Loose Lips

How Do You Say “Failed Mountain Climber” in Swahili?


LL missed this item from the gals at the Reliable Source this morning about the president of LL's fan club/superlawyer/failed D.C. Council candidate A. Scott Bolden, failing to reach the summit of Africa's Mt. Kilimanjaro.

But after a few days of climbing, he took ill in the thin air of base camp. Bolden was determined to soldier on for the final push to the 19,341-foot peak—but at 17,000 feet, hallucinations hit: "Flying dragons!" he said. Then he just kind of toppled over. A medic was about to do mouth-to-mouth before Bolden summoned the strength to wave him off. "Oh God," he moaned. "It was awful."

They ordered him off the mountain—on a stretcher. Two porters steered him down the cold, bumpy path, but lost control—and Bolden went rolling down the slope, the men chasing after him. He walked the last couple of hours, overheating through the rain forest, and visited a hospital briefly. But yes, he survived—and still wants to finish those last 2,300 feet.

LL does not like to mock the infirm. But he was of the impression that Kilimanjaro wasn't that tough of a climb. (LL was once right next to Kilimanjaro, but only had money to spend on a safari, so skipped it—but the other travelers he met said it was an easy, if kind of long, ascent.) A quick Google search both confirmed and cast doubt on that impression:

  • "It's a marvelous trip, but it's a beginner's climb," says Todd Burleson, owner of Alpine Ascents International, a Seattle company that leads up to 10 Kilimanjaro climbs a year. "All you're doing is hiking, but you're gaining altitude, too."
  • The most popular trail for climbing Africa's highest mountain is dismissively known as the "Coca Cola route". It has comfortable huts for tourists to sleep in, food and drink is for sale and the paths are thronged with climbers. But while it's fair to say that climbing the nearly 6,000m Kilimanjaro is not akin to climbing Everest or K2, it's still something to be approached with care.

Well, regardless of the difficulty, LL is glad Bolden made it back to the District in one piece so he can enjoy his new epithet: Failed mountain climber A. Scott Bolden.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • just sayin’

    Not a fan of Bolden or his infamous clients, but, c'mon - this is a total cheap shot.

  • Truth Hurts

    I second just sayin' on all counts. Even though I've never liked anything Bolden.

  • Indeed

    Bolden wears terrible suits and represents sketchy people, but I will agree with just sayin' and TH: this is a bit much. You're mocking a guy for having health problems? That is pretty low.

  • Alan Suderman

    Oh please, it's gentle mocking.

  • Indeed

    You're mocking someone for having breathing problems on a mountain. You could've mocked him for doing almost as badly as white Michael Brown did against Phil Mendelson. That seems more appropriate. Why do you care so much that he doesn't like you?

  • Ben

    Total cheap shot, even if it is gentle mocking.

    Even if Kilimanjaro is "easy" in the sense that it's a non-technical climb, it's still pretty damn high, and the dude is middle-aged. Altitude sickness can nail anybody. At least he gave it a shot.

  • Watsgood

    LL....you like any black ppl?

  • Truth Hurts

    Just read the Reliable Source link. It reports that the climb was intended to raise money for learning disabled kids, and that Bolden did it with several other lawyers in his firm.

    LL, why didn't you mention those details before you "gently mocked" this guy? Exhibit some maturity and admit you're wrong. Please.

  • Truth Hurts

    First off, you are a waste of the title of Loose Lips and are doing a great disservice to those in the past who held this great job. I so hope we find a replacement for your lack of journalistic integrity real soon. Maybe if we all ask nicely Santa will bring us someone who (a) actually knows something about the damn city and (b) actually will do real research, investigative reporting and stand up to their name. You know LL used to get scoops, have inside information and do research. You have become nothing more than someone to send us emails to summarize the articles we may find interesting. Unfortunately I can find a student at any High School inside the beltway to do that and the funny things is that they will probably know more about he city.

    As for your attack on Mr. Bolden, I'm not surprised, you have been a coward from the day you started the job and this just shows that you are a spineless punk who would take a shot at someone doing something good for the community. You should actually try it.

    Indeed as for your ignorant ass, maybe you should check the facts. Mr. Bolden received votes in the mid 30 percentile against Mr. Mendelson and prior to that the councilman him self had never barely broke the 40k mark in votes so obtaining more than 35k votes for someone who had never held office was actually a daunting task. I mean his 36% if you look at the number of votes was actually more than Linda Cropp who had a much larger campaign and the backing of many received in her run for Mayor. But hey, why would I expect your ill informed self to know something like facts. http://www.dcboee.org

  • SEis4ME

    HA HA! Look at the comments from those who don't like Alan's orgy time with someone else's medical/physical condition!!!!

    Hey guys, this is nothing new from him. Last month he poked fun at Barry's "newish kidney" as if a persons failed kidney should be the subject of poor comedy. But it was Marion Barry, a person who "deserves" anything bad that's said about him. So I guess that's why no one else but me had an issue with it. I don't like Michelle Rhee but certainly wouldn't find humor in her personal health issues.

  • Indeed


    Uh, what is your point? You don't live in this city. I'm very happy that you have an analysis of Bolden's run against Mendelson, but I honestly do not care. Totally unimportant. Totally meaningless. Facts? Your interpretation of facts, you mean. Please stay in Montgomery County and stop commenting on city issues. You are a pathetic moron who has been sucking on Fenty's dick for far too long. This is the last time I will write anything about YOUR ignorant, pathetic, non DC living punk bitch ass.

  • Truth Hurts

    COMMENT # 9 IS NOT FROM THE REAL TRUTH HURTS! I have no idea who posted under my moniker. Please don't do it again. Pretty lowlife move, whoever you are.

  • Indeed


    Then I apologize to the real TH. I thought it a little strange since my comment was so benign.

  • Truth Hurts

    And I'm pretty sure that comment # 11 wasn't posted by the real Indeed, either. But even if it was, he/she needs to redirect it to "fake TH" who posted #9.

  • Truth Hurts

    @ Indeed: I posted #14 before I saw your #13. So please disregard

  • Nadia

    I thought it was pretty funny. I mean, he survived. Plus, he got to see flying dragons, which most of us won't ever have the luxury to experience. AND he was in his very own slapstick comedy falling-off-a-stretcher-and-rolling-down-a-hill movie! Everyone wins! I guess I can understand why Scott Bolden wouldn't like this piece. Are all of the commentators Scott Bolden with different usernames? That would explain a lot.

  • DCexpat

    Isn't Alan a chubby out of shape guy himself? I call for a climb-off, Alan versus Bolden up the Exorcist stairs.

    And to answer the headline question, you might say something like this: "Mafuta kijinga mtu ju ye mlimma." Depending on where you are ;)

  • Michele

    Low blow L2! Kili is no K2 but it's no walk in Rock Creek Park either.

    Runing a 10 miler isn't as impressive as a Marathon but how many people do either?