Friday, October 17, 2014

Kilimanjaro Challenge, 2014. Summit night.

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:

While we were dry in our tents,
this group arrived in 2nd Cave camp.
They must have been walking for several hours in a torrential downpour.
Not easy to get dry in a cramped tent,
meaning they would have set off the following morning damp and cold.
Not a good combination

Even in the rain, these two were scavenging for scraps.
An Alpine Chat and a Streaky Seed-eater forage together

Every night at dinner, Isack would brief on what awaited us on the next leg

Time to say goodnight...

On Everest there is the Khumbu Icefall...
On Kilimanjaro I discovered this ice covered table.

I used sun screen every day and returned,
unlike other team members, with no sunburn

Mountain meditation...

At 4500m.
From L to R:
Roman, Bianca, Winners, Terence and Isack

At Mawenzi Tarn Hut.

From inside our private privy..
The "naughty bits" have been edited out

Home made air-freshener.

Our BEST meal.
I still want to find out how the cook produced chips at altitude!
The chicken was delicious.

There is water at Tarn Hut, but not fresh enough to drink...
or swim in

A selfie...
Something I could not do in 2006.
Most of the pictures were taken with a Canon SX280HS.
I was most impressed with its performance in the cold.
And the battery lasted right to Stella Point.

The Alpine Desert landscape on the way to Kibo Hut

This hat was a lifesaver.
It kept my ears from getting burned.

Summit night(morning?)
It was almost midnight and
I was preparing to leave the warmth (?) of the mess tent.
At this stage it was -3C in camp.

We FINALLY arrive at Gilman's Point! (5681m)
We still had to traverse the crater rim to Stella Point (5756m)
and our final destination, Uhuru Peak.(5895m)
It was around 06h00 and bitterly cold with a biting wind.
Despite what the thermometer on Isack's phone said,
with the windchill it was closer to -20C, than the -12C he quoted.
To see summit images:

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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