Kilimanjaro: Team Returns to Arusha

Posted by: Jeff Martin | February 20, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Hello from Arusha,

We are safely off the mountain and back at the Dik Dik hotel. The team did great yesterday and everybody in the group made it to 19,340’, Uhuru Peak. The day started at 11:45 pm and we were walking out of camp by 1:00 am. It was a solid six hours of climbing to reach Stella Point, and at 8:15 am we were standing on the Roof of Africa. Our timing was perfect and we pretty much had the summit to ourselves, a rarity on Kilimanjaro. The Park Service recently replaced the old summit sign with a new larger green and yellow sign. Consensus amongst most climbers is that they like the old sign better, but either way, it marks the spot of the highest free-standing mountain in the world. We took a bunch of summit photos, and then we started our descent back to high camp.

This summit day was a little tougher than the usual. What started out as some light winds, soon turned into a solid 30 mph wind by the time we reached 17,000’. As the eastern horizon turned orange as the sun began to rise, the winds picked up to 40 mph. We slowly climbed onward, but it was soon becoming apparent that we might not even make the summit today. We added our shells, covered up our faces, and decided to keep going for another stretch. An hour passed and without any relief from the wind. Without stopping, we climbed for another hour and fortunately, the winds lessened as we approached the crater rim. By now it was looking a little more optimistic that we would reach the top despite the winds. We were cold and tired, but with the summit in view, we added our down parkas, and made it the last hour to Uhuru peak.

We quickly descended back to HighCamp and were greeted by congratulations and a table loaded with fresh fruit and french toast. Re-fueled and re-packed, we headed down to Mweka Camp for the night. This morning we completed the trek down to the Mweka gate and then back to the Dik Dik Hotel.

Now we get to put our climbing gear away and focus on the next part of our adventure - 4 days on safari. First up, Lake Manyara National Park.

RMI Guide Jeff Martin & Team Simba Sita

Descending through Kilimanjaro's rainforest to the Mweka Gate. The Celebration Dinner back at the Dik Dik Hotel after the climb. Team Simba Sita on the summit of Kilimanjaro with the new summit sign.  Photo: Jeff Martin

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