This excerpt is a preview of John Degrazio’s recent article on the YExplore blog. To read more, please visit:


We are all on a journey in this lifetime. Many of us are on a quest for adventure as we live for each exciting day. I recently had the opportunity to travel to Tanzania for an incredible trip to the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and Mount Kilimanjaro. The first step in preparing for my Kilimanjaro summit trek was to read a short story by Ernest Hemingway titled “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”. Next, I decided to work out and train for the occasion. Finally, I was ready both physically and mentally. Searching For Snow on Mount Kilimanjaro was a spiritual journey as much as it was a physical challenge. It is an experience that will stay with me forever.


Searching For Snow on Mount Kilimanjaro

When I decided to train for Kilimanjaro, I knew that I wouldn’t need to significantly alter my normal fitness routine. As a guide in Yosemite National Park, I am able to hike over a thousand miles in a season. This year, I was fortunate enough to hike Half Dome and Clouds Rest several times. I was also able to add a summit of Mt. Whitney this past September. The peak is 14,505 feet and the tallest in the lower 48 of the U.S. so I knew it would be my best chance to prepare for some significant altitude. My buddy Ziggy and I achieved the summit and returned in under twelve hours so I was confident I was ready for Africa’s tallest peak.


Summer and fall training went well, but I was more concerned with the winter conditions for my winter conditioning. I was expecting to be able to train with a few snowshoe hikes like in year’s past. One of my favorite activities is downhill snowshoe racing on my Yukon Charlie’s snowshoes. The snowshoes in the photo are the lightweight Pro Series I’ve had for a little while. They are so lightweight and durable. As a Yukon Charlie’s Ambassador, I was hoping to test out my new snowshoes before my trip, but it wasn’t meant to be. Instead, I completed my training by summiting Half Dome in early January on a completely dry trail.