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Follow the team’s progress with our real-time tracking map

En route to Karanga Camp, expedition leader Garrett Madison catches a pocket of cellular coverage and provides today’s audio expedition dispatch:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Kilimanjaro expedition team with Drew and Jordan.  Today’s day four and we left our camp at Barranco this morning and climbed up the Great Barranco Wall.  Just topped out!  Beautiful views above the clouds and we are heading to Karanga Camp for tonight.

Everyone’s doing well.  We’ve got the mountain all to ourselves.  It’s pretty nice being up here on Kilimanjaro.  We’ve had good weather and more good weather in the forecast.  So, hopefully in the couple of days, we’ll have clear skies for our summit day.

We will check-in soon!

Kili Climbing Confidence!

Kili Climbing Confidence! (photo: Drew Maloney)


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates

Instagram:

Celebrating arrival at the Lava Tower on Kilimanjaro with headstands!
Follow the team’s progress with our real-time tracking map

Today our Kili team hiked up from Shria Camp to the Lava Tower at 4636 m / 15,210 ft.  The Lava Tower is a 300-foot high volcanic plug formation just below Kilimanjaro’s Western Breach that offers an amazing view for those that scramble their way to top.  So our team did and what a view.

After a nice lunch, they headed down among the giant Dendrosenecio kilimanjari to Barranco Camp’s 3981 m / 13,060 ft for the evening.

Tomorrow morning they will tackle the Barranco Breakfast Wall before crossing southeast to Karanga Camp.

Hiking from Shira Camp to the Lava Tower on Kilimanjaro

Hiking from Shira Camp to the Lava Tower on Kilimanjaro (photo: Drew Maloney)

The Western Breach and the Lava Tower of Kilimanjaro

The Western Breach and the Lava Tower of Kilimanjaro (photo: Drew Maloney)

Top of the Lava Tower on Kilimanjaro

Top of the Lava Tower on Kilimanjaro (photo: Drew Maloney)


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates

Instagram:

The view from Kilimanjaro's Shira Plateau
Follow the team’s progress with our real-time tracking map

Another beautiful day on the mountain with our team reaching Kilimanjaro‘s Shira Plateau at 3845 m / 12,615 ft.  The day’s hike covered about 3 miles while gaining nearly 3,000 ft. in elevation.  Heading out of Machame camp at 8:30 am, our speedy team pulled into Shira Camp just in time for lunch!

Tonight they are hoping to catch a glimpse of the Perseid meteor shower in the crystal-clear dark skies above their 12,615 ft perch.  And tomorrow they will ascend up to the Lava Tower at 4636 m / 15,210 ft before dropping back down through the giant Dendrosenecio kilimanjari to Barranco Camp’s 3981 m / 13,060 ft for the evening.


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates

Instagram:

MM Team at Kilimanjaro's Machame Gate trailhead
Follow the team’s progress with our real-time tracking map

Our Kilimanjaro team hit the trail this morning and climbed their way over six miles through the Cultivation and Rainforest climate zones from the trailhead at the Machame Gate (1814 m / 5,950 ft) up 1,217 vertical meters or ~4,000 ft. into the Heather and Moorland climate zone of Machame Camp (3022 m / 9,915 ft).

We received one shot from the trailhead and it didn’t fail to capture the excitement of beginning the trek up the highest free-standing mountain in the world!


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates

Instagram:

Garrett and Kili climbers in Arusha

Our Kilimanjaro team has all arrived in Arusha, Tanzania and is stoked to begin the expedition.  Here’s team leader, Garrett Madison, with today’s dispatch:

Well, hello from Tanzania! This is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering Kilimanjaro expedition. Today is Sunday, August 9th, and we arrived over the last couple of days here in Tanzania.

It’s been an interesting experience traveling internationally from the United States, given the current situation in the world. But we’ve had smooth travels. We arrived with no problems. Everyone is healthy and rested up.

We went over to a hot springs today in Moshe and did some swimming around. Had a nice time there, and we’ve done our gear checks. We are looking forward to heading to the trailhead tomorrow morning to start our program. Tonight we are going to go out for a team dinner, get a little food here in town.

Everyone’s doing well, and we’re very excited to head up to Kilimanjaro and begin our expedition!

Kili climbers arrive Tanzania

Kili climbers arrive Tanzania


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates

Instagram:

The climb up Mount Kilimanjaro

Our initial 2020 Kilimanjaro expedition and safari kicks-off this Saturday, August 8th.  Expedition leader, Garrett Madison, and the team of climbers are excited to return to Tanzania and reach the Roof of Africa!  Follow their progress with our daily dispatches.

Our expeditions to Kilimanjaro are truly an experience of a lifetime in journeying to Tanzania and undertaking one of the Seven Summits. Climbers experience first-hand the five ecosystems and game parks that Kilimanjaro towers-over as we climb the mountain slopes on our way to the summit. For those in good shape who can trek a few hours per day, Kilimanjaro is an accessible mountaineering objective. Although Kilimanjaro is considered a non-technical climb, roughly 1/3 of the visitors do not reach the summit. While some circumstances are out of the climbers and guides control, a lot of this has to do with the expertise of the climbing company one chooses. Our guides are among the finest in the world, through our expertise and adherence to safety, we have a 100% success rate on Kilimanjaro over the last seven years.

By the way, it’s not too early to start making your plans to join us on Kilimanjaro or any of our other expeditions in the 2021 season!  Contact our office for details.

Approaching the summit of Kilimanjaro

Approaching the summit of Kilimanjaro


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates

Instagram:

The team arriving in Arusha

With Kilimanjaro conquered and the safari complete, a very memorable Tanzanian expedition draws to a close and our team bids farewell to Africa as they head home. Lead guide, Rob Smith, provides the final words on the trip:

Many people have heard of ‘the big five‘ when it comes to African wildlife. The term originated from hunters, for the five most difficult animals to hunt on foot. These are lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino. It is heartening that the term associated with hunting these animals is now synonymous with wildlife tourism and conservation.

 

We did not see the full set of five, but that matters little as we did see so much. It is the diversity and abundance of wildlife that made our safari so memorable.

 

Of course the safari was after our main event, the Kilimanjaro climb. The hardships of that are beginning to fade, and the good times are becoming more memorable. Standing on the roof of Africa is not so easy, and John, Jaclyn and Kristin all managed to get there. It has been a safe, successful and enjoyable trip which has packed a lot into a relatively short time. Definitely not your average two week vacation. Thanks for following our journey!

 

Today’s Swahili: Kwaheri – goodbye; Karibu – you are welcome

Sunrise at our Serengeti camp

A final Safari

The team arriving in Arusha

Ready for safari

Lead guide, Rob Smith, tells the story of the Kilimanjaro team’s final full day on safari in the mightly Serengeti:

Today exceeded all our expectations, as Jaclyn said on returning to camp.

 

Shortly after leaving this morning we saw several vehicles parked at the trailside. This usually means there is something of interest nearby. We pulled up and sure enough, a cheetah was sitting on top of a termite mound near the track. The fastest land animal in the world sat in front of us, just like that. It was sleek with beautiful markings. Black ‘teardrops’ noticeable on its alert and watchful face. The cheetah moved to a closer mound, rested and then crossed the track between the vehicles. It sat on another mound before dropping off, looking right but moving in a leftward arc. We could not see what the cheetah had seen until soon a Thomson’s gazelle bounded through the grass towards the cheetah. A pounce, a flurry of dust, a kicking of legs and it was all over. We were amazed to have witnessed the spectacle. Whatever your views on animals killing each other, this is the circle of life in the Serengeti.

 

We continued on to a rest stop, where maybe 50 tourists were gathered. 500′ away a tree stood with a rock by its base. The rock turned out to be the head of a male lion, its large mane bulking its head size. At one point, the lion stood up before lying down, now completely unseen. It made us wonder how many animals lay in the long grass out of sight nearby. The day continued, we saw a leopard perched on top of a Kopje, rock outcrop, much larger and muscular than the cheetah. We wondered what was coming next.

 

Two large lions chasing gazelles across the plain before stopping at a carcass surrounded by vultures. Hippos, crocodiles, elephants, giraffes, a jackal, hyenas, so many birds. A mother and young cheetah sitting in the shade eyeing up ostrich and warthogs in front of them. Two lionesses squabbled and the winner dragged a Thomson’s gazelle into cover and sat virtually unseen as it feasted on the catch. This is some of what we have seen today. It is no wonder it far exceeded our expectations.

 

We have another night in the Serengeti Osupuko Camp with the birds calling and wind rustling the tree branches. Tomorrow we leave the Serengeti to drive back to Arusha. Fortunately for us, we get to view more wildlife on the first part of the drive until we leave the National Park.

 

Today’s Swahili:  Kiboko – Hippo; Chui – Leopard; Duma – Cheetah; Serengeti – Endless plain

A hungry giraffe

A “bloat” of hippos

Ready for safari

Serengeti plains

The Kilimanjaro team is now deep into their multiday safari and having a great time.  Lead guide, Rob Smith, provides the details of their day in two of the most amazing game parks in the world:

This morning we visited the Ngorongoro Crater, an area more than 180 square miles bounded on all sides by steep crater walls of a former volcano. The fertile base of the crater provides a haven for wildlife, and today it did not disappoint. Despite a misty start limiting views at the top of the crater, conditions were much clearer when we reached the base after a rough, steep descent. Buffalos and ostrich were seen on the drive down. A pool was filled with hippos, most of their bulk underwater with their backs and snouts visible. They shared the pool with pelicans while egrets, sacred ibis, and Egyptian geese sat on the banks. Two elephants stood in foliage nearby.

 

In the dry season, many animals are attracted to water sources, and it can be a great place to view them. Along the trails secretary birds with their snake stamping legs strutted back and forth. A jackal paced in front of our vehicle for several hundred meters before it cut off the track. Hyenas slinked around in the long grass, looking menacing. We crested a rise, and two lionesses were just off the track, focussed on a group of buffalo. They blended in perfectly with the grass and moved stealthily. With more ground to cover, we left them to it.

 

Leaving the Ngorongoro, we bumped and shook along the road to Serengeti National Park. Wide-open plains had us wondering if we would see any wildlife, as the area is vast. But after 5 minutes of entering the park, we spotted two more lions. Two became three which became four, and when a half-eaten leg was seen sticking up through the grass, it was clear we had come across the site of a recent kill. A pile of feathers nearby told us an ostrich had been the unlucky catch. It is disconcerting when a lion with a bloody face stares at you from not so far away. Content with their meal, they all lay down in the sun and slept, and we moved on.

 

So our adventure continues. Tonight we are staying in a tented camp in the Serengeti amongst this amazing habitat. Tomorrow we have another full day of safari. Let’s see what is in store for us.

 

Today’s Swahili:  Lion – Simba — Buffalo – Nyati

A lioness blending into the landscape

A wildebeest poses for the camera

Serengeti plains

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