Thursday, 16 August 2012 08:43

Kilimanjaro August Group ready to go

August 30th 2012

Today the sunrise as I approach Ngorongoro Crater on the top of the Rift Valley.

patfalvey_ngorongorosunrise_aug12

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August 30th 2012

Africa, Tanzania crop Maize failure causing huge problem.
For the last two weeks as I traveled around Tanzania it was obvious that the poorer people of the country is about to face a major food crisis because of once again the failure of the Maize crop, The stable diet for most of the country, It is soul destroying to see an 80% crop failure which has risen the cost of Maize by 100%. The poorer people of this country will suffer greatly. Lets hope things get better.

patfalvey_crop_aug12
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29th August 2012

Africa: I'm now in Karatu Village at the beautiful Tlimo Lodge on the top of the Rift Valley with 12 of the Kilimanjaro team having a wonderful time. The rest of the team of about to finish their Safari and head home later this evening. This Kilimanjaro trip has been very successful and I'm really looking forward to the team coming out on the 1st of September. Stay tune in to see how our september team gets on. — at Plantation Lodge, Karatu, Tanzania

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AUG 24th -19 on summit, 1 turned before - back in low camp now all in great form - more later pat

Congrats to all the team - hope you all let the hair down after...

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Best of luck to all as they enter their summit push tonight!! From all the team back in Ireland Safe climbing!!

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karanga camp 2012

Karanga Camp 4035 meters - All happy and fed for the night and all in great form for summit attempt tomorrow night. An army marches on its stomach. All team having dinner at the Karanga 4035 meters on Kilimanjaro . All feeling great and ready for summit tomorrow Thursday night, after a 3 hr climb to Barrafu in the morning.

en route to karranga camp

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Scrambling on Barranco wall to Karango camp. 22th August 

Today im going to leave the description to a few of the team to give you a perspective of the Climb through their eyes. 

Ronan Curran.

" never seen anything like it before the word is definitely scrambling and it's not for the faint hearted or those afraid of heights. My respect goes through the roof for the porters that carried our gear over these steep inclines. "

Gerry Gallagher.
"it's the best scrambling I have ever done. I'm glad we have come up this way"

Liam Lynch:

"it's brilliant, it gets ever muscle in your body moving. "

Fiona Kelly.
It's the highlight so far, I've got great photos. 

Everyone has had a thrilling morning on the wall and then slowly we have made our way to Karanga camp site at 4035 meters our staging point for heading for high camp tomorrow. 

All the team are feeling great apart from two slightly twisted ankles, but these are presently in hand and should not deter the team members involved. 

The next 48 hours are going to be testing as we make our way to high camp and then the summit.

 

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Shira camp to Lava Tower to Barranco wall camp.Tuesday 21st August

It was freezing cold last night in the mess tent, but it true irish style a great sing song started. It was joined in by some of our African staff.

All the team had a restless night as high winds shook the all our tents. It had been the worst I have experienced in recent years and had blown down some of the other team tents. The temperatures were not so cold and wind eased by 07:00 and have given way to bright sun and warm conditions.

Most of the team are tired from being awake with the wind but they are all well rested and enthusiastic and ready for the high rise in altitude today to lava towers 4650 meters. The pressure is on today and all the team is just plodding along in a quite pace taking in the spender of being above the cloud. Words from the team to describe their surrounding. Spectacular, fantastic, awesome.

Everyone have done well to get to our high point which will be the same height as out high camp. Now the long descent to our camp for tonight.

A fantastic end to a great day everyone are exhausted so hopefully all will sleep well tonight before tackling the impressive Barranco wall tomorrow.

baranco

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Monday August 20th - Shira camp 3950 meters.

It was an interesting day today as we broke loose from the rain Forrest and made our way into the alpine/ moor land region. The temperature fell giving us a temperature that at times fell to 0 degrees. ...The team is going well and no one is suffering from altitude sickness. It took us 7 hours to get to Shira. All the team are relaxing for the afternoon and acclimatizing for tomorrows push which will see us to to Lava towers at 4650 meters before descending to the barranco wall camp site.

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Wet night in the rain Forrest.

After a reasonably dry ascent through the rain Forrest which took 6 hours in a magical setting we arrived to our camp site where it rained for the entire night. Most of the team had a restless night as for most it was there first night ever under canvas. The snoring, the human other sounds both amused and distracted them to enjoying the experience. Early morning call, the rain stopped and the team have risen to a glorious morning to the sound of signing rain forrest birds and the view of Kilimanjaro. Cameras out and now the talk of the days ahead and how we are going to get over the obstacles.

07:00 and breakfast being server. And all ready for the next rise through the moore land. The days begins. We rise today to 3950 meters. The altitude will start to kick in.machameaug2012

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3pm Sunday 19th - Machame Gate, Tanzania

Machame gate 1900 meters to machame camp 3000 meters, this is the region where the altitude begins.

20 irish 1 Chinese, 1 Kiwiang and 66 Africans all now bound together as a team to challenge Africa's highest. The caravan of team members, guides, porters, cooks are ready to march, the objective is the top of Africa. " the snows of Kilimanjaro" The atmosphere is electrifying as the tension rise for the challenge ahead. Thoughts of "will I get to the summit" ponders in the backs of the mind as we enter the 2nd climatic zone of the mountain already we have today driven thought the coffee and banana plantations. It hot and sticky as we gather for a team shot at the Machame Gate. The rain Forrest just ahead of us and we begin the long journey summit bound. Who will or will not get to the summit will be known in the next 7 days. Proper Acclimation is crucial to success.

Gerard Gallagher is like a child at Christmas about to get to visit Santa. Amy Clavin our youngest member only 16 is ready for the challenge, she is here with her father Brian.

The climb to the summit begins 11:30 and we are on the move.

rainforestaug2012

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6pm Saturday 18th - Moshi, Tanzania

The team has landed in Tanzania. It's great to be back in Tanzania as its a place I love. The landscape, the culture, the color and my friends. Fredrick, Nadir, sharrifa, her daughters and all my ground staff. All the team are excited, kili now looms above our heads up somewhere in the clouds. The anticipation for all of the team of what lay ahead is infectious. The smiles, the comments and the sheer joy of getting here is always intriguing to listen to, to look at. It's all part of what I love about coming here, And the good news, all our bags arrived.

A few hours sleep now and the challenge begins. All the team retiring after a long journey.

kilimanjaro briefing moshi 2012

 

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9pm Friday 17th - Frankfurt, Germany

Dublin flight delayed by 30 minutes and we had to be taken from one plane to our flight for Addis abba. Fears of our bags missing connecting flight. At least most of the team have enough gear in there travel on to at least do the first day on Kili. Well all part of expedition travelling. Now the guessing game begins. Will all the bags arrive in time — at Frankfurt Airport

kilimanjaro group 2012 august pat falvey

Preparations are now finished!! Pat Falvey & Gerry Walsh are heading out tomorrow friday the 17th to Moshi, Tanzania for our August climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro. With 20 adventerous trekkers undertaking the 5895m challenge to the roof of Africa, they are in good hands with it being Pats 27th time and Gerrys 10th time successfully climbing to its top. We will be updating on their progress over the next few days here and on our Facebook page.

The Group consists of:

Brian Clavin
Liam Lynch
Liam McNally
Fiona Kelly
Laura Wiltshier
Eoin O'Ferrall
Rory O'Ferrall
Noreen O'Halloran
Jessica Ferguson
Jodie Yan
Amy Clavin
Michelle Moore
Siobhan Moloney
Fiona English
Sinead Healy
Carmel O'Brien
Ronan Curran
Sinead Keogh
Gerard Gallagher
Gerard Keogh

Our next group trip out is 1st of September, then last few places available for January 2013. We have options available throughout the year, See our Travel page for more details and prices for Climbing Kilimanjaro.

Friday, 27 April 2012 13:16

Carrauntoohil to Kilimanjaro

climbing carrauntoohilWith Kilimanjaro in their sights, two families arrived down to Kerry once again for more training on the 12th April as they prepare to travel on our June departure. Following a briefing at the lodge we left for the Hags Glen joined by Wesley and Tom to climb Carrauntoohil. The day was bright and cool, with wintry clouds looming over the peaks around us from 7-800m upwards. We chatted about the upcoming trip to climb Kilimanjaro for the Quirke and Ronayne families, a mountain I had the pleasure to guide back in January. Training and getting gear sorted out were going well for them. With a sense of understanding about how to train achieved from our Meet day they are now focused on strengthening up the team and finalising gear selection.

Our walk in the valley was quiet because we started around midday. We got a taste of winter with a downpour of rain, not far of sleet as we left the main track at the ford and headed toward O'Sheas.Our gradual pull up the path with the 2 scrambles up steep ground proving adventurous for some of the group. After lunch the the pace was and when we started to climb the bottom of O'Shea's gully, we were reminded once more of winter with an intense shower of hard hail stone pounding our faces for 10mins and then stopped.

photo of summit Carrauntoohil

Exhilarated we put on an extra layer before heading toward the summit. There on top also were a few others in cloudy grey cold conditions although dry. After a few photos and congrats we left to descend toward the devils ladder. Half way down the cloud lifted and gave us brief views out to the sea in Kenmare bay. The decent was wet and took some care weaving a way through the loose gravel and rocks before we walked out the valley back to the cars.

Later the lads from Cork departed for home and the two families made for town to eat before getting up again at 2.30am for a night climb.

Starting from the top of the gap at 3.30am the head torches were bouncing around in a line as we started purple mountain. We adjusted our clothing with conditions being good and dry for now. We had 2 small breaks for water and snacks before we caught glimpses of the moons reflections on the upper lakes of killarney. As we crested the col nearing the summit the light was approaching but only just. we wrapped up a little more and slowly got to the summit for 6am. summit of purple mountainThe decent was easy at the start due as you feel good following the summit but then tiredness that feels like youre in autopilot mode. That's when accidents and stumbles happen but luckily everyone was concentrating and we got back to the cars around 8am.

This fitness assessment course is ideal for setting a mark on physical and mental training required for trekking holidays and climbing Kilimanjaro. We recommend all groups to undergo this process and find out about gear selection along the way. Contact us to discuss options and dates for upcoming meet days and courses. The success rate is much better when you prepare well.

I wish the Quirke and Ronayne families the best, keep up the preparations.

Guide report: Niall Foley

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.

Thursday, 08 September 2011 15:39

Carrauntoohil Climb 27th Aug 2011

We arrived to a busy Cronins yard on Saturday morning at 10am. Having met Sinead, Louise and her dad Pat in Kates car park earlier introductions were already out of the way as we headed up the path into the Hags Glen. Weather was pleasing at that stage although it just started to drizzle, with cloud hanging on the top 200m of the surrounding reeks.

The Route to the Summit of Carrauntoohil: We climbed up through one of the most beautiful routes on the mountain as we made our way through Coomcallee (The Hags Glen) before going off track passing Lough Gouragh (The Lake of the Goat) Breaking through the cliff barrier over the Step of the Goat, where we learned some scrambling techniques to gain the upper reaches of the mountain as we climbed through the three tiers of Coimin Iochtarach, Lair and Uachtarach (The lower, middle and upper valleys) to Ireland’s highest lake (The Eagles Nest) Via Brother O Shea’s Gully, we ascended to the summit from the Beenkeragh ridge in breezy misty conditions.

On our way we met a medium sized group whom we spoke to as we asecended O'Shea's. On reaching the summit we celebrated with a few photos and started our decent. Views of the Black Valley, Kenmare Bay and the saddle at the top of the Devils Ladder finally opened up below us to compliment our already thoroughly enjoyable day. We went left to the Heavenly gates with not many others on the mountain with us at that stage nearing 4pm. Pat and the girls were taken back when I showed them the rescue hut which has some beans inside if you were stuck!!

Our way out was nice and quiet leading us back to a nice cuppa in cronins around 6pm. It was great to take our time and take in all the natural beauty which made the day. Best of luck to the Girls next adventure, Pat was ecstatic about the day, it was all their first time up Carrauntoohil, Well Done!!

Report & Photos by Niall Foley

If you would like to climb Carrauntoohil please contact us in Kerry 064 6644181

Friday, 01 July 2011 02:20

Meet Weekend for Mt Kilimanjaro Team

Some of team taking in the views on Meet Day HikeJune 25th Meet Day/ Fitness Assessment Weekend for September Mount Kilimanjaro Team

And what a weekend it was! 14 of the team were able to join us on our Free Meet Day offered to aid their preparation for their trek of Mt Kilimanjaro.

The aim of the day is to allow the team to meet with their guide and fellow trekkers, discuss the trek ahead and any queries that may remain and run through gear required.

We also hit the hills and this weekend, we choose the route over Strickeen down into the Gap and crossed onto the 'Chimneys' to ascend Tomies Mountain. The routes we choose are part of a fitness assessment covering terrains and exerting energy simular to that of a typical days trek.

The benefit of this day has proved very successful over the past years and with most of the team staying to partake in the Night Hike,that together with the earlier hike simulates summit night, the team left the Lodge on Sunday feeling ready to take on the challenge ahead Kilimanjaro prep Night Hime in Reeks

Hi Lorraine,Thanks a million for a fantastic weekend- I can't wait until September! Kind Regards,Lisa

Two days of  trekking in great company with good food and comfortable lodgings. Our Fitness Training Weekend for Trekkers is geared for those wishing to take on a challenging trek or climb like Kilimanjaro, Elbrus or even Aconcagua and is recommended as part of a training plan.

We suggest you complete this course early in your training plan or at least 2-3 months prior to departure. This course is an ideal way to assess your fitness level with a long day on the mountains while simulating the summit day by starting in the dark early on day 2.

This course is designed for people who would like to use a guide to assess their fitness levels and to show them the fitness level required for trekking holidays that involve higher altitudes. (4000-6000+)

African Tour Leader Gerry Walsh enjoying day on Tomies


Friday, 01 July 2011 00:43

Carrauntoohill Climb June 25th

Goat on the edge - CarrauntoohilHi Lorraine,
Just wanted to say a big Thank You for arranging our Carrauntoohil Climb last Saturday.

It was a brilliant experience and we really enjoyed it despite the weather! (It just means we may come back again to see the scenery!!) Heavy Rainfall on Carrauntoohil

Ian and Tony were great and kept us going along the way and I was thrilled to get the chance to meet Pat.
Thanks again!
Mag
Today saw our June trekking team leave their base hotel at Moshi (910m), set for the Machame Gate passing banana and coffee plantations that line the route. Our lead guide was in contact to say everyone was in great spirits as they set off after meeting their trekking team of Guides, Porters & Cooks.

Our team's first day has seen their ascent from Machame Gate (1490m) to Machame camp (2980m) through the Montane Forest region. Tonight, Aine, Caoimhe & Roisin will spend their first night on Mount Kilimanjaro. Tommorrow as they leave the forest, opportunities to experience some of the much talked about magestic views of the mountain itself and surrounding lands should make for a wondeful backdrop for their days trek.

Probably the most beautiful route up Kilimanjaro, the Machame provides a scenic splendour such as not seen on other routes. From late afternoon sunsets at Shira, to the wonderous views of Kibo at the great Barranco Wall, the Machame route offers the adventurous hiker a stunning experience on the world's higest free standing mountain.

Our 7 day itinerary affords the most valuable commodity on the mountain - acclimatisation. The extra day allows our teams to trek high and sleep - one of the key elements to successful acclimatisation that has aided in seeing a 98% success rate with our trekkers on reaching summit over the past 14 years.barranco wallJune 28th 'Everyone's in great form and today, are set to take on the Great Barranco Wall' Thomas from our office in Tanzania calls to report on girls third day on Mount Kilimanjaro.

The 'breakfast wall' is a stiff 800 foot scramble that once passed, brings you to beautiful views from the Karanga Valley and a much deserved respite! Pole Pole' (Slowly Slowly) will be advise well heeded on today's trek.

The Lava Towers (4630m - a bit higher than the summit of Mt Meru) can be climbed on todays route to aid acclimatisation as an optional extra if feeling up to it, just prior to a descent down a steep rock face. Tonight will see the team at almost half way point of their 7 Day adventure on Mount Kilimanjaro and as they rest at Barranco Camp (3950m), they should experience some of the most amazing views of the summit glaciers and down onto the Barranco Valley.

June 30th 'Hi Caoimhe here with Roisin on the way to Base Camp (Barafu Camp 4633m) Tonight we set off for Summit at 12pm our time. Say Hi to my mom for me'

Yesterday the team set off across the Karanga River heading for the Karanga campsite. It was during this trek that one of team, Aine felt unwell and a decision was taken to come down via the Umbwe Route, a steep but quick path that saw Aine in full health as she left the Mount Kilimanjaro Park Gate and returned to Base Hotel in Moshi. Congratulations Aine on achievement and decision and we look forward to hearing from you as you continue on your journey, deciding to get a few days in Zanzibar post Safari- for much deserved rest.

On route to Barafu(Base Camp)Today, the fifth day for the team on ascend, follows the path up and across a rocky zone, finishing at the high camp Barafu. Very little vegetation can be found on the inhospitable terrain. A field of sedimentary rocks litters the ground like many broken mirrors on this scenic traverse to Barafu.

Later tonight, Caoimhe and Roisin will commence on their summit attempt with lead guide Zongolo. We will follow their progress as further updates come in and we wish the girls a safe and happy climb.

Caoimhe climbs Mount Kilimanjaro for the cork based charity Suicide Aware and on top of all the prep and training the team put into getting ready for their challenge, Caoimhe's fantastic fundraisining events have to be commended. If you want to climb for Suicide Aware or any other charity, contact us now to arrange

July 01st 07:25 Irish time A call from our Base Office in Tanzania prompted a call to Caoimhe and Roisin

'At 0630 local time, Rosin and I successfully reached summit. We took lots of photos and it was amazing. Roisin is ahead of me now as we make our way down to Base Camp. Thanks for everything' Caoimhe

Our lead guide further added 'the girls made good time on their summit ascend and are both in very good health. After rest at Barafu, descend will continue to Mweka Camp for early this afternoon'

From Mweka Camp, if cloud allows, another great view of the top of Kilimanjaro should prevail, peaking out from behind the hill above Camp. In looking at summit, the total of what has been accomplished in 6 days (with descend in less than one day!!) is fully realised.

kilimanjaro-climbing-route-map.mediumthumb

Don’t forget, the night before, you probably woke up at 11:00 at night, and hiked six-eight hours before making it to the summit and then a further seven-ten hours to the point where you now stand. Tired no doubt but energised by the experiences your journey has left you with, this last night on Mount Kilimanjaro is one that you will never forget.

Our sincere congratulations to all the team and we look forward to hearing from you all over the coming days as you leave the mountain and head for a 3 Day Safari, luxury lodgings and..very little walking, if desired :)

July 10th With all the team back safe and rested post trip, it's been great to hear of their experiences and see the photos they captured along the way. 'Had a great time' 'Really enjoyed the trek' are some of the comments that have been coming in and over the coming days, we will add an image gallery of more shots brought back from Tanzania by our June trekking team. Congratulations again guys!!

Mount Kilimanjaro Summit June 2011

 

 

 


Trip Report section 2

Step down of Irish North Pole Expedition 2011

Our alternative adventure to Baffin island

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Irish Baffin Island Expedition 2011 - Pat Falvey and Dr Clare O Leary

Auyuittuq National Park (land that never melts)

Our decision on what we'd do after we stepped down the North Pole expedition played heavily on our minds. We were torn between a number of different expeditions we could do in the High Arctic on Ellesmere Island but we finally chose a Ski trek on Baffin Island on the North east coast of Canada.

Our adventure took Clare and I on a journey across one of the most beautiful areas of Canada in a place of dynamic landscape, spectacular fjords, craggy mountain tops, sheer granite cliff faces  and glaciers, on the edge of the great Penny Ice Cap, we stayed with an Inuit family, learnt about Inuit life, its history and culture. The short journey tested our resolve and patience with unpredictable arctic weather in a land that never melts.

Come with us now am what has been an amazing traverse of one of the most beautiful regions of the world. On our expedition we were blown away mentally by the beauty of the trek and the ferocity of its weather.  This expedition to Baffin Island from the Cumberland Sound to the Davis Strait was not planned and not in our itinerary, as we could not have guessed that our journey to the North Pole this year would have to be cancelled.   Every cloud has a silver lining and this expedition was just that.

Our journey brought us on a  130 KM back-country ski adventure along majestic fjords, up ice rivers along frozen lakes and rugged mountain landscape with towering spectacular big wall mountains reaching skyward all around us; Ashguard, Thor and many other technical peaks that we had been aware of from mountaineering history.

We were taken by surprise by the conditions that we encountered on our journey, our traverse was not as easy as we had thought. We were dogged by bad weather and felt that for some reason this year the gods were not in our favour. However the challenge made our successful traverse all the sweeter.

We were hammered by freezing cold temperatures going down to - 57 degrees Celsius, high winds gusting up to 70 km per hour. We skied up dangerous icy rivers and across windswept frozen lakes. We were encased in our tent by hard pack snow drift in a blizzard.

We even  experienced the trepidation of seeing large fresh 14 inch polar bear foot prints of a male Pole bear only meters away from our tent, after a restless night of ensuring the flimsy fabric of our tent didn't collapse under the stress of been encased in hard packed snow.

On our journey we met amazing people and learned about Inuit culture from the communities we stayed in. We have learnt a lot about their philosophy of living with the cold Arctic conditions; the local feeling towards a changing world and their feeling of adapting a western way of life - these people who were one time great hunters and survivors of the harsh Arctic.

It may take a few generations to adapt to a new way of life and it is only through education and to Re-appropriate their language and traditions can the Inuit truly hold onto their culture and adapt to modern way of life.

Our adventure to Baffin was an experience that we will never forget. Our expectations were surpassed by the regions beauty, it's people history and culture and it tested our resolve and patience.

Kindness and hospitality: When we were organizing our trip from Resolute Bay on the North West Passage we spoke to the Parks  Manager  Delia Slivola in Pangnirtung, she impressed us with the passion she had shown to us on the phone  about the  Auyuittaq National Park, . She was also passionate about the culture and traditions of the local communities and in particular about the people of  the communities of Pangnirtung and Quikqtarjauq, Her passion is what made our mind up to come and visit this area. It ticked all our requirements.

To have an exciting worthwhile expedition in Canada in the Arctic region that blended our love of adventure and learning about the traditions and culture of local Inuit indigenous people

She also went out of her way to ensure all the stops  where pulled out for us after hearing about our ordeal on our cancelled North Pole trip. We were given as we say in our Irish language, a ”Cead Mile Failte”  “a hundred thousand welcomes”

Pangnirtung the place of many bull caribou" Our expedition began on arrival to Pangnirtung an small Inuit Hamlet of 1300 people situated on the Southern shores of our traverse on the Cumberland Sound.  We were greeted by a local Inuit Park Ranger called Matthew who gave us an ordination talk and briefing about the area, the Park, its wildlife and rescue procedures.

Even though it was on a Saturday afternoon we arrived and the park office was closed Delia however had organized Matthew one of the many native park rangers to go meet us at the airport and help us to get going with our expedition and within two hours of arrival we were on our way. The hospitality that had been afforded to us on our arrival was amazing. We were helped to sort out all our gear, to collect our fuel and driven to the start of our trek from the airport.

Before leaving on trek Matthew warned us about the icy conditions of the crossing and the dangers of high winds and the possibility of coming across Polar  Bears. On hearing this Clare and I were concerned that we couldn’t carry our gun to defend ourselves in the event of an attack. Even thought these are beautiful animals they can be at time lethal killers. I seen one which travelling in Spitsbergen in Northern Norway Kill two seals with two swipes of his massive powerful claws. WE felt a little vulnerable not been able to take our gun.

Also little had we any idea of how windy and cold it could get at this time of the year in the Auyuittuq National Park it was a sting in the tail for us which made our traverse exciting and really made it feel like an expedition. What we have learnt from our experience is that an expedition is about a teams ability  to deal with all eventualities no matter what they are that may occur on your journey and to be properly prepared for them and to survive.

Read and listen to part 1: North Pole Step down

Read and Listen to Part 3 of Our expedition on Baffin Island:

Our Journey was ready to begin which I will describe on Part three of our Trip report if you wish to continue.


Published in North Pole 2011

Below is the first of three parts on step down of Irish North Pole Expedition.

Read through the ups and downs for the team during February and March when the challenging weather required the team to abort their North Pole bid after waiting for 10 days to fly out to the ice from Resolute. A tough decision certainly but with another 4-5 wait before they could fly it was too much gone out of their reserve days to contend with. Four teams out of four pulled out of North Pole attempts this year.  Following their decision the team went on to complete the first Irish ski/trek of the remote Akshayuk pass, traversing a peninsula of Baffin Island. Here is the 1st of three reports.

Report compiled by Dr Clare O'Leary and Pat Falvey. Further Images from the expedition to follow.

Listen to Podcast Part  1 - Step Down North Pole 2011 - by Pat Falvey

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North Pole step down 2011 Trip Report Part 1. Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining

It's hard to put into words how frustrated and devastated Clare and I were to step down our 2011 Irish North Pole expedition. It was hard to credit that this year due to unprecedented bad weather in the Arctic; we would not even get to the starting point. Never in my 68 high-expedition adventures have I ever encountered conditions like this before. Mother Nature had dealt us a cruel blow because of climate change and global warming throughout the world; it caused a devastating effect on the arctic weather patterns and ice movement for 2011 season, causing more then a million extra hectares of ice in the Arctic sea to evaporate and cause unpredictable bad weather in the region which blocked us from starting.

Disappointed but Acceptant : 3 years of serious commitment in planning, training, learning and preparing ourselves for our North Pole challenge of walking, skiing and swimming from the land mass on the northern shores of Canada - all ‘down the tube’ without even the chance to give it an attempt.

Pinned Down: We were pinned down by unrelenting bad weather for 20 days stuck in our transit base camp on Resolute Bay, a small barren remote Inuit community of only two hundred people situated on the North Eastern shores of the North West Passage.  Frustrated, we waited and waited in windy sub zero conditions for a break in the weather to afford us an opportunity to board our privately chartered plane that sat on the apron of a wind swept runway of the airport that serves the region, to fly us to our final destination at Cape Discovery to the start of our challenge.

The Waiting Game: Day after day in our holding position we had to re-assess our diminishing time-window which we had estimated for reaching the North Pole.  Discussions and meetings were held on a daily basis with our pilots, base manager Rick from our aircraft charter company "Borek" and the Canadian High Arctic Metrological Department until finally we were forced to concede that successfully reaching the North Pole for 2011 would be impossible for us.  Mother Nature had played us a devastating blow as unprecedented bad weather eroded our time to succeed.

The Plan: We had put huge thought and research into the planning and preparation of this expedition. We had looked at all successful and failed attempts throughout the history of North Pole expeditions and we realistically estimated our ability based on our polar experience and concluded what was both the maximum and minimum period of days that we required to successfully achieve our objective.

Our Weather Window: We had given ourselves a maximum of 60 days to complete our challenge from Cape Discovery; with an estimate of 55 days as a reasonably realistic time for us to reach the North Pole from Cape Discovery. Anything under this would be a risky and increase our chances of failure.

We set out milestones and targets for our plan, and we knew that to deviate from them raised the risk of failure. We were willing to take calculated risks to succeed but not foolhardy risks that would guarantee failure. We also had to watch that we would not ‘let our heart rule our head’ over factual information; a prudent business strategy I had learnt from my business background.

Adventure Grand Slam: If successful, this expedition for Clare and I would be the ‘grand slam’ of adventure. To climb all the highest points on each of the seven continents including trekking to the South and North Pole. We had completed all but the latter. The pressure personally and emotionally on both of us was enormous.

For me it would be a personal satisfaction to exit extreme adventure at 54 years of age and to continue into less extreme expeditions after what has been an amazing series of adventures over 25 years travelling around the world.

We knew that no matter how confident or prepared in doing this, that we would always have to deal with the unknown elephant of polar travel, Mother Nature. We were confident of our ability to succeed but not complacent. We knew there were circumstances and events that were not in our control to predict or influence.

The Russian Time Bomb: To reach the pole we were confined to a window of time that was crucial to achieve; the date of the 26th of April etched on our expedition calendar. Like a primed time-bomb the clock was ticking to reach our target, we would have to be there before 09:00 am 26th February. If we delayed in getting there, a severe penalty for evacuation from the Canadian side could cost up to $120,000 extra and we would still have to arrive at the pole no later then the 30th of April, just three days later.

The decision for us to step this down was one of the hardest Clare and I have made in our expedition careers, but by that stage, the facts put before us guaranteed failure.

As you can imagine having put so much effort into this expedition we didn't want to go home and Clare and I switched our attention from the North Pole and continued on to do another expedition to cross a section of Baffin Island.

Trip Report: I will conclude by finalising this year’s expeditions with the following trip report.

After years of planning, training and research throughout the world, our journey to Canada for the 2011 Irish North Pole expedition truly began in the final days of January 2011.

General Diary of North Pole section: On the 29th of January we arrived into the harsh environment of our base camp acclimatisation Arctic location in Iqaluit for our three weeks’ preparation to do a mini expedition on Frobisher bay to test all our gear and to do final packing of food and equipment for the pole challenge also it would give us a chance to find out more about the Inuit and the attempted dismantlement and destruction of their culture by what was then a colonizing force; how the Canadians used the Inuit to stake land claims in remote and desolate regions of the Arctic to protect mineral rights. Another important element of learning on all our expeditions.

Iqaluit is the Inuit capital of the Nunavut region a new territory formed in 1999 and given it own autonomy under the lands act ...see information on (Nunavut/ Iqaluit).

While in Iqaluit we trained with local polar adventurer Matty McNaire for a few days to hone our polar skills, and to listen and learn from a master of Arctic survival. It was an amazing opportunity for fine tuning both our technique and logistics from one of the top arctic polar adventures in the world.

As late comers to polar disciplines and our quest to be self sufficient on all our expeditions, we have had the fortune to train and learn from some of the best polar people in the world. Borge Osland and Rolf Bae from Norway, Richard Webber and Matty McMaire from Canada aslo Victor Boyarsky, Russian. All are passionate, all have different takes on gear and equipment, but all are in agreement that the Arctic is the harshest environment in the world. Their accumulative advise would not go astray on Clare and I.

Iqaluit had given us what we needed, temperatures averaging -35 degrees Celsius, the time to train and to sort all our gear and food.

The three weeks went fast and we moved forward to the next leg of the expedition on the 21st of February excited and confident that we were ready to pull off our journey to the pole, not realising what lay ahead.

We moved to our next location in Resolute Bay which is situated on the northern banks of the North west Passage.  Here we would do further training for a few days as we waited for conditions to land at our starting point at Cape Discovery at the top of Canada and the start of our trek.

 

Weather Frustration: Our departure date of the 25th of February was put back due to a late coming of the sun rising at our landing point at Cape Discovery by three days. The pilots needed at least one hour of sunlight to determine contrast between the grey sky and snow/ice covered Fjord. The sun in the Arctic was playing games with our departure. We had agreed to push out our date for departure back by 3 days to the 28th February to allow a safety margin for pilots.

Weather Bad: We were all packed and ready to go on the 28th and were stepped down just 12 hours before departure. The weather had worsened due to high wind and cloud cover at Cape Discovery which was shown in an updated Satellite forecast.  The new forecast did not look good and we knew that we would at least have to wait another few days. The Arctic weather was flexing its muscle. Still Clare and I did not have too much of concern and it looked like a high pressure zone was winning out, to the low pressure at our starting point, it really looked promising so we sat out a further 2 days still thinking all would be ok, but our safety risk margin was being eroded down to 55 days and the clock was ticking.

Once again on the 2nd of March we received a call from Rick, base manager for Borek to sadly tell us the low pressure coming in from the north west had won out over the high pressure from the south east and that the weather didn't look good for at least another three days.

Now alarm bells were ringing for us, this new set back was at least pushing us back to the 5th March and down to our minimum risk threshold of just 52 days beyond our comfort zone; but our feeling was that the mission was still achievable. If all went well we would have a race to the pole to get there on time and we were willing to take the risk. We knew any further erosion due to weather would mean a whole new plan.

The pressure over the following days was enormous as we waited every day and checked the forecast.  We went to see a professional forecaster that was based at the weather station at Resolute and he felt that the whole winter season had been the worst since records began and that our chances of success were slim, due the huge loss of ice in the Arctic.

As the days rolled by we didn't see any improvement on the satellite pictures and prepared ourselves for the worst, to be stepped down once more. We were even trying to ignore the fact that we now needed to make a serious decision. We needed further clarity on what was now becoming a huge worry. We contacted Matty McNaire down in Iqaluit for her take on what was happening and sought independent experienced advice. In a returned email she spelt out the facts, which brought us back to reality. We were still choosing to push the dates back and were leaving our hearts rule our head, we didn’t want to give the expedition up, even if were stepped down again.

Matty’s email refocused us on our plan. Matty in turn contacted a friend that was an expert on Arctic Polar weather and on receiving this latest input, it made our decision very easy. The forecast showed that improvements would not occur until at least the 10th March.

Shocked by this prediction we sat down and re-calculated all our logistics and if the forecast was right we were now guaranteed to fail. For many hours we mulled over the forecast, we contacted the other two teams that had intended to go this year and presented them with the facts on the new forecast. All agreed if this was the case none of us would reach the pole in time. Facing the facts a decision had to be made and we we even approached Borek to know if they would extend their time in coming in to collect us from the pole for a week or two. The answer was no, the dangers of losing a plane were too great for them. In 2010 they had attempted an evacuation on the 4th of May and lost a Twin Otter plane to the icy sea, so therefore they would not take the risk to collect us later then the 30th of April.

The Death Knell: All adventurers know that you cannot pit yourself against the power of nature; we have learnt from the experience of the Inuit, the hunters and people of the high Arctic, you blend with nature and change your plans with natures’ changing moods. This year sadly we accepted that the nature of the weather in the Arctic had closed it's doors to our polar challenge and all teams stepped down the challenge on the North Pole from Canada.

A New Focus: Once we accepted this and made the decision we moved on and planned to make the most of our time in the Arctic. A new expedition unfolded that allowed us to mix our interest in Inuit culture and traditions, our love of mountains and our need to complete an Arctic Polar expedition before returning to Ireland.

If you wish to continue to see what happen on our new Adventure on Baffin please continue to our trip report 2 and 3 on our news items shortly.

Published in North Pole 2011
Saturday, 01 January 2011 15:16

Kilimanjaro report - Martin Hayden & Sons

Image Gallery

On return, Martin sent in some great shots of the boys and himself on Mount Kilimanjaro

This evening they will return to Moshi for their last overnight before leaving for the airport in the morning.. All reports are of a 'healthy & happy' group and we, no doubt not a fraction as much as mom, Joan, await their safe return and further reports of their adventures in Tanzania.

6th January 2011 - Lake Manyara National Park

After a eventful New Year on Kilimanjaro, Martin, James, Alexander & Marcus are enjoying an overnight at Serena Luxury Lodge taking in 2 days Safari in the spectacular Lake Manyara National Park within the Great Rift Valley with its infamous tree climbing lion!

The National Park offers an amazing experience - At the Southern end of the park are hot Sulphur Springs known as Majimoto. Further along the forest the area opens up into woodlands, grassland, swamps and beyond, the soda lake itself. Nestling at the base of the Great Rift Valley escarpment, the park is recognized for its incredible beauty. Wildlife at Lake Manyara is not restricted to birdlife only. Many game animals such as Buffalo, Elephant, Giraffe, Impala,hippo and a great variety of smaller animals also inhabit the park.

Lake Manyara is renown for its tree-climbing lions which spend most of the day spread out along the branches of acacia trees six to seven metres above the ground. The park contains the most pachyderms per km sq. in Tanzania. As you enter the gate, you pass into the lush forest, home to troops of baboons and blue monkeys. Buffalo and hippo lurch in the adjacent Hippo Pool. The vegetation eventually merges into flat topped acacia woodland where, in the heat of the day entire prides of lion can be seen stretched on the branches of these trees - a habit prevalent to Manyara lions.

Along with these amazing tree-climbing lions there are the usual browsers and grazers as well as the curios-looking banded mongoose. Two thirds of the park is dominated by the slightly alkaline lake which is home to a huge variety of waterbirds.

4th January 2011 - 1300hrs Irish time

Family climb Kilimanjaro

Just got a call from Martin, "We all got into the final campsite on accent yesterday at 4pm. With excitement and everything about the summit push last evening, the lads only got a 2-3 hrs sleep before leaving at 11pm for the long summit push. James was sick a few times but had no other AMS symptoms. We got toGillman's Point (5681m) at 7am this morning with all ok apart from Alexander having zero juice left in the tank. The guides helped in the decision for Alexander, who knew he couldn't go any further as he had not enough energy to get him to the summit and back toGillman's Point."

"With a guide holding with Alexander at gilmans, James, Marcus, myself and the remaining guides headed for the summit. After an hour and a half or so we could see the summit sign in the distance, which encouraged us. We got to Uhuru summit (5,895m)at 9.15am, James and Marcus were very excited and got the photos etc. done before heading back down. The guides were brilliant and when we got back here to gilmans, Alexander was asleep which was good he must have been knackered earlier this morning. I sent James and Marcus down ahead and I will wait for Alexander for a while longer before we also head down. Amazing feeling to get there with my sons, they all did extremely well"

Well done lads and hope you all enjoy the fun on the way down. Best of luck on the rest of the trip from all at the expedition office down in Kerry.

If climbing Kilimanjaro is a dream or challenge of yours please view our Africa travel section or contact us for advice on our 2011 and 2012 treks.

 

Latest Report - 2nd January 2011

 

The Haydens and their guides acclimatised to 4300m today and are now back to 3720m for the night. Martin reports that the boys are doing well, apart from some adjustments to the food etc., Martin said: "James has some music with him, Marcus is reading and Alexander is getting plenty of stories from dad, they are all sleeping well and eating ok considering, the weather is absolutely amazing providing stunning scenery views, hopefully it will last for the next couple of days"

We expect a push for the summit on the 5th or 6th january, lets see how they get on today, Stay tuned.

Trek Start Report - 31st December 2010

While we celebrate New years here in Ireland, Martin Hayden and his threetrustysons James, Marcus & Alexander are now on Mt. Kilimanjaro,located in Tanzania,and have started their trek. They flew out on the 29th of December to fulfill an ambition to climb the highest mountain in Africa. The climb will take them through five different ecological zones as they ascend toward the5,895m summit over the next eight days. Happy New Year lads - Over the next few days we will endeavour to report as much as possible. They are just finishing day one and these are photos of the start.

haydentrekstartjames

Training Begins

Training began back in November when we put them through their paces on Purple mountain beside the gap of dunloe in Kerry. The cold weather had just started 2 days before the lads came down, roads were bad in Meath where the lads are from and tentatively made the journey to the montain lodge in kerry. On arrival we met Con Moriarty, who advised them on the gear they had and also the gear needed for their training and climb in december. Temperatures were low on the evening of the 27th with severe cold conditions forecast as low as minus 10C. Later in the evening wewere joined by camerman Mark Watson who was down to get a feel for mountain filming, he will be editing footage under our direction for the haydens on their return.Following a quick briefing on the plans for the dark start early in the amby guide Tony Nation, we all headed to bed for some rest.

Night climb of Purple Mountain - 28th Nov 2010

We got a little breakfast into us and headed off at 4am. The drive up the gap was surreal and slippy with icy conditions. We adjusted our gear and headed off into the night, which was brigthened at times by the moon. As we got our pace and temperatures regulated we were approaching the glas lake, which was very surreal in total darkness and head torches. We had a break and some banter with lads who were doing just fine. after the gully from the lake we started onto the steep scree section which was tough work as the wind was a lot stronger. Martin got James, Marcus and Alexander to stay close in a line as conditions were now more severe.

At 7.30am we reached the shoulder and made our final push across the summit section to the main cairn in near total whiteout. We had already decided to spend only 3 minutes there as there was no visibility for sunrise although we could see that light was approaching. On our decent toward the central peak heading toward tomies temperatures were very low and wind was strong, with frost forming on our eyebrows, hair and clothing. I would say it was minus 15C windchill approx. At our next stop our water was now slushy and hard to drink, bring out the Hot Drink Tony!! The lads were elated at this stage and we found some snow to bum slid followd by some great icicles!!

decenttothegap

On decent we headed into the gap behind the cottages, once we decended below the cloud we got our first glimpses of scenery toward the sea over snow peppered stricin mountain. We stopped to admire the views and our final stop before the road. The boys were holding strong and dad Martin coaxed the final leg down. When we got to the road it was time to do much needed filming as the visibility was good now for the first time all morning.

We got back to the lodge after 10am for a fuller than Irish breakfast with no leftovers.The lads had a great time apart from being wrecked tired and after speaking to Martin a couple of days later theyhad a great time in Kerry and hadn't stopped talking about it. We wish them the best of luck!!

Martin and his boys were featured on RTE's Colm Hayes show on the 23 December, below you will find a link to download the attached podcast.

Report by Niall Foley

Travel Coordinator & Camerman<-->

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