Kilimanjaro Dispatches

Today is Wednesday, October 5th and we had a great day today, beautiful weather and sunny skies as we climbed from Karanga Camp up to our high camp at Kosovo on Kilimanjaro. It was wonderful after yesterday’s rain and clouds to have such a beautiful day today. We were able to see the cloud layer well below us and everybody on the team is doing great and feeling strong. We are very lucky to be able to go for the summit tonight when everyone is feeling well and the good weather and route conditions. We have our fingers crossed that the weather holds and we make it to the top tomorrow morning. We will be checking in tomorrow, stay tuned! -Garrett Madison
Start: Karanga Camp, 13,220’
Finish: Kosovo Camp, 15,700’
Distance Traveled: 3.5 miles

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To monitor our climbing team’s route to the summit you can view our LIVE RainOn mapping platform here.

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Audio dispatch by Garrett Madison:

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After breakfast we left Barranco Camp and began our ascent of the Great Barranco wall! This scramble provided us with a great acclimatization workout as we topped out at 14,500’ with spectacular views of the clouds below! Then we descend to the Karanga river and hiked up a short distance to Karanga camp. Team had some rain today but team is dry and excited for the ascent to high camp tomorrow.  – Garrett Madison

Start: Barranco Camp, 12,750’
Finish: Karanga Camp, 13,220’
Distance: 3 miles

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Audio dispatch by Garrett Madison.

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To monitor our climbing team’s route to the summit you can view our LIVE RainOn mapping platform here.

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Today we left Shira Camp and traversed the mountain, working our way up to the base of “Lava Tower” at approximately 14,800 ft. Lava Tower is a fun scramble up with great views from the top! After lunch we then descended down to Barranco Camp. The weather today was mostly cloudy with a few patches of sun. From our camp we have a great view of the Great Barranco wall, our challenge for tomorrow morning!
-Garrett Madison

Start: Shira Camp, 12,450’
Finish: Barranco Camp, 12,750’
Distance Traveled: 6 miles.

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Audio dispatch attached here by Garrett Madison.

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To monitor our climbing team’s exact route to the summit you can view our LIVE RainOn mapping platform here.

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Lava Tower on Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

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Today our Kilimanjaro team left Machame Camp and trekked through a hail storm before reaching the warm shelter of their next camp. Garrett and team are now enjoying a beautiful night under the stars where they can see the impressive Milky Way Galaxy. Onward!

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Audio dispatch attached here by Garrett Madison.

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To monitor our climbing team’s exact route to the summit you can view our LIVE RainOn mapping platform here.

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Team photo

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Today is Saturday October 1 and our team is currently preparing to leave Arusha, Tanzania where they will travel by car to the Machame entrance (5,900 feet) and begin the adventure through the lush forests. After a nice trek through the jungle our team will arrive at Machame Camp (9,950′). Our climbers will trek  alongside local Tanzanian guides and explore the rich culture of Tanzania.

Our team plans to summit the peak on October 6th. To the top!

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Garett Madison calling in for the Kilimanjaro team:

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To monitor our climbing team’s exact route to the summit you can view our LIVE RainOn mapping platform here.

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Fred, Dante, Stefano, Ken, Joao, Braulio, Garrett, Jayme and Petr relaxing at their hotel in Arusha before departing toward Mt. Kilimanjaro.

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Climbers from around the world are in route for Kilimanjaro International Airport in Tanzania! Our team’s route up Kilimanjaro, the Machame, will be a non technical adventure through five very distinctive climate zones, allowing ample time for acclimatization. Our team will ascend Kilimanjaro in style, enjoying the incredible views, camaraderie, and sense of accomplishment in climbing one of the famed “7 Summits”  at an elevation of 5,895m / 19,341ft

On this great adventure we will have Fred, Dante, Stefano, Ken, Joao, Braulio, Jayme, Petr and Garrett joining us. To the top team!

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To monitor our climbing team’s exact route to the summit you can view our RainOn mapping platform here!

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For our final day of Safari we woke in the fog and mist all along the Ngorongoro crater rim.  The Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge served up one it’s famous breakfast buffets to completely fuel us up for the day in the world’s largest inactive, intact, and unfilled volcanic caldera: the Ngorongoro.

Via our trusty LandCrusiers, we descended the 2,000 feet to the crater floor on the switch-backed road taking us well below the clouds.  In the cool overcast morning, some of the animals took novel approaches to finding a warm place to rest, including a pair of lioness laying right in the middle of the road.  Our photographs were from not more than six feet away – I wisely kept my window rolled up!

Just after this we were delighted to spot the extremely rare Black Rhino at some distance, thereby completing our capture (photographically, of course) of Africa’s Big Five.  What a thrill!!

We once again found our lunch spot occupied by some locals.  In this case, some very active big hippopotamus! No reason to argue with the most dangerous mammal in Africa over location, we found an alternative place to eat.

After lunch we headed up out of the crater and on to the Mount Meru Hotel in Arusha where our group formally concluded the Madison Mountaineering 2015 Kilimanjaro climb and African Safari.

Half the team headed to the airport for flights home while the other half are continuing their vacations with  some time on the beaches of Zanzibar!

Thanks for following our adventure.  This concludes our Kilimanjaro 2015 dispatches.

Why don’t you make plans to join us next year?
   
    

A long view of the rare Black Rhino

    
    
 

There is something quite magical about waking up in a tent on Africa’s Serengeti!  After watching the sun rise with a hot cup of coffee in hand, we enjoyed a full breakfast before loading once again into our LandCruisers to continue our exploration of the Serengeti.

Our animal checklist checklist grew with Crocodile and Hippopotamus sightings.  But the animal of the day was the Lion.  So many Lions!  Most were found resting in the late morning heat under shade of the acacia trees while  very actively keeping an eye on the nearby Zebra.

We did have a chance to see the pre-Lion and post-Lion states of the Cape Buffalo:  alive and dead.  We came across a group of Lion guarding their fresh Buffalo kill.  This caused a minor skirmish between the Lions and a group of Elephants who came to use the watering hole.  Real life Wild Kingdom stuff!

Out of necessity, we had our lunches in the vehicles.  Reason being that our biggest surprise of the day was waiting for us at our picnic site.  Once again located on a bluff overlooking the plain, our picnic area had stone tables and benches shaded by trees.  But hidden within tree branches was our rarest sighting of all:  Leopards!  Three Leopards had taken to the trees for rest and tourist watching.  We were quite lucky to see these amazing cats so up close as they are, by nature, nocturnal and wary of humans.  Best to stay in the car and eat rather than get out of the car and be…

After lunch, we said goodbye to the Serengeti and headed back to the Ngorongoro crater rim for an evening at the spectacular (and I mean it) Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge.  Each of our rooms have a terrace that overlook the amazing crater.  Tomorrow we will venture down into the crater for our final day of safari.  Everyone is hopeful to spot a rare Black Rhino to complete our African Big Five bingo card.

   
    
    
   

Today we travelled in our LandCruisers through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area along the Ngorongoro crater rim to reach the adjacent, legendary Serengeti National Park for another day of game and bird watching.

Highlights of the day included amazing numbers of Thomson’s Gazelle and Zebra, close encounters with Giraffe, and a knock-your-socks-off African sunset over the Serengeti plain.  Sunning!

After dusk we arrived at the Kisura Camp for our overnight on the Serengeti.  Each of our huge, multi room tents included a full bathroom and shower to allow us to freshen up for the outstanding supper in the mess tent.

After our meal, it was wonderful to end the day drifting off to sleep to the distant sounds of Hyaena and perhaps a Lion or two.

   

 

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!