Travel: Puffing To Hemingway's Peak

Tropical heat and icy fingers dog Kilimanjaro's new conquerors

The masochistic middle-aged climber stands panting into the gaping dark, wondering what in God's name he is doing here. He is 17,000 ft. up, with 1,650 ft. still to go to the top. The temperature is unreasonably far below zero, hands and feet are numb, and the air is so thin that a few tentative steps leave the body screaming for relief. Perhaps this is how Hans Meyer felt when, 100 years ago, the German geologist became the first to ascend to the rarefied heights of Mount Kilimanjaro, an immense dormant volcano 49 miles long and 24 miles wide that straddles...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!