Kilimanjaro Trip Report September 2011 100% Success to Summit

Saturday, 17 September 2011 00:58
Uhuru Peak Kilimanjaro Uhuru Peak Kilimanjaro Ian O Neill

All team members reach the summit - See reports received to the Expedition Office

If you are interested in climbing Kilimanjaro we have escorted groups in January, June and September plus options throughout the year including or excluding flights from €1900. Also check out our gallery and news page for previous trips.

Trip Reports by: Lorraine Gordon - Team Leader/Guide

Guides: Ian O'Neill & Lorraine Gordon

Good morning Lorraine, back at desk since y/day.
Just a short note to say I found the climb a wonderful experience and to thank you personally for all the support and encouragement during the week and especially your efforts that got me to the top on the night climb.
It is only now when I am home and have time to reflect on the photographs and talk to people the hugh achievement personally and by you and Ian to get the whole group to the Top.
All the Best, Dermot

Post Trek Report: Well, the dust has settled and everyone is back from Safari and Zanzibar. Most of team has been in contact over the past few days and the feedback and comments coming in from everyone has been amazing - Second time round and I can honestly say the experience was as good and even better as my first time being out in Tanzania. Mount Kilimanjaro is often understated in her challange but the rewards reeped in each days trek far outweigh any moments of despair. It's not just the sense of accomplishment as you look back on height gained, or the amazing views, or the experience of the different terrains encountered- these are all part of what makes Mount Kilimanjaro so unique. But it's the people who are with you and that become an integral part of your adventure that each time makes this trek an unforgetable experience. Our support team of 61 lead by head guide Fredrick made our journey not only possible but awe inspiring as they each day set up Camp and cooked and aided us and throughout, were so kind and positive - their smiles and camaraderie at the end of each days trek were welcomed! They work so hard to ensure that everyone's journey is the best it can be and without a moment of hesitation it can be said they were top class! As for the Irish team- what can I say! We had it all  - determination, glamour ('here come the girls..;), laughter, remarkable team work and strength. Everyday everyone worked together to ensure not only their day but the day of those around them went well. We set off as 18 strangers and returned to Moshi as one. On behalf of Irish & Worldwide Adventures, again we say Congratulations to you all! An amazing journey with you one and all

''Thanks so much for organising a fantastic trip for us and for taking such great care of us on the mountain - Best adventure of my life!'' Ciara

''Lorraine & Ian, Just a quick note to thank you both for all your help & organisational skills (& patience) in Tanzania. I had a wonderful time & that's in no small part due to you & the rest of the amazing team in Moshi. Thanks again'' Lisa

''Thank you for every thing you did and how well you looked after us in Africa, Pat and i were really impressed'' Jim

DAY 6 September 22nd: Success all reach the summit

  • The night begins:

  • All the team had little sleep in anticipation of what the night held
  • in store for them. A bright clear nigh,t we started summit bound
  • the feeling of a ghost like march as we donned on our warm
  • clothes and head torch in the dark of the morning to head to the
  • summit. A long and arduous day ahead and all the working
  • together as a team was ready to pay of with a 100% success.

  • Barafu Camp to Summit to Mweka Hut
  • Elevation (ft): 15,300ft to 19,345ft (and down to 10,000ft)
  • Distance: 5 km ascent / 12 km descent
  • Hiking Time: 7-8 hours ascent / 4-6 hours descent
  • Habitat: Arctic

We all let camp in the early hours of the morning, dark and the only sound was the rustling of feet.  The instruction to move upwards was give by Fredrick and the summit attempt began pole pole, the mantra for the night, (slowly slowly) we had 14 hours to go.  We continued our way to the summit between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers, moving in a northwesterly direction ascending through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. By the time we got there we where both mentally and physically exhausted. This is the most challenging portion of the trek. But after a few minutes rest we knew the summit was within reach.

At Stella Point (18,600 ft), we stopped for a short rest and were rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise.

From Stella Point, we made our way on the long slow 1-hour ascent to the summit - Uhuru Peak, the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa. We all look in awa at each other; the summit was achieved by all the team. Tear of joy, sorry and pain came to everyone naturally for all the team the dream of standing on the highest point on the African continent was achieved.  Now the long descent from the summit begins. Team on Summit

From the summit, we now make our descent continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch.

We will update the balance of our journey later.

The team: Ciara O Bien, John Gethings, Keith Sheridan, Myles O Brien, Dermot Scanlon, James Cummins, Patricia Cummins, Lisa Molan, Shane McCabe, David Murray Keane, Mary Murray, Neol Murray, Patrick Murray, Mark Murray, Nigel Heath and the guides Freddy, Francais ,Lorraine, Ian, Douglas, Alfred, Jasper, & Armani.

They are now all descending to Mewka hut campsite with 5 Kitchen staff and 49 porters for a celebration and a good night sleep before returning to Moshi tomorrow and the completion of the trek.

DAY 5 September 21st

  • Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp
  • Elevation (ft): 13,100ft to 15,300ft
  • Distance: 4 km
  • Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
  • Habitat: Alpine Desert

After a healthy breakfast (eggs anyone!) all the team were on the move heading to our head camp Barafu, the spirits high and no altitude sickness yet amongst the hole group due to proper acclimatization on the mountain. All the training at home and in Kerry is paying off. We left Karanga camp site and hit the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail and continue to gain altitude slowly as we slowly ploughed our way uphill as we continued up to the Barafu Hut.

At this point, we have completed the South Circuit. The views of the summit from all around us were fantastic and our hearts ran faster at the thought tonight is the summit. We set up camp at around 1 and had some lunch before walking a little higher to gain altitude before returning to camp to rest for a few hours.

We are now at high camp, resting, enjoying dinner as we prepare for the summit attempt later tonight. As we retire to bed the beauty of our surrounding is awsome, the two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are to be seen from this position.

All the team are feeling fine, the altitude is starting to click in and we are hoping all the team will feel well enough in the middle of the night to make a summit attempt.

Our next despatch will be to let you all know how we get on on our summit push. Cross fingers and a prayer that we all get to the summit and back safely to lower camp tomorrow.

Day 4 September 20th

  • Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp
  • Elevation (ft): 13,000ft to 13,100ft
  • Distance: 5 km
  • Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
  • Habitat: Alpine Desert

Leaving Barranco Camp, we crossed, scrambling, a steep ridge passing the Barranco Wall. An unexpected added bonus for some, the team enjoyed and conquered the challenge and were rewarded at the top of the wall by the vast and beautiful views back down over Barranco. As we crossed the Karanga Valley, it started to rain, only dampening the spirit of the group for a short spell. We are now a well oiled machine! We made our way across a traversing slope to the Karanga Valley Campsite.

Cloud drops with Mt Meru peeping through

After a change and some tea, the clouds suddenly lifted and there was silence as we climbed out of the mess tent to witness a picture that will stay in our minds for a long time to come - the clouds had dropped below Camp and peeping over it's cover in the near distance was Mt Meru. We sat around the site gazing at this backdrop and as we did every night, found a new reason and energy in this to get us through another day!

This is a short day meant for acclimatization. All the team are feeling confident and they are awaiting a big day tomorrow.

 

 

Day 3 September 19th
  • Shira Camp to Lava Tower to Barranco Camp
  • Elevation (ft): 12,500ft to 13,000ft
  • Distance: 15 km
  • Hiking Time: 6 and a hal hours
  • Habitat: Semi Desert

All up bright and early today fantastic views as we made our way from our from Shira Plateau campsite which resembles a semi desert landscape making our way east up a ridge , passing the junction towards the peak of Kibo.

The clouds started to role in by mid morning. All the team continue in good form with little altitude problems. A few of the team had slight headaches. After lunch, we were feeling strong as a team- there was a few moments where it was felt by some that a descend to Camp without visiting the Lava Towers would be a good option. I admire strongly their decision to listen to advise of the team and Freddy and continue in a slow pace, turning South East towards the Lava Tower, called the "Shark's Tooth." By the time we got to the towers, everyone was feeling the benefit of having taken in this extra acclimatisation and the picture is strong in my mind of 17 smiling faces surrounded by the overshadowing tower rock wall. Shortly after the tower,  we continued down to the Barranco Hut at an altitude of 13,000ft where we camped for the night. There we rested, enjoyed dinner, and overnighted. Although you end the day at the same elevation as when you started, this day is very important for acclimatization and will help your body prepare for summit day.

All of the team arrived in camp in good form.

Day 2 September 18th

We awoke to another day and set off upwards toward Camp 2 Shira Camp (3840m) Hiking time: 6h Distance: 9 kms approx Habitat: Moorland

Having left the glades of the rain forest, the team continued on an ascending path, crossing a little valley walking along a steep rocky ridge, covered with heather, until the ridge ends. The route then turned West onto a river gorge at 3,658 meters. After lunch / rest, the team continued up a rocky ridge onto the Shira plateau.

At this stage, in an easterly direction, the Western Breach will be visible with its stunning glaciers, but unfortunately the cloud was down all day.  Due west of Kibo, after a short hike the team reached the Shira campsite. The night at this exposed camp will even be colder than last night, with temperatures dropping to well below freezing. The team are all smiling and the form is good, bring on tomorrow!!

Day 1 September 17th

Team at Machame Gate - Bring it on..

The excitment was building all evening. Early start this morning and we are now passing through Machame Gate- the starting point of our mountain adventure.

The gate was busy with porters gathering themselves to take the personal and communal loads after being weighed.

The team are all in craicing form. Onwards we went for 5hrs trekking with a rainy start, although it is a rainforest after all!!

Before evening approached we setup Machame Camp (2980m) on the fringe of the rainforest just entering the alpine meadows. Good meal and off to bed with the rain heavy again overnight.

 

16th September: Briefing and relaxing

Today was a rest day for the team to recoup from the long journey and to have a full briefing in the morning at the hotel from Fredrick our head guide and our mountain staff for the trek which will start tomorrow. Everyone is in great form but understandably apprehensive of what will lay ahead of them for the coming days, but all the team are in good form and cant wait to get going. The afternoon was spent repacking for the mountain and enjoying the African way of life in Moshi before we leave for Mt Kilimanjaro in the morning1109160022 400x300

15th September: All arrive safely

Everyone had a long tiring journey from Ireland with delays in Amsterdam before continuing onto Tanzania where the team were picked up by Nadir and our local staff at Kilimanjaro International Airport.

The team arrive late in the evening and retired to the comfort of our hotel resort in Moshi for a nice evening meal (and a sampling of 'Kilimanjaro beer') before retiring for the night for a well deserved rest.

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