Mariju Baluyot reached the summit of Kilimanjaro on February 17, 2018.
Sun Valley, ID -- (ReleaseWire) -- 05/02/2018 --Mariju Baluyot, a pediatrician from Baltimore, Maryland, reached the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro (5,895 meters / 19,340 ft.) on the 7-day Machame Route on February 17, 2018. Mount Kilimanjaro, located three degrees south of the equator in northeastern Tanzania, is the tallest mountain in Africa, and the highest freestanding mountain in the world. To summit Kilimanjaro, Baluyot used adventure travel outfitter Adventures within Reach (adventureswithinreach.com).
Dr. Baluyot explains, "I first traveled to Tanzania as part of a medical volunteer group that I organized in summer 2012 when I was in medical school. I remember the descent into Tanzania when landing at Kilimanjaro airport and being able to see Kilimanjaro above the clouds. I spent all of my time volunteering at Mt. Meru Hospital in Arusha as well as a health dispensary in a nearby Maasai village, and I was disappointed that I did not have the time to climb Kilimanjaro during the trip. However, I knew I would return to Africa again at some point during my medical training. Luckily I had another opportunity this year, when I will be traveling this time to Kenya for 4 weeks to provide care for children in Nairobi and Samburu. My fiance will meet me in Nairobi and together we are traveling to Moshi to start our trek."
Kilimanjaro because while it is still challenging, it's somewhat manageable compared to many of the other major mountains. The Machame Route, also known as the Whiskey Route, is the second most popular route up Mt. Kilimanjaro, as it is a more difficult route, but incredibly beautiful. The trek is not a technical climb, but summit day is long, strenuous, and at an incredibly high elevation.
Dr. Baluyot describes her motivation, "I am currently in my last year of training in Pediatrics Residency at Johns Hopkins. I was initially drawn to the program because I felt a connection to someone who later great mentor to me, Dr. Janet Serwint. We talked about her climb up Kilimanjaro from several years prior and what a breathtaking experience it was. I also met Dr. Karen Schneider and learned of her yearly trip to Kenya with the Pediatrics residents and the Pediatric Emergency Department nurses. Through my interest in global health and caring for children in resource-poor areas I applied for and was awarded a travel grant last year. I feel privileged to be able to provide healthcare the international setting now that I have had more training and I hope to bring my experiences in this this upcoming trip with me when I continue on to the next phase my training in Pediatric Emergency Medicine next year."
"Mt. Kilimanjaro is our most popular trek," says Robin Paschall, owner of Adventures Within Reach. "Of the famous 'Seven Summits,' this is the easiest to get to and to climb. It requires no technical climbing experience, and a moderately fit person can summit the mountain with training and perseverance. Most people add a cultural tour like a safari before or after their trek. This is really a trip of a lifetime."
"It has been a bit challenging to train for a the climb during my residency training when I work long hours at the hospital on a regular basis. When I am at work I make sure that I take the stairs (usually 9-10 flights!) several times per day. Additionally, one of my hobbies when I am not working is going on local hikes with my fiance and friends in Maryland. I also make sure that I go on a challenging hike during almost all trips that I take, from New York, Ohio, Arizona, Hawaii, and even when I was in Aruba," continues Dr. Baluyot.