Thursday, April 24, 2014

2014 Kilimanjaro Challenge. And so it begins...

2014 Kilimanjaro Challenge.
Starts NOW...

On 10 October 2014 I hope to once again stand at Uhuru Peak,
this time to raise awareness for this school and the work they do.
Educating the deaf started in King William's Town (Eastern Cape) in 1888.
The Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of St Catherine of Siena
 moved their school to a property in Melrose, Johannesburg called "The Haven"
The school was named after St Vincent Ferrer, a 14th century Dominican preacher,
renowned for restoring hearing to the deaf.
The school has been educating deaf children for the past 75 years.
To find out more about the school,
visit their website:

Included in the climbing party will be Terence Parkin,
Knowing him as I do, he WILL be the first South African deaf Olympian to summit.
"Pole, Pole" (Slowly, slowly in Swahili) Terence.
On the mountain your usual "flat-out" speed will NOT be required.

Also joining the core team is Bianca Rogers
from Heia Safari Ranch.

From training to Uhuru Peak.
The image of me in shorts was taken at 06h00 when the temp was -2C

These images are from the 2006 trip.
Although we will be doing a different route from my previous climb,
I imagine that some of the experiences will be similar

I have insisted that the company we are climbing with take a "porta-loo".
Those who have climbed Kilimanjaro, will know that the toilets leave a LOT to be desired! 

This is a Kili ambulance.
Look carefully and you will notice that there is no brake cable. 

A view of "the mountain"... 

I should imaging that our accommodation might look like this 

Morning on the mountain 

The crows on Kilimanjaro are HUGE.
They can be found up to the last camp on each route
as they know that is where the food stops 

Climbers on the skyline 

Part of the group that I climbed with in 2006.
There were 18 members and 16 stood at the summit 

Stella Point.
Time your summit attempt correctly and you will reach this point at sunrise. 

It will be interesting for me to see if these glaciers are still on the summit 

They were truly spectacular 

In 2006 they were melting and instead of the water running down the mountain,
it was evaporating.
Not good for the farmers at the base of the mountain. 

The colours are beautiful 

This is the goal...5895m.
The summit of the highest free standing mountain in the world.
(All the other mountains in the 7 summit challenge are part of a range) 

Scree and ice.
A good name for a Punk band? 

Our last look at the mountain before we headed back to our hotel.

The training has already started!
This is the itinerary for the October, 2014 Challenge...
The Rongai Route

Pre and post climb accommodation will be at either Keys Mbokomo or Keys Uru. 
 Both of these hotels have good views of Mount Kilimanjaro and are classified as modern "tourist" standard hotels.  
They are of medium size, and rooms are all en-suite.  

Sunday 05 October 2014  
After an early breakfast, a senior guide will conduct your climb briefing.   
You will then be driven to Rongai Gate, where you will meet the rest of your guides and porters. 
 After the formalities at the gate have been completed, begin your ascent to the first cave en route. 
 The climb should take approximately 2 to 3 hours.  
This part takes you through the cultivated area of the mountain, where you can see how local farmers tend to their lands on the slopes.  
Overnight at Simba Camp (1,800m).
Monday 06 October 2014  
Early in the morning, begin trekking out past the second cave, and on to the third cave.  
This should take you approximately 6 to 7 hours.  
The climb today is relatively difficult, taking you through forest and well into the moorland.  
Overnight at Kikelelwa Camp (3,800m).
Tuesday 07 October 2014  
This is an acclimatisation day - you will hike further up the mountain, then return to third cave for overnight.
Wednesday 08 October 2014  
Continue ascending to Mawenzi Tam Hut, which should take approximately 7 hours to get to.  Overnight camping at Mawenzi Tam Hut (4,330m).
Thursday 09 October 2014  
Depart to Kibo Hut, which should take you approximately 4 to 5 hours.  
Settle down for an early night camping at Kibo Hut (4,703m). 

Friday 10 October 2014: 
Summit Day!!   
Today you will be heading for the highest point in Africa - Uhuru Peak (5,895m).  
You will be woken around midnight to commence the 5 hour hike,
 on heavy scree up to Gillman's Point (5,686m).  
You will be walking in the dark as the ground is frozen and this makes it easier to ascend this steep section. 
 As you reach the Crater Rim, the sun should be rising to display Africa in all its glory beneath you.  The views are spectacular and it makes the entire journey worth every step!  
Continue another 1 or 2 hours to Uhuru Peak, along the wide paths of the crater rim, peering down onto massive glaciers shining in the morning sun.  
Arriving at Uhuru can be quite emotional, with the strain of the summit finally behind you and Africa surrounding you!  
After a few photographs at the summit, begin your steady descent to Kibo Hut for a rest and some nourishment, then continue to Horombo Hut to camp for overnight.
Saturday 11 October 2014  
After breakfast, descend to Marangu Gate.  
You will be transferred to Keys Hotel for a well-needed shower and an evening of celebration by the swimming pool. 
 Overnight at Keys Hotel on a bed and full English breakfast basis.
Sunday 12 October 2014  
Your tour ends today after breakfast and you will be transferred from Keys Hotel to Kilimanjaro Airport.  

Make it to the summit and you to will get one of these certificates. 

In 2006, I climbed with this Johannesburg based company.
This year, I will be climbing with them again.
Is Kilimanjaro on your "bucket list"?
There are still a few places on the "team"
If you would like to join the expedition. email me for the dates and costs.

Once again, all being well, the Radio Today flag will flutter at Uhuru Peak.
And this time it will be joined by several others!

Stay tuned to my " Travel & Things " radio show as we build up towards the expedition.
The show airs on a Saturday between 09h00 and 10h00 (South African time)
The show is rebroadcast on a Wednesday between 19h00 and 20h00 
1485am broadcasts live from its Johannesburg studio
and nationally on DStv audio channel 869.
Radio Today (@Radio2Day) also streams via its website:
AND on cell phones:
All the podcasts can be found via this link:
So you have no excuse!

To be announced soon...



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Monday, April 21, 2014

Spoiler alert...The 5km Jozi Night Race trail run

What these maps don't show you...
The organizers would like you to believe that the course replicates these maps.
But there are areas of the course that I believe runners should be aware of.
If YOU don't want to know what might lie in store for you...
Then don't read any further.
HOWEVER, If Darren Herbst feels like it, the course might change.
This route spoiler is based on my running the current course several times
and finding mud at the same points every time.
I cannot change the hills, but they are part of what makes trail running fun

The start as seen by the runners...

And an incline to start with.
A lot of the novice runners start to fast
 and they usually get caught and passed very quickly.
Even though it is only 5km...pace yourself.
You want to finish STRONG

Through the car park...
Take care and look out for cyclists getting ready for their 10 and 20km events

NOT time for food yet...
Runners follow the green route markers

It might not be The Yellow Brick Road and Oz might not be at the end
however a medal awaits all finishers.
You might get to glimpse this in the  fading light...
Enjoy looking at the picture because this is where most of the mud "lurks"

The first obstacle...
It has been here on every run that I have done and will probably remain here

The second...
No way around...pick your way through carefully

The third...
Even more messy than the previous one.
Number 2 and 3 are back to back.
Take it easy here and you can make up the minutes later in the run.
You do not want to slip and fall so close to the start

The first forest section is full of switchbacks and tight turns...
And then there is this obstacle to get up and over.

Grab this tree with your left hand and it will help you negotiate this tight turn

On the last night race, this floating bridge was NOT included.
If it is, there is a "chicken run" but that means that you have to tackle the mud again
Time wise there is not much to be gained by using the bridge,
and there is the possibility of falling in

Animals have right of way...

The second forest section is very steep with LOTS of very tight climbs and descents
Take care as there is still a long way to go

There is a water point half way up this incline
And that helps to break this into two parts.
Short and sharp...

Some parts of the course have cut grass on them.
It is slippery and will be damp...
So carefully does it.
You can choose to run either side of the track

If it has not been raining, 
then this is the last mud that you will encounter.
You can negotiate this on the left hand side
From here it is head down and finish-line bound

This final "forest" area can be very tricky if wet.
If it is dry, be careful where you put your feet.
You don't want to twist an ankle here

This climb comes at exactly the wrong part of the course.
It has taken me several attempts to "make friends" with this incline.
If you can do it and not stop at the top for a breather...BONUS.

From this point to the finish line is a few hundred meters.
Enjoy the last part of the run...
You have EARNED your medal!

Photo: Yay - It's Friday and it Jozi Night Series time!
See you at the park - Come early…
Friday 25/04/2014 is the next event in this series...
I hope to be there to run the 5km trail run...still trying to get close to 30 minutes.
As long as the distance is not changed...again!

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