Full view of Kilimanjaro. We climbed the Machame route which traverses the entire south side of the mountain before ascending the mountain via the right skyline in this photo
Seven of us went to climb Kilimanjaro: Allison, Bill, Dan, Erik, Heidi, Rob and Me. We flew through Minneapolis and then Amsterdam before finally arriving at Kilimanjaro International Airport near Arusha, Tanzania
Sunrise in Amsterdam
On the shuttle bus from KIA to our hotel in Moshi, Tanzania
The Springlands Motel is a very popular motel for Kilimanjaro aspirants
This was our room. Note the deployable mosquito nets for each bed.
Very modern bathroom
We had a rest day in Moshi to get over the jet lag before heading up Kilimanjaro. One of the fellas at the motel, Lawrence, offered to show us around a bit. He was a super cool guy.
A nice hike through a rice paddy not far from the motel
A big tree. It's ca. 190 yrs old
Cold chillin' back at the motel
That evening the clouds lifted a bit and Kilimanjaro slowly came into view
Fritz and Kili
Dizzy D and Kili
Kilimanjaro (19,340') and Mawenzi (16,893')
The next day, loading up our bus to take to the Machame Gate, a 50 minute drive.
Dan chats it up with Lawrence a bit before we head out
At the Machame Gate it was a bit of mayhem. Potential porters waited outside the fences hoping to get picked up on a trip while us touristas signed in. Self-guided trips on Kilimanjaro are prohibited. We signed up with a company called Zara Travels and arranged everything before leaving the U.S.
Ironically, rule number 9 was completely disregarded by the local porters and guides--candy wrappers and trash were the norm along the trails
Beist signs in.
Our guided trip included box lunches. I was digging the hard boiled egg, fried chicken and butter sandwich!
More porter selection and transport organization
And we're off!
Yes, we did feel like whimps carrying our small day pack loads in our comfortable expensive backpacks
Taking a load off
The first day's hiking took us through lush rainforest terrain. There was no leaving the trail here, you'd surely get lost
But non-burning cigarette butts were allowed
At our camp at the Machame Camp in the "short tree" zone at 10,200'. We had hiked "pole, pole" (slowly, slowly) all day to avoid altitude sickness. We ascended 3,800 feet in 4.5 hours the first day.
At camp, the porters would heat up water so we could wash our faces and hands. It was way more than we had expected.
The big rent tent is the mess tent. In the afternoon our cook would make tea and popcorn for us to snack on
There was some commotion and apparently our group had not hired enough porters for the amount of weight we had. I think this was done so that each porter could pocket more money. So it turned out we gained another couple porters at Machame Camp. Our group size was 23 total, I believe.
Mount Meru in the distance
Upper Machame Camp
The second day's hike was to Shira Camp. Our guide, Juma "The Puma", recognized our fitness and upped our pace so we would have a better campsite selection at Shira Camp
First view of the upper mountain while en route to Shira Camp
A look down at the rain forest we had hiked through the previous day
Dan chatting with our guide, Juma
Arriving at Shira Camp. The camp was in an area of black volcanic rock
We arrived at Shira Camp around noon having taken 3.5 hours to ascend the 2,400' to camp at 12,600'
This left us with a relaxing afternoon of reading and chilling. Good acclimatization. Of note is that this trip was that red duffel's maiden voyage. We still have it six years later and it's held up extremely well.
Some dramatic clouds that evening with Mount Meru just barely poking out of the clouds
Dan and I walked around and put up some V0- bouldering routes
Bill and Heidi are happy about the awesome sunset
Rob, also happy
The nights were seriously dark. No modern cities or towns near Kilimanjaro meant zero light pollution
Day 3 we left Shira Camp to Lava Tower at 15,200' and then descended to Barranco Camp at 12,700'
Porters along the trail just outside of Shira camp
Juma leads the gang to Lava Tower
That's Lava Tower. On this day, every step above 14,433' was a personal altitude record for four of the seven in our group
Juma led Dan, Erik, Rob, Bill and I up a third class route to the top of Lava Tower while Allison and Heidi hung out at the base
On the summit of Lava Tower. Heidi and Allison are down by the rock rib just right of Dan's arm
View of the surrounding plateu and the trail to Barranco Camp
Giant Groundsel trees all along the trail to Barranco Camp. The misty weather had us reminiscing of green chile stew and fall weather back home
Rob striking the "Giant Groundsel Pose"
Our first up close encounter with snow and ice on the mountain
Barranco Camp at 12,700'. Our hike from Shira Camp to Barranco took 5 hours, 15 minutes
That afternoon we lounged about and enjoyed yet another nice sunset. Dinner consisted of noodles with veggie sauce, cabbage and spicy cooked beef. Orange slices washed it all down and we hit the sack around 9pm.
Ahh, the sun on Barranco Camp the next morning
We'd hike from Barranco Camp to Barafu Camp at 15,270'. The route took us through these cliff bands in this photo to the ridge above
Waterfalls below Barranco camp
Gettin' all third class
We started to feel like we were really ascending the mountain now
Rob is psyched!
Dan. Well hydrated.
Erik above the clouds
Arriving at Barafu camp at 15,270'. The day's hike took us about six hours at a very relaxed pace. We'd be going for the summit the next day so we didn't want to rush up the mountain.
Well above the clouds
Hitting the sack early. We settled into the tents at 6:30pm so we could sleep a bit before awaking at midnight to head for the summit.
Erik, Rob and Bill enjoying the sunset before hitting the sack
Up early and damn cold. The pace was pretty slow, with a lot of breaks, so we got chilled pretty easily. The day would be big though--4,100' of ascent, 9,100' of descent.
The idea was to reach the summit by sunrise and we were right on schedule
Shortly after I took this photo, Allison puked but rallied on for the summit
Erik just steps from the 19,341' summit of Uhuru Peak, the highest point on Kilimanjaro
Self portrait, Uhuru Peak, 19,341', September 10, 2004, 6:14am
It was a bit tiring, and cold
Flying the New Mexico flag on the summit. Just awesome that all seven of us made the summit together with the two assistant guides and Juma
The shadow of Kilimanjaro on the clouds. Very cool!
After about 15 minutes on the summit, Bill, Erik and I were all feeling good so Juma took the three of us into the summit crater and over to the Ruesch Ash pit
Tragically, the glaciers of Kilimanjaro are disappearing quickly and that will leave the villages at the base of Kilimanjaro with diminished water
The Ruesch Ash pit. It was very cool to peer down inside to see active fumaroles steaming
Going back down to our camp at Barafu camp was a blast. We could tell Juma enjoyed having active and competent clients as we flew down the scree slopes back to camp
After getting back to camp, we rested a bit before packing up and beginning the descent to Mweka Hut at 10,200'
Descending back into the clouds. Down at Mweka camp we were able to purchase sodas and beer and boy did they taste good. We went to bed around 8:30pm and I slept like a rock until 6:45am. I don't think I moved once during the night.
The final day we hiked out from Mweka camp to Mweka gate, a hike of about three hours. We were all pumped and full of energy and enjoyed some vine swinging when given the opportunity
Rob going big on the vine
Not to be outdone by tourists, Juma showed us how it was really done!
Me and Juma. He was a really good guy. Soft spoken, competent and friendly
At the Mweka gate. We all had to sign out individually and state whether or not we reached the summit. That information was then transcribed onto certificates of completion for each of us
On the bus ride back to Moshi. At one stop, Dan gave ~$15 to Juma to purchase colas for each of our 21 porters. That was much appreciated.
Our group at the end of an awesome adventure