Friday, October 17, 2014

Kilimanjaro Challenge, 2014. Hike to Kibo Hut and wildlife...

On 10 October 2014 the team stood 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:

Unlike me who needs the comfort of not one, but two mattresses,
the porters can sleep anywhere.
I suppose that if I was carrying 20kg per day for 7 days,
I too would sleep ANYWHERE!

There is a constant ebb and flow of both climbers and porters on the various routes.
The latter are easier to identify by the speed at which they traverse the terrain.

This was probably one of the saddest sights.
The wreakage of this plane was strewn across the landscape
on the way to our base camp at Kibo Hut.
The accident took place on 8 November, 2008.
Four passengers were killed, but miraculously the pilot survived.
This is the official report:

This is the route we will be following to Gilman's Point.

Base camp, Kibo Hut.
This was the toughest day for me as the terrain is flat
and we could see the camp for most of the 5 hours that we walked.
It just never seemed to get any closer.
Personally, I believe that the camp is on wheels
and the porters move it slowly upwards as we approached.
Our climb to 4500m the day before helped,
 as we only deal with 200m in altitude.
This camp is at 4720m
Meaning that on the final summit attempt we will have to climb 1175m in 6kms.

This was the signboard that EVENTUALLY greeted us.
The actual summit day can be found in this posting:

A Kili "ambulance"...
Luckily none of the team needed it

This rather attractive Alpine hut is actually a toilet.

The way home...
We had 19km to cover and we did it in around 5 hours.
"Time to get the f%^k off the mountain",
seemed to be general sentiment of ALL the climbers that we found along the way

Halfway point on the descent.
Day visitors to the mountain are able to walk to this camp before having to return to the gate.
It is a good 6-7 hour round trip

I did see more wildlife on this trip.
This, to the best of my knowledge, is an Alpine Chat

A 4-striped grass mouse that we found in vast quantities at the higher altitudes

A streaky seed eater

At Mandara Camp we found a whole troupe of these
beautiful Black and White Colobus monkeys

Looking like Marmosets in fur coats...
Part of a group of Blue Monkeys that took an interest in our group

There is still running water on the mountain.
A good sign seeing that it was very dry while we were there.

Taken from the window of our flight home.

This is the itinerary for the October, 2014 Challenge...

The Rongai Route
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 acclimatization 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. 
 Overnight at Keys Hotel 
Sunday 12 October 2014  
Your tour ends today after breakfast and you will be transferred from Keys Hotel to Kilimanjaro Airport.


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