What happened, and how we reacted
Kilimanjaro Flood Video
When our clients are on trek; we are in constant communication with our on-site staff regarding their trip, safety and well-being.
So, it wasn’t too strange when we received communique from our site-director in Tanzania regarding a group we had climbing in January. What WAS alarming was the content of his messages. He was notifying us of a washout fairly high up on the mountain that had separated two members of our group from the others. It is extremely rare, but rapidly changing temperatures can cause the glacier to melt at an alarming rate; which then dislodges vast amounts of water. Mix that with an already extremely wet week up on the mountain and you get flooding. In our group’s case this all had happened so fast that most everyone made it across the flash flood except two people. In every group there are differing paces and we know being separated from the group is the worst nightmare for those of us who are slower… I mean, who like to truly appreciate the scenery and take our time.
However, this story does have a happy ending that will leave you wondering why you didn’t hike with Embark sooner (yes, that is a shameless plug): Our staffing is always two clients to a guide; which meant the two hikers who were left on the other side of the flood area had both a guide and an assistant guide with them. After assessing that they would not be able to safely cross the flood, they were able to navigate back to an emergency shelter many, many hours back. At the shelter our guiding staff shared their emergency rations of food and water and the group all shared the only two sleeping bags that were there. The next morning; they were reunited- tired, but relieved to see their friends and family again; resuming their climb up Kilimanjaro and ultimately conquering the summit!
As it turns out though, that this remarkable story was minor compared to the whole reason this group was hiking together. They were all climbing in honor of one couple’s son who had lost his battle with Leukemia at just 17. We have so much respect and admiration for them and are truly humbled by this amazing tale.