This morning we left our climbing gear behind and loaded into two fully custom pop-top Land Crusiers and headed 60 miles southwest of Arusha to the Tarangire National Park for a day of viewing the big game animals. Immediately after passing through the park gates, we were greeted by a herd of elephants. And if you can believe it, from there it just got better and better! Zebras! Wildebeasts! Giraffes! Oh my! It is everything you imagine Tanzania and Africa to be.
At midday when we arrived at our picnic spot located on a high bluff, we were treated with a view of the Tarangire River and plain below that was as beautiful as any painting. It was impossible not to take an amazing photo. Many animals were gathered along the gentle flow of the river creating an everlasting image.
After lunch we drove on and caught a long distance look at our first lions, resting in the shade of two Acacia trees. Hopefully more to come!
We have now arrived at the stunning Endore Lodge, our home for the evening before heading on to the Serengeti tomorrow morning. Wonderful accommodations and fantastic food have created the perfect end to our first day of safari!
Today we awoke at the Mweka camp on Kilimanjaro, after our successful summit climb the day before. The team is feeling great and is excited to continue the adventure. From the lush forest we descended 5000′ to the Mweka gate where we enjoyed a delicious lunch and said goodbye to our Tanzanian porters and guides. Tonight we had a team celebration dinner, and tomorrow the group heads off on Safari, a 4 day extravaganza to the great game parks of Tanzania! Stay tuned for upcoming dispatches from the Serengeti, Tarangire, and Ngorongoro!
Our summit day began at midnight, as we awoke for a quick breakfast then left camp to begin our ascent. We dawned headlamps and climbed through the pre dawn hours, reaching Stella Point (18,652’) just as the sun rose over the plains of Africa. In the dawn light we climbed the remaining distance to Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa at 19,341’. At the top we savored our accomplishment and the incredible view, then made our way down back to our high camp, where we had lunch, then continued down to the Mweka camp for the night.
Stats for Day 6:
Start: Kosovo Camp, 15,700’
Summit: Uhuru Peak, 19,341′
Finish: Mweka Camp, 10,204’
Distance: 8 miles
Today we climbed to our high camp. We left Karanga camp and crossed the barren hillsides to reach Barafu camp, and continued on to the Kosovo camp, our special high camp that rarely sees any other climbers. This camp puts us in a position above most other climbing parties, so that our summit day is shorter and we can get out ahead of any potential crowds at the start. Before bed we talked through our summit day strategy, then went to bed early in preparation for an ‘alpine start’ tomorrow morning. We hope the weather will be good for our summit day!
Stats for day 5:
Start: Karanga Camp, 13,335’
Finish: Kosovo Camp, 15,700’
Distance Traveled: 3.5 miles
After breakfast we left camp and began our ascent of the Great Barranco wall! This scramble provided us with a great morning workout as we topped out at 14,500’ with spectacular views of the plains below! Then we descend to the Karanga river and hiked up a short distance to Karanga camp.
Stats for day 4
Start: Barranco Camp, 13,066’
Finish: Karanga Camp, 13,335’
Distance: 3 miles
We left Shira Camp and traversed the mountain, working our way up to the base of “lava tower” at approximately 14,800 ft. Some of us made a quick ascent of the lava tower, a fun scramble up with great views from the top, then descended down to Barranco Camp. From our camp we have a great view of the Great Barranco wall, our challenge for tomorrow morning!
Stats for day 3
Start: Shira Camp, 12,355’
Finish: Barranco Camp, 13,066’
Distance Traveled: 6 miles
Today, from the Machame camp we started hiking up the trail through the forest and gained elevation very quickly, as the landscape changed quickly from the lush forest to moor lands with large Senecio trees dotting the hillsides. We gained the Shira Plateau where we now have a great view over the valley below. Each day upon arriving at our camp in the afternoon we have a dance party with our porter team, the climbers are learning the dance and songs of the Chagga tripe! Our team is doing great and we are having a wonderful time on Kilimanjaro!
Stats for day 2
Start: Machame Camp, 9,927’
Finish: Shira Camp, 12,355’
Distance Traveled: 5 miles
We traveled by jeep from Arusha through forests and coffee fields to the Machame trailhead, where we checked in with the Park HQ, sorted loads for our local porters, the Chagga people. We hiked through the lush rain forest and finished our day at the Machame Camp. Everyone is doing well, we had a great first day on our climb of Mount Kilimanjaro!
Stats for Climb day 1
Start: Machame Entrance, 5,718’
Finish: Machame Camp, 9,927’
Distance Traveled: 6 miles
Our team of Kilimanjaro climbers has arrived in Tanzania! This morning after a wonderful breakfast we checked everyone’s gear, and now the team is out on a day tour of the local sights in Arusha. The weather is great, everyone is excited to be here and to begin our climb of Mount Kilimanjaro tomorrow!
The K2 / Broad Peak team is now back in Islamabad and preparing to head home! Some of our members have already flown out, and the last of us will be departing Pakistan this weekend. Conditions were tough this year on K2 & Broad Peak, resulting in no confirmed summits from any of the teams attempting K2 or Broad Peak. Our expedition went according to plan and we were in position to go for the summit when the weather changed and the climbing conditions deteriorated significantly. Our climbers made a great effort in climbing to Camp 2 / 3 on both K2 & Broad Peak, however the unusually deep snow that accumulated this season prevented us from going higher. We had a great time in the Karakorum and with better route conditions / weather I am confident we would have made the summit(s) we were attempting. We look forward to returning next year!