Brooke Bierhaus is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and visual storyteller. Creator of the feature length documentary, The Connected Cup, Brooke specializes in narrative driven storytelling with an immersive approach. Documenting local...
Focus:Filmmaker, Writer, Videographer, Reporter, Multimedia, Social Media Editor, Humanitarian, Human Rights, International, Short Films, Multimedia Journalist, Storyteller
I walked quickly with my guide and porters to the next camp. We were in the mass of porters who were making their way to the campsites to set up and wait for their climbing teams. Most porters are private contractors, so they have likely worked with one another for various expedition companies in the past. This makes for commrodaery and family amongst the porters.
Checkers was a popular game to play and pass time when porters were waiting for their climbing teams to make it to the next camp. Many porters carry the tents, food, and additional supplies for the climbers. Porters carry all the supplies while quickly climbing to the next site so they can have tents set up, water available, and food ready for when the climbers arrive.
The commercialization of this planet’s tallest peaks may lead people to think that climbing these mountains is not dangerous. The reality of climbing at high altitudes, is that every climber has a risk of health issues ranging from minor altitude sickness to fatality. This group of porters had to run down from Barafu basecamp down to the bus drop to save a French climber who had suffered a heart attack. Taking care of climbers is part of a porter’s job, but this is a task that every porter hopes they will never have to witness or experience.
The Porters Union helps to keep weight limits in check for the amount each porter can carry. The packs are weighed and distributed at the check in ranger station before climbing. See the next image for a view of the weigh in.
The commercialization of climbing the world’s tallest peaks may lead many people to believe that climbing these high altitude mountains is an easy feat. The reality behind many, if not all, summits of Mount Kilimanjaro is that porters work diligently and through extreme environments to help climbers reach the summit. Swipe through to see and read more about the porters’ work on Africa’s highest peak.