Kilimanjaro: A Photographic Journey to the Roof of Africa by Michel Moushabeck and Hiltrud Schulz is the compelling story expressed largely through photographs of an impromptu journey to the top of Kilimanjaro. The trip was planned in only two months, making one feel that if the spirit moved them, they too could climb Africa’s highest peak.
While at a book fair, Moushabeck talks with an acquaintance and guidebook author about her upcoming trip to Kilimanjaro to climb its least traveled route, Lemosho. Moushabeck impulsively asks if he can come with her and she agrees. Then he must convince his partner to change their planned vacation to Lisbon in favor of the climb. Luckily, he succeeds.
In preparation for their impending trip, they begin a two month training program to get in shape. Moushabeck, 53 has never done a high altitude ascent, but has climbed Mt. Washington – which is not high, but can be quite challenging.
The team of four (along with many porters and guides) leaves in late June for their once-in-a-lifetime journey. One of the most dangerous obstacles they face is the threat of altitude sickness; a risk that can be fatal.
The only cure for altitude sickness is descending back to a place where the air is not as thin; thus abandoning the climb. Throughout the book, the author documents the various difficulties and symptoms endured by him and his companions; always leaving the reader to question if anyone will have to give up their quest to reach the summit and turn back.
Part coffee table book, part story told with beautiful images taken by Schulz, the two elements complement each other nicely. .
If you’ve ever fantasized about climbing Kilimanjaro, perhaps this book will inspire you to do just that.
©Christina Kay Bolton
Kilimanjaro: A Photographic Journey to the Roof of Africa by Michel Moushabeck and Hiltrud Schulz, Interlink Books, 2009, $20.