In the summer of 2013, Kimiko Marinacci wanted to go on an adventure. Her sister had traveled with a group to India and Ghana. After looking at available programs, Marinacci decided a trip to Mount Kilimanjaro would be exciting.
“I read that with climate change and everything, within the next five to 10 years there would be no snow at the summit so I thought that it would be really cool to see that while I still could,” Marinacci said.
“[I wanted] to go out on an adventure and that’s what I found as my adventure.”
She asked her parents, bought some hiking boots, broke them in and set out on her climb.
“It’s not really a technical climb, it’s mostly just hiking so there’s not really any gear involved, so basically just a lot of walking. Breaking in your boots is really important,” Marinacci said.
“If you’re in decently, OK shape then it’s really not too much of an exerting climb.”
Marinnaci climbed with a group of 12 students from various states and from Europe, along with local porters and cooks.
“Each day we’d climb between four to seven hours so we had a lot of time to get to know the people,” Marinacci said.
“One of our porters, he’d summited the mountain over 100 times. And then another one, it was his first time. So it was really exciting to hear these people’s stories and live this experience with them.”
With the altitude at roughly 19,000 feet, Marinacci needed to take pills to adjust to the elevation. There were still problems, though.
“Headaches and nausea and loss of appetite was a big one because you had to make sure you ate enough to have energy for the climbs each day,” Marinacci said.
“[It was] the fatigue paired with headaches and it was definitely a tough climb. But it was really worth it in the end.”
The climb took six days for the group to complete. They approached the mountain for five days and left at midnight on the sixth to reach the summit.
“We left our camp at midnight and we climbed all through the night until about 8:30 a.m. when we reached the summit so that you can see the sunrise,” Marinacci said.
She completed her summit push with Daniel, one of the porters summoning the mountain for the first time.
“That was a really tough part of the climb, but I walked it with Daniel and together he talked me through it and we were going through this for the first time together. He really helped me through it and that was probably one of the most memorable things for me.”
The view, Marinucci said, was breathtaking.
“It was just amazing. You can see in every direction as far as anything, and it was just a beautiful day.”
It took the group two days to climb back down.
That was Mariucci’s last adventure, but she hopes to go another one.
“Whether that be going back to Tanzania or go back somewhere else in the world, that’s definitely something that I want to do in the future,” Marinacci said.