2019.01 Kilimanjaro expedition dispatches

Approaching the summit of Kilimanjaro

We have received word that our team has reached The Roof of Africa:  the summit of Kilimanjaro‘s Uhuru Peak (5895 m / 19,341 ft)!  Congratulations team!

The team checked-in after they returned from the summit to Kosovo camp.  They were packing up camp and starting the descent to Mweka camp (3075 m / 10,090 ft).  Big day!  First ascending 1025 meters of elevation to the summit and then descending a massive 2820 meters (9,252 ft) down to camp for the night.  Whew!

Tomorrow they will have the comfortable hike down to the Mweka Gate (1638 m / 5,375 ft).  Where they will arrive in time for a lunch-time celebration.  From there it’s on to a 4-day safari of the three major game parks of Tanzania:  the Tarangire, the mighty Serengeti, and the beautiful Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

The view of Mawenzi peak (5149 m) from Kosovo camp.

Our Kilimanjaro team is ready for summit day!  Today they completed their eastern traverse of Kilimanjaro and climbed up to the high camp, known as Kosovo camp.  Kosovo camp is our special high camp that rarely sees use by other climbers.  It sits 210 meters above the traditional, and frequently very crowded, Barafu high camp.  Using this higher 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.

By now our team should be just about ready to begin their “alpine start” in the very early morning hours.  With the right steady and slow ascent to manage the altitude, they should reach Stella Point (5750 m) just in time for a once-in-a-lifetime African sunrise.

Stay tuned for the next update!

(photo:  view of Mawenzi peak (5149 m) from Kosovo camp from the Madison Mountaineering archives)

Karanga Camp on Kilimanjaro

Karanga Camp!  This morning the Kilimanjaro team climbed “the Breakfast Wall” (aka the Great Barranco Wall), a nice challenge to start the day and get the body warmed up for a nice day of trekking.  The top of the Barranco Wall (4240 m / 13,911 ft) provides spectacular views of the plains far below.

From there, the team descended into the Karanga valley.  Then up a final hill to the Karanga Camp (4043 m / 13,264 ft).  Total hiking for the day was about four hours.  Everyone is doing very well and having a great time!

All of the team are excited about reaching the high camp of Kosovo (4870 m / 15,978 ft) tomorrow just above the Barafu Camp to get ready for the summit attempt on the following day!!

Approaching the Lava Tower

Approaching the Lava Tower (Madison Mountaineering archives)

Our January Kilimanjaro climb kicked off a few days ago and the team is doing great and feeling strong!  They entered the National Park at the Machame Gate (1814 m / 5,950 ft) on the first day and they hiked through the tropical rain forest climate zone up to Machame camp at 3022 m (9,915 ft).  Their 4,000 ft. elevation gain crossed into the heath climate zone.  The heath zone is typically covered by heavy mists and marked with rolling meadows, heath plants, and many small wild flowers.  A fantastic start to the trek to the roof of Africa!

On the second day they continued to climb through the heath zone and into the moorlands to Shira camp (3833 m / 12,575 ft).  Yesterday was the third day of hiking and the start of the three-day west to east traverse of the mountain.  In the morning, they climbed up to the Lava Tower at 4655 m (15,272 ft) for lunch and stunning views of the Western Breach route.  In the afternoon, the team descended to Barranco camp (3981 m / 13,060 ft), where they got their first views of the Great Barranco wall – today’s crux!