The following year, without Thornton, von der Decken reached a much more respectable 14,200ft (4260m) and furthermore reported being caught up in a snow storm. On his return to Europe, the baron described Kibo as a ‘mighty dome, rising to a height of about 20,000 feet, of which the last three thousand are covered in snow’.
Following this second attempt, von der Decken urged Charles New (1840-75), a London-born missionary with the United Free Methodist Church in Mombasa, to tackle the mountain, and in 1871 New made a laudable attempt to reach the summit. That attempt failed, as did a second attempt in August of the same year; nevertheless, by choosing on the latter occasion to climb on the south-eastern face of Kibo where the ice cap at that time stretched almost to the base of the cone, New inadvertently wrote himself into the history books as the first European to cross the snow-line at the African Equator:
The gulf was all that now lay between myself and it, but what an all! The snow was on a level with my eye, but my arm was too short to reach it. My heart sank, but before I had time fairly to scan the position my eyes rested upon snows at my very feet! There it lay upon the rocks below me in shining masses, looking like newly washed and sleeping sheep! Hurrah! I cannot describe the sensations that thrilled my heart at that moment. Hurrah!
On this second expedition New also discovered the crater lake of Jala, the mountain’s only volcanic lake, at Kilimanjaro’s foot to the south-east of Mawenzi.
New’s experiences on Kilimanjaro fanned his passion for the mountain and two years later he was back preparing for another assault on the still-unconquered peak. Unfortunately, the volatile tribes living at the foot of the mountain had other ideas and before New had even reached Kilimanjaro he was forced to return to the coast, having been stripped of all his possessions by the followers of the Chief of ‘Moji’ (Moshi), a highly unpleasant man by the name of Mandara. Broken in both health and spirits, the unfortunate New died soon after the attack.