Kilimanjaro journal

Nov. 13, 2008 at 1:17 PM ET

From Ann Curry, NBC News

Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Looking up at her, we are a humbled NBC News team, driving in a lurching safari truck from Kilimanjaro International Airport, brimming with excitement. 

Our mission is to report on Kilimanjaro's vanishing glaciers, expected to disappear completely as soon as 2020. And if we are successful, we will reach millions of Americans with the story in an unprecedented way. 

Our crew is talking nonstop about technical challenge we face in going live over five days from as many as four places on this 19,000-foot mountain. So many things could go wrong. But Bobby, Peter, Julian, Jen and Ray are jazzed, and listening to these talents, it is easy to be calm. If it can be done, they will do it. 

What worries me more is whether we are up for the physical challenge. Just a third of those who try reach the top of Kilimanjaro. Eighty percent suffer altitude sickness, 10 percent the point where their lives are threatened.   

We are taking the hardest route, known as the Western Breach, because it will get us closest to the ice. We will be careful, take our time, and take care of each other.   

And so an adventure begins.

Watchthe videoof Ann preparing for her hike, and read her blog reportabout the how the melting snows of Kilimanjaro are affecting the local people.

TODAY's Ends of the Earth series begins Monday, Nov. 17. Find out more here.