Join a Kilimanjaro climb…in 1909!

I just heard about this project and HAD to share this story and images!

View of Kilimanjaro from the skies © Charlie Bolden

Have you ever been on a flight and looked at a mountain thousands of feet below and wondered what its name is, whether it has been climbed yet, and if so, who was the first to do so? Using the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)’s Hidden Journeys website and its interactive flight path guides to parts of the world beneath selected commercial air routes, passengers can now learn about the people, places, environments, as well as the mountains they can see from their cabin window as they fly over them. One of the latest regions showcased is from London to Dar es Salaam featuring Mount Kilimanjaro: Africa’s tallest mountain, and the tallest free standing mountain in the world.  Using stunning images from the Society’s Collections, visitors can learn about the lesser known story of the flamboyant American hunter and adventurer Peter McQueen and his attempt to scale the summit of Mount Kibu, in 1909.

1908 - Eternal snow amid equatorial jungles - Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa (© RGS-IBG MacQueen Dutkewich Expedition)

  The images provide a glimpse of Peter’s relationship with the porters and local Chagga community, as well as early 20th century mountaineering and its perils. From the start, the expedition was beset by problems and many of the porters were inadequately equipped and poorly treated: MacQueen and his companion Dutkewich were abandoned at the snowline, and Dutkewich also fell during the descent, breaking several ribs. The account of MacQueen’s attempted ascent is just one part of the Hidden Journeys website which features hundreds of points of interest across over 60 countries, with interactive flight guides to many of the world’s landscapes and cultures. The website, which is one of the Society’s public engagement programmes, also encourages visitors to contribute their own photos from flights they have been on through the “Contribute” section of the website or through the project’s Flickr page ( Ben Jarman, Project Coordinator, says ‘Millions of passengers fly every year, unaware of the fascinating parts of the Earth that they cross between departure and arrival. The Hidden Journeys Project allows people to explore the patchwork of people and places under a particular flight path, transforming an aerial jaunt from A to B into a fascinating journey through the scale and diversity found along the route.’
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