Friday, October 17, 2014

Kilimanjaro Challenge 2014.My view from the highest point in Africa

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:

Finally, I get to place a boot on the rim of the crater!

Full moon over Kilimanjaro.
Taken between Gilman's Point and Stella Point.
Friday, 10/10/2014
It was the 10th anniversary of my Dad's death.

Sunrise from Stella Point.
I last stood here in 2006.

There are new signs on the mountain.
Every climber wants to be on the summit at sunrise,'
hence the streams of human "traffic".

Looking into the crater.

Bleak and desolate, but beautiful

Another view of the sunrise.

I was glad to see that there are still glaciers on the summit.

And this was the view , then and now.

Like actors in "The Walking Dead"...
this is where climbers have to dig deep
and make that final push to the signboard at Uhuru Peak.
It here that a good guide become invaluable for motivation
and physical support

The wind was blowing a gale and it was colder that my summit in 2006.
Needless to say we took pictures and I left

More glaciers...
Their colours are spectacular

Our adventure is almost complete.
Been there, done that, TWICE...

Trying to hold the flags was NOT easy.
We got to the summit at 07h20

The major achievement was getting deaf  Olympic swimmer Terence Parkin to the summit.
To the best of our knowledge, this feat on Friday 10/10/2014 at 07h20,
makes him the first South African Deaf swimmer to stand at Uhuru Peak.
You proved once again that the Deaf can do anything except hear!
I am certain that your students (and the staff) will be very proud of you
It must be said that his Olympic medal caused him some problems...
Not at the summit, but at both Kigali and Kilimanjaro Airports,
where security took an interest in it and examined it extensively.
Luckily, it was returned to him on both occasions.
I wonder what stories the security personnel told their families.

On the way down

Looking at Kibo Hut...coming "home"...

Looking back up the trail.
It took us 7 hours and 20 minutes to get up.

It took 2 hours to get back down!

We walked the 9km in less than 5 hours.
Every time we were able to "beat" the suggested time, we felt good.

Our final night...
A good omen for our final hike off the mountain?
I thank the mountain gods for allowing my team
and I to walk in great weather every day and to summit in safety.

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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