animals roam Kili’s slopes.
Most of today’s routes were pioneered in the 1920s by preacher Richard Reusch with the newest route, the Northern Circuit, which emerged in the last decade. That route is offered by just a few companies including Tusker.
Where is he going?
We can pull out a Kilimanjaro route map and study the established routes, but why guess where Eddie is going? Just trust his exploratory instincts. If a new viable route is discovered, let’s applaud the effort and become part of the first groups to follow it.
Your sense of exploration will be reinforced, alive and well in an era of virtual armchair travel. The seventh route could be so fresh it could turn into Machame in 20 years.
Why don’t you be part of Kilimanjaro history and be among the first to do the seventh.
For updates on the route, contact Eddie Frank here.