The MountainWorld Blog by Jake Norton

The MountainWorld Blog by Jake Norton


As we hiked today to Mawenzi Tarn…

As we hiked today to Mawenzi Tarn Camp on #Kilimanjaro, I spoke with our Chagga lead guide, Thomas, about #Tanzania, politics, economics, and the challenges of breaking through the cycle of poverty here. Not surprisingly, he said emphatically that the only solution for the long term is education. Without accessible education for all – boys and girls, rich and poor – a society becomes mired in economic disparity, privilege and poverty, haves, have nots, and division. Thomas spoke of his own 6 year old daughter and the struggles he would face financially to send her to secondary school; he added, smiling, that he could at least manage it, while so many here cannot. That is precisely why the work of @africaschoolassistanceproject is so essential, and why we’re climbing and raising funds to support them. As cade in point for their success if The Kupanda Project. The current average completion rate for rural girls in secondary school is 4%. (Yes, 4%.) In Kupanda, the first class of Form IV girls had an 83% pass rate! That was enough to garner a visit from Tanzanian Vice President Hassan, and a mention by President Magufuli in his Independence Day address to the nation, and more than enough proof that ASAP is making a real and profound impact on the future of Tanzania. Please join all of us in supporting this amazing organization through the link in my profile. #liveyouradventure

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A beautiful today along the meandering trail…

A beautiful today along the meandering trail from Simba to Kikelewa Camp. With far less traffic than the more popular Machame and Marangu routes on #Kilimanjaro, Rongai has diverse and stunning terrain and the constant, watchful eye of Kili and its serrated neighbor, Mawenzi. It’s a route that never gets old, always inspires, and, with the amazing Chagga team we have, there’s tons of laughter and interaction to make the experience even richer. Our team is doing great, adapting to life at altitude, and spirits are high, especially knowing all the generosity coming from so many in support of @africaschoolassistanceproject. If you still want to make a donation and help us reach our goal of $19,340, you can do so through the link in my profile. On to Mawenzi Tarn tomorrow, one of the most beautiful camps on the mountain! #liveyouradventure @kristenrcavallo @cplating @_mattcavallo

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A new friend from yesterday’s brief safari…

A new friend from yesterday’s brief safari in Arusha National Park. You see a lot of giraffe in this part of Africa, happily nibbling on branches high off the ground, their massive e size making them seem impervious to all threats. But, looks can be deceiving: the giraffe was added to the list of vulnerable species by IUCN last year. Decades of significant habitat loss coupled with poaching has reduced their numbers by some 30%. This one seemed unperturbed, however, living in a protected space here in Tanzania. May his life be a long one. #liveyouradventure @kristenrcavallo @_mattcavallo @cplating

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With a fresh coat of snow, Kilimanjaro…

With a fresh coat of snow, Kilimanjaro decided to show herself finally this afternoon, towering above the steamy lowlands of Moshi. It’s always a bit daunting when my Kili teams catch their first glimpse of the mountain rising some 16,000 feet above us. But, the team here is doing great, relaxed and packed after a fun safari today, and we’re off to the Rongai Gate tomorrow morning to begin moving upward, raising money every step of the way for the community-changing work of @africaschoolassistanceproject. We’re closing in on 50% of our $19,340 goal, and a huge asante sana (thank you very much) to all those who have given generously thus far. For those of you who still want to contribute to critical education in Tanzania, please follow the link in my profile to give now. #liveyouradventure #educationiskey @kristenrcavallo @cplating @_mattcavallo

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Can a river that is the physical…

Can a river that is the physical lifeblood for 500 million people, spiritual cornerstone for 1 billion, and recipient of millions of liters of industrial effluvia and raw human waste, survive? Is the reverence for the Ganges enough to sustain it, to secure its survival? Can a people and a nation save this iconic waterway before it’s too late? And, is there something truly magic about this holy river? It was these questions and more than @pedromcbride and I tried to answer for ourselves, and for others, as we followed Maa Ganga with @davidcmorton source to sea in 2013. The answers, we found, are equally complex as the river itself. We’re honored that our film, Holy (un)Holy River, will be playing tonight at the @boulderfilmfestival with a Talk Back after the show. Hope you can be there! (I would be, but I’m on Kilimanjaro.) #liveyouradventure #holyunholyriver @ashleymosher @eddiebauer @microsoftusa #surface @natgeo

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Sadly, on World Wildlife Day (today), we…

Sadly, on World Wildlife Day (today), we find more and more wildlife under great strain across the globe. I came upon this massive bull elephant chomping happily in the Serengeti. He was an old one, long in the tooth (literally and figuratively), and one of the biggest I’ve seen in Africa. Unfortunately for him, that also puts him in the category of at high risk for poaching, and there’s a good chance he has been. Like much of Africa, poaching is a huge problem here in Tanzania. According to a census released in June, 2015, the country was down to 43,000 elephants from 109,000 just 6 years earlier (2009). Fortunately, though, the governments of Tanzania, Kenya, and many other countries have cracked down on poaching and poachers recently, trying to staunch the deaths and flow of illegal ivory, mostly to China (which is also finally making some moves to slow the ivory trade). But, elephants are still at great risk. Check out and support the great work of @elephants_save (@elephantsamburu), one of the leaders in this effort along with @dswt (@sheldrickwildlifetrust). #worldwildlifeday #liveyouradventure #elephant

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So great to be back in #Tanzania…

So great to be back in #Tanzania for another climb of Kilimanjaro, and to be once again raising fund for @africaschoolassistanceproject. Last June, a group of us were here for the same purpose, and got to see firsthand the work and impact the ASAP team is having in rural Tanzania. In a nation where primary school is mandatory, but many areas lack schools and access, there are an estimated 5.1 million Tanzanian children aged 7-17 not attending school. ASAP is making a significant dent in this statistic with schools like #Mbasseny, not far from Kilimanjaro. As with all ASAP projects, Mbasseny students not only have a school to attend, but also have a dedicated and supportive school community to help guide them. It’s an amazing thing to behold, and something that we often take for granted in the developed world. These young ASAP students at the leaders of the Tanzania of tomorrow, and millions more like them need help, too. Please join me in supporting the critical work of @africaschoolassistanceproject and the efforts of my climbing team to raise $19,340 for ASAP through our climb. You can make a donation through the link in my profile. #liveyouradventure @kristenrcavallo @cplating @_mattcavallo

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Psyched to be heading back to Mount…

Psyched to be heading back to Mount #Kilimanjaro in a couple days! It’s always a great mountain, a fun climb, and a wonderful adventure, and made even more so as my team and I will again be raising funds for @africaschoolassistanceproject (ASAP). Dedicated to education in Tanzania, and focused on underserved areas and girls education, ASAP has been recognized far and wide for their accomplishments and impact. Our team is aiming to raise $1/foot for the climb, or $19,340, every penny of which will go straight to ASAP and their impact in Tanzania. Follow along here, on Facebook, and on The MountainWorld Blog, and please follow the link in my profile to make a donation today! | This photo is from outside the Mawenzi Tarn Camp on the Rongai Route in June, 2016. #liveyouradventure #mountkilimanjaro #Tanzania #everydayafrica @kristenrcavallo @cplating @_mattcavallo

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I love that time of year when…

I love that time of year when the creeks swell with snowmelt and start weaving through ice dams and the sweet smell of spring is in the air, and the water is refreshing rather than deathly freezing. I love it… Just not in mid-February. | Today Bear Creek near Kittredge, Colorado, was flowing fast, snowmelt carrying away the ice that normally would provide a sturdy bridge across. 60 degrees my mid-morning in Evergreen. #notright #liveyouradventure #climatereality #climatechange

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I usually choose to go for hikes…

I usually choose to go for hikes where few others go, bushwhacking up drainages to connect one valley to another and better understand the landscape around me, getting the lay of the land and following my nose and heart… And just to truly be away and immersed in nature as much as one can be these days. One of my favorites is nearby, but seemingly miles away. Rye and I went there today, across a should-be-frozen-but-now-flowing-fast Bear Creek and then a couple miles back up a cool, semi-hidden canyon, following animal paths and scat, past fresh elk carcasses, and up through a labyrinth of rocks and cottonwoods and cacti to the 100 year old remains of an old home of which nothing but chimneys remain. There we found, sadly, the charming calling card of “CO Native”, scrawled in ugly paints on the old stacked stone, covering the rocks around, and his or her trash – Dasani bottles, Coors cans, a spent pack of Marlboro Reds. Well, congrats Colorado Native. You’ve succeeded in showing the world you’re nothing but an ignorant little sot who only succeeds in defacing history and the world around you to prove your own ignorance. Sad. As Ryrie said immediately and accurately: “What kind of person would do something like that, Dad? Seems like only a jerk.”

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