Kilimanjaro is one of the world’s classic mountain climbs, but only 70% of trekkers get to reach the highest point, Uhuru Peak. 90% make it to the crater rim, but as Claudine Haber discovered, even that is no walk in the park…
“Dora knocks on my door, she is holding a list of things I must take for the climb. I scan the list and show her each item. There are some things I don’t have, so she takes me to the storage room where a menagerie of clothing, glasses, trekking gear are housed. I gather what I think I might need. She gives me a sack to put my items in. When all is complete, I am ushered to a briefing session that gives us a run down of the ins and outs of this fascinating mountain and tips on how to survive. So here I am, Heidi-like plaits, boots, wooden climbing stick, Wina’s blanket (I promised to take it to the top) and ready to yodel up a mountain without a goat.
What’s big, blue-grey in hue and has had a growth spurt of 70cm in one day? It’s New Zealand’s Franz Josef Glacier, or Ka Roimata o Hinehukatere as its known in Maori. Sally Everett explains why exploring this 12km (7.5 mile) long glacier is a very cool experience…
“With the unfamiliar icy white ground crunching as I walked, it took a while before I was prepared to trust my crampons to save me from sliding down Franz Josef Glacier. But with every step and word of encouragement from our local guide, my confidence increased and my focus turned to the incredible beauty of the stark frozen landscape.
Recently Intrepid Express was in search of second best travel tales and this winning story from Collin Littlewood confirms why taking the trail less travelled can be the highlight of any classic journey…
“My travel experience comes from what some might consider to be the ‘second best’ journey to Machu Picchu. Rather than join the 500 tourists a day on the classic Inca Trail, I chose to be a part of an adventure, which among the other amazing experiences of the Lima to La Paz trip, included trekking an Andean Inca Community Trail in the vicinity of Machu Picchu.
Argentina may be the second biggest country in South America, by area and population, but the World Heritage-listed Parque National Los Glaciares in Patagonia is one of the continent’s most dramatic landscapes. The spectacular region is overwhelming, as Emma Mitterhuemer discovered…
“When people say “moving at a glacial pace”, I will now think of something moving with such incredible, brutal force that it takes with it everything in its path! The Perito Moreno glacier is one of the world’s only advancing glaciers and fills the space between two peaks much like a giant frozen river spilling out into a valley. The glacier is well balanced, advancing around 1.5 metres each day and simultaneously shedding the same amount of ice into South America’s third largest body of fresh water, Lake Argentina.
The Thai language has the second largest alphabet in the world. So while it can be tricky to get your tongue around the local language, Michelle Stucky had no trouble finding the words to describe her Thailand experience…
“Ten days ago we boarded a plane in Indiana for an adventure of a lifetime. Leaving behind everything we were accustomed to including air conditioning, bland foods, and the English language.
The tallest free-standing mountain in the world is one of the 28 finalists for the New 7 Wonders of Nature and we find out in November if Mt Kilimanjaro is voted into the top 7. This incredible mountain may be an inactive strato-volcano, but trekking to the top is one of the world’s greatest active adventures, as Karen Graham can attest…
“At 5895 metres (19,340 feet) above sea level, Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is the highest mountain in Africa. My trek to the top was the most challenging and rewarding experience I’ve ever had, especially due to the spectacular landscapes I encountered en route.
Read Mike Collin’s autobiography, A Few Steps Too Far, and it strikes you that this is one man who has left his indelible footprint on the world. His adventures at home have been many and he’s sought out incredible experiences in a lifetime’s worth of travels. And not one to slow down, in his 78th year it was a combination of good writing and good fortune that led him to an Intrepid Nepal trip. Would this be 3rd time lucky for his attempt at Everest Base Camp?…
“In late 2008 I entered a competition set by the magazine of the Royal Geographic Society to write a five hundred word essay on “That Special Moment” – something that had been a life-changing experience. I have been lucky enough to have several special moments, but the one that really meant something was meeting the elderly Monk in the hills above Taunggi while I was working in Burma. I have tried to portray this meeting in the section above describing my International Red Cross employment. Making something readable and sensible in only 500 words was the challenge of course, but in February ‘09 we were very surprised to hear that I had won the “Mountain” category. The prize was two-fold – an excellent Gore-tex Arc’teryx climbing jacket and a highly subsidised trek to Everest Base Camp and an ascent of Kala Patthar for the incomparable view. – Decision time!
Machu Picchu: one of those magical places that will either render you speechless or cause you to instantly want to put your experience into words. Sean Kennaway was so inspired by his Intrepid adventure that he penned this ode to the Inca Trail…
“The dawn bus rattled over the cobblestone streets of Cuzco
As we ventured towards the Inca town of Ollantaytambo
A trek to the mythical citadel of Machu Picchu was set
Day one of the Inca Trail lay ahead
When you are trekking the Inca Trail at an average altitude of 3700m, it’s very comforting to know that you have a crew keeping you safe, preparing your meals, pitching your tent and carrying the bulk of your load! Of the 500 trekkers a day on the classic Inca Trail trek and on the alternative routes, more than half the trekkers are the guides, cooks and porters who help travellers have an enjoyable trek up to the magnificent and sacred site of Machu Picchu.
The majority of the porters we employ in Peru are from the countryside – simple farmers who supplement their income by working on the trails during the busy months. Most of these people are still pure-blooded Quechua, the people who were governed by the Incas almost 500 years ago. Their first language is Quechua, but many now also speak basic Spanish. Many of their traditions and superstitions have remained unchanged since well before the Spanish arrived.