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David G

David G, Chief Explorer

In 2020/21 we set out to Map the Mountain. Here’s an insight into our planning.

Many of us have had our travel plans severely restricted over the last year.

In January 2020, the team here at Trek View were planning a big trip; to “Map the Mountain”. The mountain being Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the highest mountain in Africa and the highest single free-standing mountain in the world at 5,895 metres.

The aim was to capture a complete set of street level imagery for Kilimanjaro’s 7 major hiking routes in their entirety:

  • Marangu
  • Machame
  • Rongai
  • Lemosho
  • Umbwe
  • Northern Circuit
  • Western Breach

Like everyone else, we quickly realised we’d need to work (and explore) remotely.

So we teamed up with an environmentally conscious travel company, Altezza Travel, who organise guided treks up the mountain and from time-to-time organise special projects on Kilimanjaro. In the past the team at Altezza Travel have collaborated with Red Bull for a wingsuit BASE-jump from Mount Kilimanjaro.

Kilimanjaro Routes

Each route starts at the edge of Kilimanjaro National Park. Given the size and ecosystem of the park we knew a rugged kit-setup was required.

The Kit

The trail up the mountain is made up of five distinct climate zones;

  • Farmland
  • Rainforest
  • Moorland
  • Alpine desert and,
  • The glacial summit

Our Trek Pack is designed for conditions exactly like these.

Trek View Trek Pack v2

For those unfamiliar, our Trek Pack v2, built around the GoPro MAX is designed for just these conditions.

Most Kilimanjaro treks last between 6-8 days. There are no places to recharge devices on the mountain. Our kit needed to be self-powered, running for up to 9 hours of walking each day.

Trek View GoPro MAX external power pack

The good news is that the GoPro supports an external power pack. One 26000 Anker powerpack was more than adequate for a 7 day trek when shooting in timelapse mode on the MAX (at 5 second intervals).

The Plan

Being very close to the equator, Kilimanjaro’s weather is heavily influenced by the interaction of trade winds with the structure of the mountain.

There are two distinct trekking seasons which constitute the best time to climb Kilimanjaro.

They are January to March and June to October. June to October is generally colder than January to March.

Outside of these windows, the probability of rain significantly increases. Sadly the GoPro MAX’s used on our Trek Packs don’t work in the rain, so we needed to work around the good weather periods.

Joshua at Altezza Travel

Luckily, Joshua, our brilliant cameraman, managed to capture two routes, Machame and Rongai, around an already busy schedule (thanks to Anatolii and Aleksandr for their help to organise).

Over the coming weeks I’ll be sharing images from our completed treks and more details about how the GoPro cameras performed.

When the good weather returns in June, we plan to shoot the 5 remaining routes and complete our mission to map the mountain.

Stay tuned!

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