#12 January 21st, 2002. Arusha, Tanzania Hello, this
is the Kilimanjaro Expedition, it's the 21st of January,
2002. We had a successful safari in Tarangire
yesterday, we saw quite a few animals.... Click
here for the full Dispatch
to our Winter 2002 cybercast of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the
highest point in Africa and one of the Seven
Summits. Follow Jim Williams, Tobias
the Alpine Ascents
International teams on their adventures, as they
phone in periodic dispatches highlighting the days events
and keep us updated on their progress. We wish the
teams the best of luck and look forward to following their
Crowned by eternal snows,
the mighty Kilimanjaro (19,340ft) is the highest
free-standing mountain in the world and dominates its
landscape unlike any other mountain. Located in Tanzania,
this extinct volcano looms over five eco-systems and large
game reserves and is certainly one of the world's most
impressive sights. The terrain is nothing short of
dramatic. As a mountaineering company, we treat this
adventure as a mountain climbing expedition.
As one of the most fascinating and diverse regions on
earth, Kilimanjaro has attracted both climbers and nature
enthusiasts with its magnetism. The ascent up this great
peak is non-technical by nature and it affords a full
mountaineering experience (with all the rigors and
rewards) for those in strong physical condition. Over the
past ten years, Alpine Ascents
emerged as a leader in guiding Kilimanjaro, applying
expertise from other formidable mountains to the wilds of
Africa. We consider the Kilimanjaro climb and safari
expedition to be one of the most appealing and treasured
adventure experiences we offer. The mountain can be
underestimated and death can occur, like any climb.
ITINERARY The climb begin and end via
flights to Nairobi, Kenya. It is also possible to fly
directly to Kilimanjaro International Airport.
Day 1: Depart USA for Nairobi, Kenya.
Day 2: In transit via Europe.
Day 3: Arrive Nairobi in early am. Airport pick
up and shuttle to 4-star hotel in Nairobi. Those opting to
arrive in Arusha directly should also arrive on this day.
Day 4: Private shuttle pick up at Nairobi hotel.
Shuttle to Arusha, Tanzania. Final gear check.
Day 5: After registering with the park service,
we meet our porters. Porters are an integral part of our
African journey. They become friends and provide insight
into African culture and society. Their warm and energetic
nature is a wonderful aspect of the expedition. We travel
by jeep to the Machame trail head. The drive winds through
cultivated coffee fields and small forests of ferns and
flowers. Our climb begins on the edge of a rain forest
(elevation 6,000ft). Below the watchful eyes of the
monkeys, we trek four-five hours to the Machame Camp
(9,000ft) and set camp for the night.
Days 6: Leave the Machame Hut, cross a
small valley and begin our ascent. The environment changes
from heath forest to moor lands. These moor lands are
littered with two species of giant groundsel, Senecios and
Lobelia. Halfway up the trail we meet a river gorge and
descend slightly to the Shira Plateau (12,300ft). We spend
the night at the Shira Camp, allowing plenty of time to
properly acclimatize and explore the surrounding areas.
Day 7: Today is a short day in terms of
distance but a critical building block for our
acclimatization. We climb to about 15,000ft. while
crossing a ridge, with expansive views of the plains far
below. Here we have lunch and admire the ancient glacier
ice of the Breach Wall before dropping to our 12,800ft.
campsite at Great Barranco.
Day 8: This short day is also very important for
our continuing acclimatization. We climb up and over the
Great Barranco, topping out at about 14,500 ft. before
once again dropping to our camp (Karanga River at
12,800ft.) and lunch. This day we pass below the famous
Breach Wall on our left, the largest ice and rock face in
Africa. The Breach Wall is famous for its climbing route,
known as “The Icicle”, first climbed in the early
1970’s by Reinhold Messner. To our left lies the endless
horizon of the African plains. Daytime temperatures are
quite warm (80°F), while evening temperatures often drop
Day 9: From the Karanga River we climb almost
3,000ft. to our high camp at Cosolo (15,700ft.) which
takes approximately five - six hours. As we wind through
beautiful and rarely traveled regions, we enter a high
desert plateau, littered with volcanic boulders. Looking
south we view the desert plains as the pinnacles of
Mowenzi peak tower before us. At Barafu hut we make
preparations for the summit attempt. While our porters
prepare the food, we spend our time packing and preparing
for the next day's 2:00am departure.
Day 10: Summit day! Awake at midnight and
prepare gear for the ascent. We begin the climb wearing
head lamps until the pre-dawn light is reflected off the
African plains. Following a distinct ridge we approach the
crater's rim, then traverse northwest along the rim to the
main summit, Uhuru Peak (19,340ft). From here we can view
the Bismarck Towers, rock pinnacles along the crater's rim
and the hanging Rebman Glaciers.
As the sun rises over Africa, we are privy to a
panorama of incredible views. To the north stands Mt.
Kenya (17,056ft/5199m) with its unique twin summits. This
is the second highest mountain on the continent. The
southern exposure reveals the sprawling plains of Tanzania
and East Africa and Mowenzi Peak.
After enjoying the view from the top, we descend to
Cosolo, pack camp, and begin our traverse down the Mweka
route on the southern side of the mountain, setting camp
at the Mweka Campsite. The sunrises are exquisite as we
awaken below the towering mountain.
Day 11: We descend through the lush green
landscape of the Mweka route into the thickest jungle we
have yet encountered. The environment becomes primordial,
with 20 foot-tall fern trees creating a prehistoric
atmosphere. After reaching Mweka Gate we drive to Arusha.
Day 12: Begin the safari to the Ngorongoro
Crater, one of the worlds most incredible natural wonders.
Here we will encounter herds of zebra, antelope, buffalo,
elephant, rhino, cheetah and hippo. As we drive through
the crater we pass members of the Masai tribe, (The Masai
travel in pairs or solo, carrying long spears for
protection.), nomadic herders of the region. We will have
the opportunity to visit the Masai village in which we
observe tribal dance and local lifestyles.
Day 13: We continue to explore the nature and
wildlife of the crater. In the early afternoon we travel
to Tarangire National Park via Lake Manyara. We safari
through Lake Manyara and observe the land of antelopes,
baboons and gazelles as they are stalked by lions,
cheetahs and hyenas. Lake Manyara is world renown for its
ornithology and vast game reserves. From Lake Manyara we
travel to the Tarangire River. This beautiful valley
overlooks African grassland, sprinkled with acacia and
baobab trees. This area is known for its variety of large
Day 14: We continue a full day of safari through
Tarangire on the way back to Arusha. After some last
minute shopping, we return to our hotel and a farewell
dinner in Arusha.
Day 15: Morning in Arusha and depart via private
shuttle to Nairobi airport. Depart Nairobi for Europe and
Day 16: Arrive USA.