ON UNCOMMON GROUND
I just returned from leading Tusker Trail’s first ever Kilimanjaro Climb for Valor. We ran this special climb to raise funds for the Duskin & Stephen’s Foundation, a nonprofit that creates scholarships for the children of fallen U.S. Special Forces soldiers. The climbing group centered around 2 active-duty Green Berets, who had been wounded in action, and who were sponsored by Tusker Trail. Also on the climb were 3 widows of fallen soldiers.
For me, the appeal of Kilimanjaro is that you can trek far away from the crowds and enjoy the solitude and magic of the great mountain – in peace. The route we climbed was the rarely climbed Northern Circuit, which we call “Kili 360” at Tusker, as we trek around the entire base of Kilimanjaro. This spectacular climbing route is like no other on the mountain.
Most routes approach the summit from the south or the east. This 360 route approaches from the west, and then circles around to the north, where you have spectacular expansive views of the Kenya plains far into the distance. As few people use this trail, it offers you the chance to enjoy the peace and tranquility of trekking in one of nature’s great places.
Additionally, as this route is longer than most, the extra time spent trekking allows you to adjust more readily to the altitude, making it much easier to attain a successful summit.
One of my favorite camps on Kilimanjaro is Moir Camp, on the western slopes at 13,660 ft. Situated at the end of a long canyon, overlooking the Shira Caldera, and at the foot of Kibo Peak, it’s way off the beaten path. This means that very few groups stay here. We have been staying at Moir Camp for the past 14 years, and usually have the camp to ourselves – a rare experience on Kilimanjaro which sees tens of thousands of climbers attempt its summit every year.
So if you’re planning a climb and want to do it differently than everyone else, I would highly recommend Kili 360, or the “northern circuit.” Everyone who climbs this route with us tells us it’s the best choice they ever made.
Is Kili 360 the right choice for you? Compare all of the routes to find out.