Thursday, August 14, 2014

2014 Kilimanjaro Challenge...the journey so far.

One month to go!

It has been a while since I updated my readers on our progress.
A lot has happened and we realize that the goal is less than 8 weeks away.

The team has a new member.
Winners Shishenge, Deputy Principle of St Vincent, welcome...
L-R: Winners Shishenge, Bianca Schulte,David Batzofin, Terence Parkin

I found this at St Vincent, and thought that it was rather apt for our Challenge

Our flag is up on the wall at the corner of Oxford Road and Jellicoe Ave,

Our first media conference, held at St Vincent.
It has been a while since I was in a school hall...

Terence on Vuka on ANN7

Awaiting my turn to be interviewed.
Not certain why both the presenter and I look so SERIOUS.

The team dinner at Heia Safari Ranch, the night before our first team training hike

And off we go.
We walked for about four hours covering 11.3km.
A good morning out in Muldersdrift.

On 10 October 2014 the team will stand at Uhuru Peak,
 raising 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:

From training to Uhuru Peak.
The image of me in shorts was taken at 06h00 when the temp was -2C
These images are from my 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!  

A view of "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 

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) 

This is the itinerary for the October, 2014 Challenge...
The Rongai Route
Total hiking distance on this route is about 81km

Sunday 05 October 2014  
Starting point: The Rongai Gate. 1200m
End point: Simba Camp. 1800m
Terrain: Rain Forest
Distance: Approx 8km
Total time: Around 4 hours
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.  
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).

Climbers on the skyline

Monday 06 October 2014  
Starting Point: Camp 1. 2800m
End point: Kikelewa cave camp at 3600m
Terrain: Heathland/Moorland
Distance: Approx 14km
Total time: Around 7 hours
Early in the morning, begin trekking out past the second cave, and on to the third cave.   
The climb today is relatively difficult, taking you through forest and well into the moorland.  
Overnight at Kikelelwa Camp
Tuesday 07 October 2014 
 Start Point: Kikelewa cave camp. 2800m
End point: Mawenzi Tarn Hut at 4330m
Terrain: Alpine desert
Distance: Approx 8km
Total time: Around 7 hours
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  
Start point: Mawenzi Tarn Hut. 4330m
End point: The Kibo Huts. 4695m
Terrain: Alpine desert.
Distance: Approx 8km
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!!  
Starting Point: The Kibo Huts at 4695m
First landmark: Gillman's Point at 5686m
Second landmark: Uhuru Peak: 5895m
End point: The Horombo Huts at 3690m
Terrain: Alpind desert scree slope with ice/snow and glaciers
Distance: Approx 6km
Total distance for the day: Approx 22km
Total walking time: Around 10-15 hours

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 
Start point: The Horombo Huts at 3690m
Final destination: The Marangu Park gate at 1800m
Terrain: Heathland/Moorland and Rain Forest
Distance: Approx 20km
Time: Around 7 hours 
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.
Our Challenge is complete!
Sunday 12 October 2014  
We head back to  Kilimanjaro International Airport,
and our flight home.
With many stories and experiences to share with family and friends. 

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!


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