Kilimanjaro Trip Log

Tue, December 28, 10:15 AM
(Tue 02:15 AM EST)

Hello there.

This is where [semi]-real time updates from our Kilimanjaro climb are posted. Whenever I have an internet connection, I'll add my own entries, and when I can't do that, I will be in contact with Brian via Satellite Phone, and he will be updating this section as we progress.

Check back often!


Fri, December 31, 11:29 AM
(Fri 03:29 AM EST)

Well, it's 8:30 am GMT and here we are at heathrow airport after a fairly sleepless overnight flight from Montreal. We had a little panic attack at the airport in Montreal when Peter thought he'd forgotten his passport back in Ottawa. Fortunately, it was just in his Goretex jacket's pocket and all ended well. Oh, and many thanks to Ewart and Martha for very graciously driving us from Ottawa to the airport in Montreal.

Weather here in London is (what else?) foggy and drizzly, but a relatively nice 11C. We leave on our 9 hour flight to Nairobi in a few hours.

Pu is next to me with his voice recorder, dutifully capturing all that goes on, including my keyclicks!

Well, it's now time to go for a snack, so I guess I'll sign off for now.

680 Hotel
Sat, January 1, 08:00 AM
(Sat 12:00 AM EST)

We've arrived in Nairobi! I'm typing this from the six-eighty hotel in downtown Nairobi, Kenya. We had a looong flight from London to Nairobi - food and service were pretty good though. Man, is the Sahara ever a big desert - 3 hours to fly north - south across it.

The hotel here is pretty nice. Has a different flavour than back home, but that's all part of the neatness and charm of it all. There were pretty boisterous New Year's eve celebrations at a nearby bar last night and it was very late (actually, early in the morning) before the noise below our hotel windows died down.

Today we are going explore around Nairobi, get time-shifted, and prepare ourselves for tomorrows long bus ride to Moshi, the town at the base of the mountain.

Bye for now, ...Andrew

Nairobi to Kili Travel Route
Sun, January 2, 06:11 AM
(Sat 10:11 PM EST)

In about an hour and a half we'll be leaving on the six hour shuttle ride from Nairobi to the town at the base of Kilimanjaro (known as Moshi). We are going to use the 'Davanu' shuttle service, and we are all very curious to see what sort of ride this will be.

Hopefully our land crossing from Kenya into Tanzania will go smoothly.

Sun, January 2, 08:10 PM
(Sun 12:10 PM EST)

We are now in Moshi, and are staying at the Springlands Hotel. The ride from Nairobi to here was long but relatively interesting. The border crossing was not as bad as I'd thought - it was fairly orderly and not really all that much trouble, so long as you followed things carefully and filled out all the right forms.

Driving through the countryside was quite interesting - the vegetation, roads, wildlife and people were all quite different and unique to me. Especially striking were the brightly colored Massai peoples - their outfits are really quite amazing: vividly bright and seemingly always very clean. As far as exotic wildlife goes, we saw a few Zebra, Giraffes, and Camels along the way. Kilimanjaro was wreathed in a lot of high-altitude clouds as we approached, so we both did not get a view and also wondered about what bad weather was going on up there.
maasai tribesperson
Springlands Hotel
Springlands Hotel
The Springlands hotel here in Moshi is very posh, especially in contrast to the relatively run-down state of things outside. It is organized in a compound-like manner, and has almost a club-med like feel. We signed in, and also got a 'briefing', where we were assigned our climbing guide and had a brief information exchange with him. Afterwards, we got a super-excellent view of Kilimanjaro (the clouds had cleared away in the late-day sun). It looked quite amazing!

We are to be up and ready to go by 8am tomorrow. Exciting!

Stage 1 of Climb
Mon, January 3, 10:07 AM
(Mon 02:07 AM EST)

It is 10am Monday morning - our first climb day. And we are still here at the Springlands hotel. Our guide, Chombo, was supposed to be here to pick us up at 8am, but there seems to be some problem and he's not going to be here for another 30 minutes (at least). Starting to get a little frustrated here. I'm thinking... if he is late enough, we are not going to make our first camp today.

Anyway, assuming we do get going, the map on the right outlines our hike for today.

Stage 2 of Climb
Mon, January 3, 10:59 PM
(Mon 02:59 PM EST)

Chombo and the porters finally arrived and due to the late start got to our first camp at Umbwe Cave fairly late in the evening. Not much to report - tomorrow we are off on the second day.

Tue, January 4, 06:39 PM
(Tue 10:39 AM EST)

The day was partly rainy - but everyone made it successfully to Barranco Camp at 12,800 feet on day 2. People are starting to "feel" the altitude and tomorrow is a day of rest to acclimitize. Andrew also wanted people to know that the satellite phone batteries seem to be running down a bit quicker than expected so the phone may not be on for the previously advertised daily 2 hour window.

Barranco Camp
Wed, January 5, 06:12 PM
(Wed 10:12 AM EST)

Today was an acclimitization day.

Woke up to a beautiful sunny day with a clear view of the Kilimanjaro summit. Turns out the night wasn't too comfortable for Markus who appears to be feeling the effects of the altitude. Did a short easy day hike up to 14,000 feet (for a gain of about 1000 feet) and returned to camp. Upon return Markus was feeling better and the acclimitization day seems to have served a purpose.

The day started clouding over around mid-day. After the return to camp during dinner a hail storm started and resulted in an accumulation of almost an inch on the ground. The porters were speculating that if the weather continued the team might not be able to continue on the chosen route - however things seemed to be clearing up as Andrew made this call so there was optimism the team could stick to the planned route for tomorrows climb.

Evidently the porters are making up for the slow start as the report claims "the porters are preparing excellent meals" and "its amazing what they will do for the group".

Overall everyone was feeling pretty good at the end of the day.

Stage 3 of Climb
Thu, January 6, 08:16 PM
(Thu 12:16 PM EST)

Broke from Barranco Camp at 8:15am on a beautiful sunny day. Hiked up 2200 feet to the Lava Tower Campsite at 15,200 feet (although the map is marked as 14,900 the altimeter says they are actually at 15,200). This is the highest Andrew has been - the previous high being Mt Rainer (14,411). Everyone managed the hike with little problem - although the report says there are a few "light" headaches and a queasy stomach or two.
Lava Tower
The Lava Tower campsite is beautiful - with a commanding view of the mountain directly above them. The immediate camp area is flat and sandy - with a large tower of Lava rock right next to it. If time allows Andrew would like to scramble up the Lava tower tomorrow.

Once again it started to cloud over at mid-day - but today the clouds drifted by and the mountain was clearly visible for times during the latter part of the day.

Andrew says hi to everyone.

Fri, January 7, 07:39 PM
(Fri 11:39 AM EST)

This was the second acclimitazation day.

Did a short fun clamber up the Lava Tower near the campsite, followed by a short hike up to 15,800 feet and back to camp.

Everyone is feeling reasonably well and ready for tomorrow.

Stage 4 of climb
Sat, January 8, 05:09 PM
(Sat 09:09 AM EST)

Today was a relatively easy [well, actually it was quite difficult due to the altitude, but objectively it wasn't hard-jal] climb of about 900' feet elevation from the Lava Tower campsite to the Arrow Glacier campsite at 16,100. Took about an hour and a half.
The Western Breach
Now in an alpine area and the camping area is completely barren - no plants, grass, or lichen. From the camp site can now see up into the Great Western Breach - where scrambly cliffs, glaciers and towers of snow are visible.

Caroline, Pu and Markus are taking diamox to help with the altitude - but everyone is feeling good. Plan is to get to sleep at 5pm local time and then arise at 11pm to start the final push to the summit.

Sun, January 9, 08:45 AM
(Sun 12:45 AM EST)

The following is a modified posting after getting more details from Andrew shortly after he was off the summit:


Summit day was extremely challenging.
Stage 5 of climb
The summit
Stage 6 of climb
Started the summit climb around midnight. Everyone made it to the crater rim - however Markus basically bonked out at the rim and could not proceed the final distance to the highest point on Kilimanjaro which is Uhuru Peak.

The summit was achieved at 8:45am. Beautiful clear day with a fantastic view. There should be lots of pictures :^)
The descent portion of the day involved two stages - the first part being a descent of about 4000' to the Barafu encampment. The climb down involved a lot very fine rocks/sand/scree and was quite tiring. Following that, another fairly long descent of about 5000 feet to the Mweka Hut for the final overnight stay.

Congratulations to eveyone on the trip!

Mweka Hut
Mon, January 10, 08:58 PM
(Mon 12:58 PM EST)

The final day was basically a hike out from Mweka Camp to the main gates. Here everyone received their official signed certificates for the climb. Finally a bus ride back to the hotel in Moshi closed the climb. Other than the climb down causing Yi to have a very sore knee and Caroline to have a slight back problem - everyone is feeling fine.
Stage 7 of climb
Tomorrow is the start of the safari portion of the trip - and this posting will be the final posting of the Kilimanjaro climb trip log.

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