Kilimanjaro 2016.12 Dispatches

Kilimanjaro weather can be great, weather on mountains can also not be great. As we tried to sleep in our tents in preparation of our 11pm wake up for our summit bid, our tents folded like tacos in the wind and sounded like chip bags with snow and hail. Needless to say, I don’t think anybody slept. We got up, ate a light breakfast and started our ascent. About 5 inches of new snow had fallen overnight and the wind had increased, we climbed higher and higher in the dark bucking a serious wind, steady and unrelenting. By around 5:15AM we stood at Stella Point, the bulk of the climbing below us the sun rose and illuminated Africa and the clouds below. We made the final stroll to the summit and at 6:40AM we all celebrated. The descent was straightforward if not muddy due to the melting snow and the wind had abated. We were in high spirits as we strolled back into camp until we saw what remained of much of our camp. The winds throughout the night had taken their toll on our cook tent, our dining tent and our porters sleeping tent leaving them destroyed. What would generally be a celebratory lunch turned into a rush to pack and head down the mountain. As the icy winds began again we hurriedly packed our gear and hightailed it down the mountain. After a 4 hour hike we finally got to relax at McKay high camp where we are, drank water and tea and slept like baby rhinos.
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The last day of any trip is bitter sweet. On one handed we long for cold beer, new food and hot showers while on the other we have to leave a place we have given so much for. We came out here and climbed the mountain and the trip is over. Now we all go back to our lives and have the memories and pictures. This was on all of our minds as we hiked the 10 kilometer hike out to the gate, through the rain forest we saw more birds and monkeys than we could count. We arrived at the gate to our team singing and dancing and congratulating us on a great climb. We feasted on a fantastic buffet lunch, thanked our staff, said goodbye then loaded up in the van back to the hotel. We are all sad to be going home, but psyched for the pool.
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Yesterday was a favorite so far for our Kilimanjaro team! The Baranco Wall can be an intimidating feature and as we woke up we could only see it for brief moments through the breaking fog. We stashed our trekking poles and steadily climbed. Mike, Todd and Cassey showed no signs of slowing as we crested the wall! As we bobbed and weaved our way around the mountain we were all in awe on the mountain to our left, and the beautiful countryside of Tanzania to our right. Karanga camp was a welcome sight!

Today we sit primed and ready for our climb tonight! The climb from Karanga to Kosovo camp at 15,500ft is a rewarding but demanding day. As usual Mike, Todd and Cassey floated it! As the scrub brush disappeared leaving only gravel and rocks, one starts to feel the change from hiking to climbing. Now we rest, drink water, eat and prepare for our late night start and our climb to the top of Africa!

Sid Pattison

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There are few places like the beautiful Shira Camp sunrise on Mount Kilimanjaro. Looking out over the jungle, seeing Meru peaking up above the clouds watching the frost give way to sun warmth is fantastic. Today the team rocked our acclimatization day climbing up to 15,000ft to the Lava Tower! We moved confidently and steadily up, happy to see our lunch tent through the mist. We dined in luxury on chicken, pasta, sandwiches and fresh fruit while trying out best to master the Swahili phrases of gratitude we have been learning. After a good break we descended down through the Hidden Moorlands of indescribable beauty. Wandering past waterfalls, clumps of wild Dr. Suess trees we arrived at Baranco Camp at 12,750ft. Red blood cells freshly oxygenated, we rest before dinner.

Sid Pattison

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Finally on Mount Kilimanjaro after our jungle trek! Sometimes in climbing, the toughest part is waiting to start. Like a runner in the starting blocks, we waited and prepared. Yesterday we set off and now have our first day under our belt. We steadily climbed through the jungle seeing monkeys and beautifully colored birds who’s names I wish I knew to Machame camp at 9500ft in elevation. The group is strong and psyched to be here. We ate, rested and sleep like babies.

This morning we were greeted to sun and our first views of Kilimanjaro! The team did great grinding up from 9000ft to our 12000ft Shira camp. As we climbed up out of the last of the jungle, past the majestic Erica trees we were treated with fleeting views of the jungle below. Dinner and rest was well earned now we shall all sleep like baby giraffes.

Sid Pattison

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Under promising sky’s we load up the jeep, packed, ready and psyched to climb! Tonight we sleep in the jungle at the foot of the tallest mountain in Africa! We couldn’t be more ready! –Sid Pattison

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After many hours of travel and several times zones we all made it to Tanzania! This morning we met up, excitedly talked about our climb and sorted gear. Stoke is high as we prepare for our climb! With gear packed we are off to Arusha to explore the city a bit and pick up some last minute items. Tomorrow we are off!

-Sid Pattison

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