This past weekend I experienced my first attempt to scale Karisimbi, Rwanda's highest mountain. Was it too much pie for Thanksgiving? Was it old age? Was it being in too poor physical condition? Was it the wrong season of the year? Probably a combination of all those and more. But Karisimbi wasn't playing around with the ill-prepared? In a word, it 'defeated' me.
Six friends and I took this journey together. The expedition was planned as a spiritual retreat and ended up as a fight for survival. We knew it would be a physical challenge, but there was much more that we didn't know. We didn't know the effect Karisimbi would have on our bodies trying to climb to nearly 15,000 ft. in less than 24 hours, through deep slippery mud, in wind, rain and 40-degree weather and on very limited rations.
How did it compare with Africa's highest mountains? There was no comparison in my experience. I've topped both Mt. Kenya and Kilimanjaro and neither came close to the bitter struggle of climbing Karisimbi. Will I try it again? Hmmm. I will have to think that one over for quite a while!