Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Project 63: a narrative picture essay

Climbing Kilimanjaro

In 2009 I was lucky to have the opportunity to climb Kilimanjaro and documented the journey. I don't feel particularly happy with the images from a technical perspective although they evoke for me great memories and, I think, also tell a story.

Our porters were absolutely key to the success of our trek because they did practically everything for us: carried our bags, our food., our water, our shelter, and even our toilet. The weight they can carry is limited to 20kg so they'd take our bags and, say, a bag of potatoes. Here, their loads are being distributed equally and they are queuing up to have their loads weighed after putting the bags into protective bags.

Rosa was the only female porter out of the team of 20 and was on a sort of "work experience" - she usually worked in the offices. Here, she takes a well-earned break from carrying the load and the company of the guys.

With Kilimanjaro in the background we took a gradual zigzag route to give us the best chance of going to the top. Our porters took it all in their stride with their heavy loads perched on their heads. I like the sense of movement on the left hand side to show progress being made.

The route to Kilimanjaro is busy. Here you can see the constant trail of porters snaking up the mountain.
Summit night was extraordinarily tough; at 5500m altitude, an angle of what felt like 45 degrees and freezing temperatures there was little energy left for photography until the sun started to rise over Mawenzi in the distance. The porters remained at our Kibo huts base camp awaiting our return later that day.

We made it! Here, my brilliant tentmate Sandra who'd coaxed me up to the top.

The Kilimanjaro song; an important ritual that the porters entertain all climbers with at the end of the trip and before clients give them their tips.