Post Trek Report: Gerry Reidy
We returned home on 14th October from our climb on Kilimanjaro, all the group feeling 20,000ft tall having summited the mountain and eager to head home to share our achievement with family and friends ... brag a little even.
Our club AGM was on last night so all 14 of us met up again, we looked at our photos, chatted and laughed about the trip, and shared our stories with fellow club members. Despite the fact that we did have bad weather and the going was tough, we all agreed it was a trip of a life time, the achievement and success of the group was brilliant.
All 14 of us are members of the Ballyvaughan Fanore Walking Club so knowing each other before we left home (or we thought we did ... snoring??) was a hugh bonus, team work kicked in straight away, the laughs and banter were good, some nights the banter in the mess tent was not for the meek.
Mr Fredy our head guide, together with his 51 member support team got to know us all very quickly and soon had sussed our strengths and weaknesses (mice with stripes), their help each day and welcome back to camp at the end of a treck was brilliant.
Both Fredy and his team were so helpful and kind to all of us and knowing that Fredy was on his 178th climb to the summit was very reassuring to us. Yes the climb was tough but the trip was amazing, memories forever.
Thank you Lorraine and Pat for all the guidance and advice you shared with us before our trip, so until our next adventure we say cheerio from Gerry & the Ballyvaughan Fanore Walking Club mountaineers.
Day 7 October 12th Millenium Camp - Mweka Gate - Base Hotel Moshi
14:24 (16:26 Irish time) Team back at Base Hotel ready to Celebrate a Successful Adventure
'Jambo from Moshi.
Today we left the mountain. After reaching Millenium Camp last night, we were set for sleep. Well rested, we woke this morning to say goodbye to all our support team. They left us with many fond memories and on departing, sang the Kilimanjaro song for us.
Back at Base, we are all now looking forward to tonight's celebratory dinner. We will be 20 in total with Fredy and five of our support team coning in to join us. Everybody's feeling great. It's been a great week. Thank you for all your support.
Tonight we celebrate - Fredy will present team with certs of successful summit to Uhuru Peak and tommorrow, we have a day to rest before our evening flight. It's been a wonderful adventure. Talk to you Friday from Cork. Hi to everyone See ye all soon' (Gerry)
Enjoy your night guys, you deserve it. And again, CONGRATULATIONS Safe travels
Day 6 October 11th Barafu Camp - Stella Point - Uhuru Peak - Barafu Camp - Millenium Camp
10:44 (08:44 Irish time) 100% Summit Success Fantastic news just in!
''Morning from Uhuru Peak where all 14 members of the Ballyvaughan Fanore Walking Club now stand! We all made it, safe to the top and now we are on our way back down.
The climb up was pretty tough. The weather went against us again- we had sleet, winds and temperatures dropped to -15. We all worked together and we all got here. Great support from Fredy and the boys.
All the team say a big hello to their families, that's Gerry Reidy, Mary O Brien, Brendan Linnane, Fiona Ni Lionnain, Gerard Kerwin, Kieran Lynch, Eillen Queally, Bernadette McNamee, Bernadette Barry, Mary Clarke, Joseph Lillis, Concepta Lillis, Michael Healy, Sara Hogan' (Mary)
Congratulations Guys! You's did it. Look forward to hearing more from you all over the coming 24hrs.
Messages of congratulations and well wishes for a safe descent are flying in for the team on route to Mweka but Joan Leigh, a walker from Ballyvaughan Fanore Walking Club who was out with us in January 2011 on Mount Kilimanjaro, has her own message she wishes to pass on 'Stop moaning and get on with it' best wishes Joan xx (It would take you Joan ha!)
14:45 (12:45 Irish time) Back at Barafu Camp and enjoying a much deserved rest before lunch, a call from Mary confirms that the team had a very long and enduring summit attempt with the weather taking a turn for the worst not long after their trek began. 'But everyone was determined and strong and it was a great achievement for us all to stand there on Uhuru Peak together and celebrate our journey and summit success'
The team were to descend later today to Mweka Camp but as their night was long, a decision was made to stay at a closer Camp, Millenium Camp, that is located on the Mweka route but a shorter distance from Barafu. 'Right now we are all exhausted. We can't see from where we will get energy to make our way any further but after lunch and a brief rest, I am sure we will get our second wind'
I know how after the adrenaline rush of the summit night, when you reach Barafu, your body just wants to crash, literally. But I also know how much better you feel as you descend out of high altitude and most importantly, the lowering in altitude will provide the best sleep since going on the mountain. I don't know if the weather will allow the team to catch glimpses of Mount Kilimanjaro's summit tonight as they rest at Camp but if it does, I know they will be looking back in awe at what they have just achieved. And they should! Well done again guys!!
Day 5 October 10th Karanga Camp - Barafu (Base) Camp
22:47 (20:47 Irish time) Summit Attempt set to begin. Mary gave a quick call as the team carried out final preparations for the night ahead 'We are all geared up and having tea, coffee and hot chocolate in the mess tent. Fredy will lead us on our summit push tonight and the team are feeling good and looking forward to sunrise! Talk to you from the top'
The team were put to the test today as they left Karanga Camp. The weather during the night was wet and as today's trek began, the showers turned to hail and then snow as they moved higher to Barafu Camp.
A call earlier from Gerry reported that a very wet team had all arrived safe to Base Camp and were met by a very welcome warm lunch. 'No waterproofs would have protected us from the conditions we experienced today. We are soaked through and right now, the team are all going through what dry gear they have left to ensure we have adequate layers to get us through the night. We await an update on expected weather conditions at dinner. First, we need to rest. Happy to report that despite the weather, everyone is feeling well and delighted to be here'
The gods were listening to the team's prayers and when Mary rang, the conditions had much improved and the team were to set off into a calm, dry night with a full moon to aid them on their night hike.
We await the teams update eagerly and throughout the night, our thoughts and prayers will be with Gerry Reidy, Mary McNamara, Brendan Linnane, Fiona Ni Lionnain, Gerard Kerwin, Kieran Lynch, Ellen Queally, Bernadette McNamee, Bernadette Barry, Mary Clarke, Joseph Lillis, Concepta Lillis, Michael Healy, Sara Hogan and of course all the support team and guides for a safe and wonderful climb.
Mei miungu mlima kuwalinda wote salama na kuwa na wewe katika kila hatua ya safari yako - Freddy, I hope I have remembered your teachings correctly as I attempt in Swahili to say "May the mountain gods keep you all safe and be with you in each step of your journey."
Day 4 October 09th Barranco Camp - Karanga Camp
16:40 (14:40 Irish time) Gerry rang in with the latest report 'Hello from Karanga Camp. This morning was a real challenge as we set off from camp on the Barranco wall. Everyone enjoyed the scrambe as we made our way up the steep rock face. When we got to the top of the wall, the cloud dropped and the temperature with it. As the day progressed, the effects of altitude that the team had been feeling from yesterday disappeared and now everyone is feeling really good and full of antcipation and questions about what tommorrow has in store for us.
After dinner, we will take in an acclimatisation walk and get some much needed rest in preparation for tommorrow and our imminent summit push tommorrow night. I will check in when we reach Barafu Camp and then, we can plan our communications to keep you up to date on our progress throughout the night. Over and out on Day 4 of what so far has been an amazing trek for us all'
Day 3 October 08th Shira Camp - Barranco Camp
19:10 (17:10 Irish time) A message came through from our Kilimanjaro team 'Good Evening Lorraine how are ye doing? Leaving you the blog for the day.
Up bright and early to a frosty morning with temperatures dropping to -5 degrees during the night. All were in good form leaving the Camp at 08.30 this morning with Mr Freddy, Alfred & Armani. We climbed through the alpine desert, making our way to the Lava Towers at 4600m. As we neared the towers, the banter got noticeably quiter and concentration and anticipation took over. All of the group are now experiencing the air forcing effects of altitude as we expected.
Now at Barranco Camp and heading for a good nights rest before we set off tomorrow onto the Barranco Wall.
Mary and all the group say hello to everyone at home. Talk to you tommorrow, Bye Bye for now' (Gerry)
Day 2 October 07th Machame Camp - Shira Camp
17:32 (15:32 Irish time) 'What a day! It's been amazing. We left camp this morning and got some amazing views of the Western Breach as we crossed out of rainforest onto the Shira Plateau.
Our trek up the ridge into the moorland was steep in places and with the occasional scramble, we really saw the team pull together and support each other, without hesitation.
We were trekking for 6 hrs but that didn't stop us taking a wander around camp when we got in to explore the caves where 15 years ago, trekkers would camp, before the Mountain became busy. The clouds are passing but they are not stopping us having some great views of Shira Needle, Shira Cathedral and East Shira hill to our west.
Freddy and team are doing a great job. We are all delighted with the food and Mary is using the power of imagination to create the ambiance of a Radisson toilet while using the local facilities! About the team, I can't say anymore than everyone is happy, in good spirits and looking forwrd to a bit of grub and the banter.
The camp is exposed and Freddy has told us temperatures may drop below zero during the night so we are just getting everything sorted for the morning before dinner so afterwards, we will be set to jump into our bags. Hello to everyone at home and will ring with next update tommorrow evening' Gerry
Day 1 October 06th Moshi - Machame Gate - Machame Camp
19:17 (17:17 Irish time) 'Hello Guys. We have had a very good start to our trek. This morning we were picked up by Fredie and after sorting our gear at weigh in, we left on the hour's drive to Machame Gate.
After the paperwork and stopping to pose for a few photos, we were guidied by Armani through the rain forest. We stopped around 3pm for lunch at the Radisson outroom, and even got to see some monkeys.
We are now at Machame Camp waiting for our roast beef and horseradish pudding! Everyone's in great form and we even managed to fight back the clouds that were threatening all day. Everything's looking rosy and all that's left for now is to say that we are all really looking forward to tommorrow. Signing out for now' Gerry
October 05th Cultural Tours & Briefing on Rest Day
'Today was a fabulous day enjoyed by all. Three of gang opted for visit to coffee plantations while rest of us headed to Arusha National Park for a days Safari. It was amazing. Everyone was really taken by tours and the added bonus of fine weather allowed us to get some magnificent views of Mount Kilimanjaro. It was great to see her in all her glory- the team is buzzing with enthusiam even more so about the climb ahead.
We have just finished our briefing with Fredrick and Nadir and everyone is gone to do final gear check. We will be picked up here at 09.30 and after our bags have been weighed in, we will head for Machame Gate.
The weather for the coming week is promising good but regardless, we are feeling ready and cannot wait to set foot to trail for tommorrow's 5-6 hour trek through the rainforest. Everyone is rested, happy, & excited- just waiting for the sun to rise now. Hi from Mary here with me'
Jambo Mary & Team Asante Gerry..Till tommorrow
October 04th Team arrive in Moshi
The hills of Clare will be quite for the next 11 days with the members of the Ballyvaughan Fanore Walking Club presently sitting around the patio area of their Base Hotel in Moshi, Tanzania. In the small hours of this morning, the team left Ireland and after their day of travelling. Gerry Reidy (Team Leader) checks in with the Expedition Office.
'Hello from Moshi! We arrived a half hour ago after a day of flying without any delays. When we arrived at Kilimanjaro International Airport, we were met by Nadir and Fayida and now that everyone has dropped their bags to their rooms, we are all relaxing and in top form.
It is beautiful here. We are now going through cultural tour options for tommorrow and are weighing towards the Masai tour. After we return, we will meet with our Head Guide Mr Freddy for a briefing.
Mary says hi ('Jambo Mary') and with that, I will say Good Night- I will give you a call along the way tommorrow'