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++ JUST ADDED - see our gallery for photos of the trip.
24th Jan Ireland to Africa
25th Jan Rest Day in Moshi
26th Jan Day 1 Machame Gate- Machame Camp
27th Jan Day 2 Machame Camp- Shira Camp
28th Jan Day 3 Shira Camp- Lava Towers- Baranco Camp
29th Jan Day 4 Baranco Camp- Karanga Camp
30th Jan Day 5 Karanga Camp- Barafu Camp
31st Jan Day 6 Barafu Camp- Summit- Millennium Camp
01st Jan Millennium Camp- Mweka Gate- Moshi Now back at base hotel, showered and enjoying lunch in Moshi, the team are in great spirits. Niall rang to tell us a bit more about their Summit night. 'The temperture dropped to below -20 and the cross winds were cutting. We progressed well and when the sun rose, we were well on way to Stella Point and the views were amazing. On reaching Stella Point, the crater rim, just 100m from Uhuru, Paddy & Mark decided to wait there for the team as bad coughs had taken a toll on their energy. After a tough night, it was great to feel the sun's warmth as we made the last slog to Uhuru. After a few photo's and celebrations, we began descent- each at their own pace, down the loose scree that often determined our speed! After lunch and a brief rest at Barafu, we made our way to Millennium Camp. At the lower altitude, sleep wasn't long coming to the team, but not after our mountain celebratory dinner. Before we left Camp this morning, we shared our thanks to our wonderful support team and they left us with great memories, sending us off on the notes of the Kilimanjaro song! Tonight, some of our support team will join us for a celebratory dinner here at the hotel. Looking forward to it' report from Niall Foley
Advice- Have a great night, you guys deserve it!! Congrat's again from all the team here in the office!
31st Jan Barafu Camp- Stella Point- Uhuru Peak(Summit)- Millennium Camp 09:54 Irish time 'We are back at Barafu'
After a challenging night with prevailing high winds, the team are all tired but well and enjoying a rest and lunch before continuing their descent to Millennium Camp later today. As we wait to hear further details, we are delighted and very proud of the teams amazing strength that saw 10 on Uhuru Peak and 2 at crater rim, Stella Point.
Congratulations to you all on your great success...
30th Jan Karanga Camp - Barafu Camp 10:22 Irish time- the team have made Barafu Camp! After lunch, the team set to their tents at Barafu to rest. After dinner, they will stay a few more hours to organise their Summit gear and hopefully, rest a little more!
The Team: In a few hours, Niall Foley, Paddy Purcell, Kevin Hannon, Mark Foley, Ita Kirwan, Tom Gallery, Jerry Garvey, Liam O Sullivan, John Carey, Niall Curley, Kieran Foley & Mitch Mellor will leave their Kilimanjaro Base Camp and set off for their through the night Summit attempt. Join us in wishing them all a safe & wonderful climb!!
29th Jan Baranco Camp - Karanga Camp 15:28 Irish time - A text from Niall confirms that all the team are now safely and healthly at Karanga Camp! 'All good. Some headaches and lack of sleep but great form now after a nap, happiest group in Camp by far!'
Now rest guys, tomorrow's a big day (in case ye forgot...) ''Hongera'' to you all for getting this far!!
Report from Niall Foley 'With a good night sleep, although for some mostly rest, we rose to stunning weather and views. After an afternoon of dusty mist, we arrived to Karanga around 3.00pm local time. Yesterday our steep climb up from Baranco Wall was exhilirating in the shadow of the mighty Kibo, with some scrambling along the way.
The toilet here wasn't bad considering, but probably due to the cold preventing the smell. Our staff are all fantastic and we were treated to freshly made pizza and chips for lunch. Last night, we were again the soul of the camp with our porters laughing and talking while we ate dinner followed by a sing song started by Mark, which lifted us before bed.
Check out Mark Foley's Page on mycharity.ie as he is raising funds for CF, and well done to Liam O'Sullivan who is raising for Asthma Society of Ireland.
It's looking very good for this our final trek before we head off tonight for the summit at midnight. A short day today climbing 600m (3-4hrs) to Barafu Camp above the saddle to the right of the photo. Hi to everyone who is following us we hope you are enjoying this as much as we all are. Tomorrow we summit at 7-8am local time (10-11am Irish time) - bring it on!!
28th Jan Shira Camp - Lava Towers - Barranco Camp 'After a restless sleep at Shira Camp, especially for those who choose to stay up playing cards, we compared dreams at breakfast and headed off toward Kili, which was a few kms to the South. The morning was stunning and frosty with bright sunshine glaring down on our covered skin, eliminating any chances of sunstroke for our longest day ahead. With Paddy in the lead, we paced slowly up through barren alpine meadows, strewn with boulders and various flora. Some sweets were passed around at a water break as we were overtaken again by some of the other teams from Canada, Austria, America, France, Latvia and Israel. Temperatures were now down due to the breeze and open ground as we approached 4000m.
The terrain became more volcanic with formations of porous rock twice our height at times. Freddy informed us that 37,000 people entered Kilimanjaro National Park last year, most trying for the summit, a stunning statstic. Our front guide Babu Alfred was steering us now up past the Lemosho Barranco crossroads and our lunch was now on our minds. Chips were gladly devoured by most! The final slog up toward Lava Tower was testing but all 12 pulled it out of themselves for the last 300m. There were shouts of excitement as we gathered under misty tower, our highest point to date 4600m and until the looming Summit day in 3 days time.
The cloud was hampering photos so down the valley we walked, gathering a little pace. We descended through fantastic glacier runoff valleys and moraines and finally large layers of old volcanic flow from the start of the Western Breach.
Our energy was low arriving to Baranco Camp but what an amazing location under the towering Kilimanjaro and views down to Moshi, especially as darkness fell. Niall Curley celebrated his birthday and the cook made a cake to celebrate with all porters singing happy birthday. Seamus our waiter was now answereing to his new name, James. The night was an early one. Paddy versed some poems by Robert Service and only 3 games of cards tonight. Hakuna Matata as the stunning Western Breach towers over us lit by a quarter moon and millions of stars!!
27th Jan Team break for Lunch at 3600m (10:46 Irish Time) Picture received from Niall of the team at 3600m stopping for a much deserved lunch, before continuing to todays home for the night- Shira Camp. At 3600m, it is normal to hear that altitude is being felt by some members of the team- slight headaches being the main complaint.
A nice start to Day 2, scurrying up the narrow winding track into the heath of tall heathers, mixed with rock. The pathway was strewn busy with porters moving up ahead of us some with African music blaring out of radios attached to their loads.
The ground was a lot steeper and the pace had to be set nicely after about 15 minutes to avoid strain. During the morning, around 10.30am, we got stunning views of Mt Meru and Kili herself shortly after, to much excitement and photos.
Liam, Mitch and Kieran went looking across toward a stunning view of Kili, off the trail a little. At around noon, our slog was opening up onto moorlands (with our first rodent spotted on the trail).
Lunch was ready for us, laid out on a table in a bowl like plateau on top of the ridge we followed. There were several other groups there also of mixed size and nationality, although our being the largest. Tea and Pasta for lunch before heading up slowly, across dry river beds and some corners, one toward the end with a little scramble. The stunning views over the plains and rainforest were breathtaking!!
On arrival to Shira camp (3850m) our tents were up, most of us needing the sit down to rest after a tough but enjoyable day. Later some cards were played in the mess tent before we headed to see the caves used by previous porters before tents. Frederic told us some stories of their history and we all headed back for chicken and rice at dinner. More cards followed but an early night for most.
26th Jan Moshi- Machame Gate (Let the trek begin..) 'Weather 34c. With a nice last supper last night, the excitement was mounting. We finished our walk and shop in Moshi and were all back for dark, some since after lunch. Ita braved the pool, Kevin chased some butterflies, Mark was reading while the rest were having a rest or prepping gear. We ate at 8pm and had a good auld laugh before the power went out leaving stunning starry skies above. Night temp was a bit down and power was gone all night. We all sorted our gear after breakfast, checked out and said 'Assante' to the Keys hotel for 6 nights. The craic at the office was mighty in Moshi with food being loaded to our bus and street sellers not getting an easy sale out of John, Paddy, Jerry & Tom, with the rest looking on. So Machame Gate is our next stop and off through the rainforest in the afternoon. All can't wait to get walking. Everyone is in great form :)' Report from Niall Foley
Machame Camp (15:34 Irish Time) 'Jambo (shouts Niall) All settling into Machame Camp. Everyone's well. Nice pace today. No rain, just a little now as we start our first dinner on Mount Kilimanjaro! Freddy & his son are with us. Great Craic. Talk tomorrow!' report from Niall Foley.
Team Member Mark Foley's blog on Day 1 'The wait is finally over. 12 eager beavers from Ireland arrived at Machame Gate at 11.30. The sense of anticipation was palpable as everyone was raring to go. After about 2 hours at the Gate, we took off 'polepole' into the most beautiful rainforest. The team stuck together with great chat and relief that the real journey had begun. We were passed, time and time again by porters carrying loads of stuff on their backs and, yes their heads!
Ascending 1200m over 13km, the team found it to be a great first day getting used to the mountain and the pace, albeit with no views. Guide Niall saw a black bird with bright blood red wings through an opening later described by local head guide Fredrick as a 'turac'. The sounds amongst the deep heavy growth were intriguing. The cooks put on a fantastic spread at Machame- fresh fish, veggies and home cooked chips. Best food yet in Africa!
Paddy entralled us with his description of drilling and how his company were involved in the Chilean miners rescue. The usual high brow conversation about flatulence and often such vital matters of interest ensued. Animals encountered today were an invasion of moths and a group of other trekkers, intent on reaching the top before us, from the continent no doubt!! Various bouts of sleeping success from 4 hours to zero, with sounds heard during the night including chronic snoring, flatulence, various animals, pots banging and radio Tanzania.
25th Jan Team enjoy Rest Day in Moshi 'All good. We are just in the Union Cafe now for an African brunch. Everyone is good and healthy. Team are buying last few bits and all final arrangments are now in place. Excitement looming for the morning. Weather is 32c sunny. Mountain has some clouds on it at times so expecting some rain for trek Days 1-3. Airport yesterday was very windy and dust everywhere. The electricity went in the airport for a minute reminding us we are in Africa!! Hope you are all well' Report from Niall Foley
24th Jan Ireland - Africa The team departed from Dublin & Cork 6.00am this morning and now, the 12 are in the air, all set for Kilimanjaro International Airport.
Team Leader: Niall Foley checked in from Amsterdam to let us know 'all good & ready to board' Further updates will be posted as received. Safe travels Guys..