Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Boitano Kilimanjaro Domination!!!

On Thursday, January 17, 2013, my father, Frank, & I accomplished a goal we'd been preparing ourselves for the past year (a goal my dad had been dreaming about for over 15 years!) when we reached Uhuru Peak, the 19,341 foot (5,895 meter) summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain on the continent of Africa & also the highest free-standing mountain on the planet...&, after 7 days of hiking, camping, fighting off illnesses, not showering & praying for the weather to hold up (mind you, with an UNBELIEVABLE amount of help from our guides & porters!!!), my dad & I (& the other 6 bad ass climbers in our group) managed to SLOWLY walk ourselves to the very top :)

I am SO proud of my dad, myself & everyone else on Team Tembo ("tembo" means "elephant" in Swahili) for having the strength (both mentally & physically) to reach the summit. I'm also beyond grateful to our four Thomson Safari guides, Prosper, Calvin, James & David, & our FORTY-THREE Thomson porters for working harder than I've ever seen anyone work for 9 straight days to assist 8 American, amatuer "mountaineers" in living out their dream of climbing to the top of Kilimanjaro.

It's incredible that it takes almost 50 people to help get 8 people up the mountain & it also makes our feat seem a LITTLE bit less impressive but, nonetheless, climbing Kili is still the most challenging, amazing, grueling, mind-opening, exhausting & beautiful thing I've ever been lucky enough to experience in my life. And the fact that I got to share the entire adventure with my 65-year-old father makes it that much more special.

Dad - I'll never be able to thank you enough for bringing me along on this trip of a lifetime & taking such great care of me when I was sick in order to help me get better & continue trekking to the summit. You're an absolute ROCKSTAR for seeing this dream through! I love you with all my heart & I cannot wait to continue celebrating with you in New Orleans this weekend! I still can't believe we're going to the SUPERBOWL! The 49ers are going to win just for us! I know it!! 
I was worried I wouldn't be able to think of a way of tying my tale of our Kilimanjaro adventure into my music blog until our last night on the mountain when 1 of our guides, Calvin, did me a huge favor by putting on 1 hell of a show for us along with his chorus of porters (see the 1st video below!). Calvin, the porters & the other 3 guides also gave me THE sweetest birthday gift when we finished our descent on day 9 (which also happened to be my 31st birthday) by surprising me with a heart-shaped, chocolate cake while singing Happy Birthday to me in Swahili (see the 2nd & 3rd videos below!). It brought tears to my eyes & made saying goodbye to our INCREDIBLE crew & my fellow FABULOUS climbers that much more difficult. The people I met & was fortunate enough to spend 9 straight days bonding with on this journey made climbing Kilimanjaro an absolute joy (even when I was miserable...lol).

It may sound cliche but Kilimanjaro most definitely changed my life for the better. Now I'm ready to conquer some metaphorical mountains too...& do a Tough Mudder in June!! Who's coming with me?? :) :) 

Jambo Bwana

Happy Birthday (in Swahili)

Happy Birthday (in Swahili THEN English)




  1. Congratulations on summiting Mount Kilimanjaro! It's so special you were able to climb with your Dad too!

  2. This is very informative post shared here along with snaps that offers all the true fact about the Kilimanjaro Climb having several routes by which to reach Kibo, or Uhuru Peak, the highest summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, namely, Marangu, Rongai, Lemosho, Shira, Umbwe and Machame.

  3. Thank you for the kind words, James & Thomson! 10 months ago to the day (yesterday), my father & I reached the summit of Kilimanjaro & it remains the most exhilarating moment of my life :) <3

  4. Researching Kilimanjaro treks I came across your blog Lauren. It looks like you had an amazing trek, and the guides and porters all looked after you well.
    Congratulations to you both for reaching the summit.
    I will definitely recommend this company in any queries we get for Kili climbs on our new venture http://kivulii.com/.
    Thanks again Laura and happy travels.
    Karibu Tanzania

  5. Thank you so much, Kivulii!! Our trek truly was the single most incredible experience of my life & our guides & porters were unbelievably helpful, supportive, kind, FUN & knowledgable! I can't recommend Thomson Safaris enough! Request Prosper for your guide! :) http://www.thomsonsafaris.com/