Kilimanjaro Because I hadn't really slept on the plane/s, I was exhausted but I made myself stay up all day so I could sleep through the night. Downtown Arusha was the only "safe "place that I could visit. Didn't feel safe.
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A little history...
The mountains completely sucked me in while trekking to Everest Base Camp with my 13 year old son in April, 2010. After I got home, I signed up for a glacier mountaineering course on Mt. Baker and my climbing "career" began. Shortly after Baker, I climbed Mt. Rainer and the following year I went to South America and climbed many peaks in Ecuador and Bolivia. I'm not sure when the idea presented itself but at some point in South America, I started thinking about "The 7 Summits". So... here I go! Number 1...
Although Kilimanjaro is not a technical climb, it is still a 19,340 foot volcano that deserves respect. Because I was climbing in Feb., there was not a lot I could do in terms of elevation training in the Pacific N.W. but I was able to focus on fitness. I ran stairs, rode my bike, did yoga, rode my snowboard, went for hikes, etc. I started taking 125 mg./day of Diamox the day before I was above 10,000 feet elevation and... hoped for the best.
Feb. 2 - 4, 2012...
Flying into Kilimanjaro Airport was a series of "unfortunate events"; broken engine, snowstorm in Amsterdam, too much snow on the runway, frozen wings, flight crew worked too many hours so we had to re-route, paperwork wasn't "in order", etc. Amazingly, when I finally arrived, all my luggage was there and driver (slept in his car all night waiting for my plane to arrive) was waiting to take me to my hotel.
After a pre-trip meeting with my group, which I slept through most of, I finally stumbled up to my room for a much needed nights sleep.
Feb. 5, 2012...
On our way too climb the mountain! There are many routes to the summit but I chose The Lemosho Route. Was described as the "least" crowded (all the groups converge a few days into trek), the most scenic, and most challenging route to the summit.
Our first look at Kilimanjaro... so far away!
Cute Africian girls showing off their "new blinky rings".
After signing in at park entrance, we are finally ready to begin our trek.
At the Lomosho Trailhead. Porters were amazing!
Organizing, sorting, packing... so much to do. They make it so easy for us.
My trekking group... really fun people from all over the world.
Jambo (Hello), Mambo (How's it going), and Poa (Okay (in response to Mambo)), were also common Swahili words used by the guides and porters.
Lemosho Forest Camp - 8,700 ft. Started taking Diamox (125 mg/day with dinner until I came down from the summit).
The dinner tent. Popcorn, peanuts, and tea were served for afternoon snack everyday, followed by warm water for washing (delivered to our tents every morning and afternoon by our porters).
Feb. 6, 2012...
Woke up to porters bringing coffee and hot water for washing a.k.a. "washy washy" to my tent. We soon left the forest behind and entered the moorland zone of giant heather.
Our group was split into 2 so we were able to pick up the pace with our guide. Felt so good to move a little faster after the previous day of "pole pole".
Lunch break at 10,000 ft. Our guide gave us hot soup. My favorite meal on the mountain.
Mt. Kilimanjaro is getting closer!
Another amazing night on the mountain. After hike had "washy washy", snack, dinner, Diamox. Altitude has been a non-issue but taking Diamox, "just in case". Only side effect... it's a diuretic. Had to wake up every night to pee but aside from that, felt great! Really cool dreams at altitude.
Feb. 7, 2012...
Amazing views at 4:00am!
Heading to Barranco Camp via the Lava Tower.
Porters were always cheering us on...
Finally, made it to Lava Tower but... fog rolled in and we couldn't really see it.
From Lava Tower, we descended to the bottom of the Barranco Valley to Barranco Camp. Another amazing scenery change, beautiful "cactus-like" plants along the trail, senecio kilimanjari... so diverse.
Barranco Camp - 12,790 ft.
Feb. 8, 2012...
Getting ready to tackle the Barranco Wall...
Really fun climb with a 20lb. pack... not sure about this.
Heading to Karango Camp..
Karango Camp - 13,100 ft.
Feb. 9, 2012...
On our way to Barafu Camp. Last camp before summit. So close!
and up to Barufu Camp.
Best toilets on the mountain. Funny that they are the highest.
Beautiful view of Mt. Mawenzi right outside my tent.
The summit is awaiting...
Amazing energy at camp. Everybody is so excited, nervous, anxious, etc. for summit.
Weather is looking perfect for summit day!
Feb. 10, 2012...
Woke up at 11pm and we were heading up the mountain by 12:15am.
5am... Stella Point - False summit - 18,800 ft.
5:45am... Summit of Kilimanjaro! - Uhuru Peak - 19,345ft. Highest Point in Africa!!! Feels good.
Leaving the highest point in Africa... bitter sweet.
The hike down had a couple options... could follow the same network of swithbacks that we took on the way up or... could step off the trail and ski the skree all the way down. Fun ride!
Mellenium Camp - 12,500 ft.
Porters getting hot water ready for much needed "washy washy".
Feb. 11, 2012...
Last morning on the mountain. After customary tipping ceremony, porters, guides, cooks, etc. sang and danced for us. One more final trek down to Mweka Village (5,400ft) and we were transferred back to Arusha.
Because I hadn't really slept on the plane/s, I was exhausted but I made myself stay up all day so I could sleep through the night. Downtown Arusha was the only "safe "place that I could visit. Didn't feel safe.