Thursday, January 05, 2006

Sobering News From Tanzania

Three climbers die on Kilimanjaro

[BBC] Three tourists have been killed in a rockslide on Mount Kilimanjaro - Africa's highest mountain - in the north of Tanzania.

It is reported that at least one of the dead climbers is American.

One more climber and four guides were seriously injured as strong winds prompted a rock slide.

"A rapid change of weather forced several rocks to tumble and slide down the gradient," chief game warden James Wakibara told AFP news agency.

"The rocks hit a group of tourists who were en route to the peak and three were killed."

The accident took place at an altitude of nearly 5,000m, close to Arrow Glacier base camp.

Thius year entry prices were doubled for climbers, in an attempt to restrict numbers on the mountain to protect the environment.

Around 25,000 visitors climb Mount Kilimanjaro each year, compared to 15,000 visitors 10 years ago.

This is not exactly the kind of news you want to get about a place you're going to be visiting in a few weeks. The only positive thing the Flying Yanks can take from this sad news is that the Arrow Glacier camp is not on our route; it is widely considered the most challenging and dangerous route on the mountain. Still, this serves as a strong reminder that we're not just going for a casual walk in the park.

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