History of Kilimanjaro: After Meyer
Mawenzi, Pastor Reusch and a frozen leopard
In the decades following Meyer’s successful assault on Kili, few followed in his footsteps. Meyer himself climbed again in 1898, though this time he got only as far as the crater rim. In 1909 surveyor M Lange climbed all the way to Uhuru Peak, and in doing so became only the second person to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro – a full twenty years after the first.The conquest of the last peak on Kilimanjaro, that of the summit of Mawenzi (called, somewhat perversely, Hans Meyer Peak), was achieved by the climbers Edward Oehler and Fritz Kluteon 29 July 1912. Thus, 64 years after the first European had clapped eyes on Kilimanjaro, both of its main peaks had been successfully climbed.
As an encore, Oehler and Klute made the third successful attempt on Kibo and the first from the western side. In the same year, Walter Furtwangler and Ziegfried Koenig achieved the fourth successful climb, and became the first to use skis to descend. Two more successful assaults occurred before the outbreak of World War One, and Frau von Ruckteschellkept up the German’s impressive record on Kilimanjaro by becoming the first woman to reach Gillman’s Point.
Fresh attempts on Kilimanjaro were suspended for a while during World War One. The countryside around Kilimanjaro became the scene of some vicious fighting, including Moshi itself, which was attacked by British forces in March 1916.
Paul von Lettow Vorbeck, the German commander, went down in military history at this time as the man who led the longest tactical retreat ever. With the German’s defeat, however, Kilimanjaro, along with the rest of German East Africa, reverted to British rule.