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Rwenzori Mountains

Mountain Rwenzori in Uganda

The Rwenzori Mountains are located on the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Although the isolated volcanoes of Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya are taller, they are the highest range of mountains in Africa with the highest summit of Mt. Stanley reaching 5109 meters.

When the peaks were first explored at the end of the 19th century, there were six separate massifs that held glaciers on their flanks. At this point, the number has dwindled down to just three, with one of those holding only tattered remnants of its earlier glaciation.

The peaks found in this range are not as shear or as individually spectacular as those seen in the Himalaya, the Andes or even the Alps. However, there is something about the range: its perpetual mists, the wild plants that seem better suited for some otherworldly science fiction fantasy than anywhere that is actually real, the rime encrusted glaciers less than 50 kilometers from the equator, its long and fabled history or the difficulty of access and frequent political instability around it that make this place one of the world’s greatest treasures.

It was the place that I had wanted to visit above all others for many many years. When after thirty years I finally did reach it, and even stood on its summit, I was reminded of the transient nature of our access by an almost immediate electric humming on the rather fanciful summit sign (found on many of the highest peaks) that forced an immediate retreat back down to lower slopes.

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