Entries From Kilimanjaro 9-14-13

Mt. Kilimanjaro: Dave Hahn and Team Arive in Africa!

Posted by: Dave Hahn | September 15, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

It is 11 PM at the Dik Dik Hotel near Arusha, Tanzania, and the entire climbing team has made it through the worldwide obstacle course of airports and aircraft to begin a Kilimanjaro expedition.  We’ll get started in the morning with strategizing and packing gear and prepping, but for now it it just a great relief to have everybody in one place (the correct place) and to have all the baggage safely off the carousels.

Our drivers and hotel staff gave each tired traveler a friendly hello, a handshake, a glass of champagne and a flower or two.  The kitchen stayed up late to get an excellent dinner out to each and every climber.
We’ll hope that a night’s good rest goes a long way to refreshing, rebooting and rejuvenating the gang.  An adventure is waiting.

Best Regards,

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

The Dik Dik Hotel pool area. Photo: Jeff Martin
1

Thanks for taking such good care of everyone. :)

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Posted by: Mara on 9/15/2013 at 3:31 pm


Mt. Kilimanjaro: Hahn and Team Recover from Jet Lag and Prepare to Climb

Posted by: Dave Hahn | September 16, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

We got together after a relaxing breakfast in our tropical garden of a lodge and we talked about going up amongst the glaciers of Kilimanjaro.  It was a morning of going over the plan of attack and for discussing gear and best practices for staying healthy in this part of the world.  The middle of the day was spent getting the gear and clothing sorted and by afternoon the team enjoyed a bit of free time to wander about or to nap.  The wanderers didn’t have to go far before they could see Kilimanjaro floating in the distance.  The nappers surrendered for a short time to the jet lag we all feel.

The team enjoyed seeing groups of monkeys swinging through the trees of our compound as well as listening to strange birds call out as they cruised overhead.

We enjoyed a group dinner and some storytelling for the evening.  It will be hard to leave this luxurious and laid back setting, but the thought of getting walking on the flanks of the largest freestanding mountain in the world is pretty enticing as well.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

The Dik Dik Hotel in Arusha, Tanzania.  Photo: RMI Collection
3

Be safe team!!!  “Hi” to Liz!!!

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Posted by: Gina on 9/17/2013 at 4:09 am

Have a great trip!  Love you lots.

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Posted by: Joan on 9/16/2013 at 5:45 pm


Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team at Machame Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn | September 17, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro
Elevation: 9,800'

It was raining at the Dik Dik Hotel this morning when we woke.  Light, but steady rain kept falling as we ate a 7 AM breakfast and got ready to board the bus/truck.  But 15 minutes down the road, our driver shut off his windshield wipers.  Low clouds still disguised the mountain we believed was hiding somewhere out to our northeast, but things were looking up.  The variety of crops in the “cultivation” zone at the foot of Kilimanjaro was quite impressive.  We saw coffee, corn, avocado, mangos, and bananas all growing in a lush mix close to the Machame Gate.  It took some time to get the group properly registered and permitted with the National Park but then at around 11 AM we began our ascent through a forest of tall trees.  Our starting point was at about 5,900 ft, and our destination for the day was close to 9,800 ft, so there was little doubt we were in for a workout.  At first we were in fog and humid clouds, but after several hours, the sun got strong and the sky got blue.  We traveled on an excellent trail through the “forest” zone and into the “heather” zone and we began getting great views of Kilimanjaro and her glaciers.  At around 4:30 PM we strode into a cluster of tents and admired the work of our porters and kitchen crew as we took packs off in our new home.  We ate dinner in our grand dining tent and turned in early under what appears to be a magnificent full moon.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Dave Hahn's team at the Machame Gate, Kilimanjaro. Photo: Dave Hahn Kilimanjaro Trailhead. Photo: RMI Collection

On The Map

7

Happy and safe trails. Looking forward to reading about your progress.

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Posted by: rachael c lujan on 9/18/2013 at 2:35 pm

Happy and safe climbing. Looking forward to your updates. ABQ Uptown/RS 985 NM/CO

Rachael

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Posted by: rachael c lujan on 9/18/2013 at 2:33 pm


Mt. Kilimanjaro: Team Ascends to Shira Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn | September 18, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro
Elevation: 12,300'

After a calm night at Machame Camp at 9,800’, we packed up this morning under blue skies and strong sun and pushed higher.  The team was on the move by 8:00 AM and was immediately on steeper and rougher trails than we’d encountered yesterday.  It was quite busy as the porters from a number of teams -including our own- were anxious to get out ahead and make it to Shira Camp as early as possible in order to claim prime sites for their teams.  We made good progress, eventually following a rocky ridge line for some distance.  It was continually interesting to watch the changes in foliage as we ascended.  Looking out, we were above a sea of cloud obscuring the rest of Africa.  Our sun and views of Kilimanjaro didn’t last.  By the time we’d reached about 12,000’, clouds formed on the upper mountain and stretched to cover us.  By then, we were traversing on blocky lava terraces out towards the Shira plateau.  We made it into our new camp at 12:30 and after getting settled, enjoyed a fine hot lunch.  Afternoon was mostly rest, relax and acclimatize time as we are now at a lofty 12,300’  It is colder here and so we didn’t stay up very late, hitting the sack at about seven, just after a hearty supper. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guides Dave Hahn

The RMI September 14th Team ascending toward the Shira Plateau.  Photo: Dave Hahn Hiking toward the Shira Plateau on Kilimanjaro.  Photo: RMI Collection

On The Map


Mt. Kilimanjaro: Team Members Set New Altitude Record

Posted by: Dave Hahn | September 19, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro
Elevation: 13,000'

Early risers at Shira Camp witnessed a giant moon setting out near Mount Meru to our west this morning.  We still had views of the upper flanks of Kilimanjaro when we went to breakfast, but by the time we hit the trail, the great cliffs and glaciers were cloaked in cloud.  We marched upward on a low angled and broad ridge.  Gradually the plants got smaller and smaller until there were hardly any of note by our high point at the Lava Tower.  We endured a short sleet storm near the 14,900’ pass, but that did not keep us from pushing on and breaking altitude records for a number of our team members.  Then we began a steady descent into the Barranco Valley.  Clouds let loose a ten minute rain shower on us and kept us guessing about the steep contours above.  We could just see hints of ice and crazily angled rock up above.  Below we could see a magical valley of Dr. Seuss style plants unfolding.  Giant Senecios and Lobelias abounded.  We were in our new home and safely in the tents at 13,000’ before the next rain showers commenced.  The late afternoon and evening blended together as a damp fog settled over our Barranco tent village. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

The RMI September 14th Kilimanjaro Teams departs from Shira Camp.  Photo: Dave Hahn The team's view above Barranco Camp, Kilimanjaro. Photo: Dave Hahn

On The Map

2

Wow, what a vista!  Love this blog!  Chris and Jeff, keep breathing!!

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Posted by: Joan on 9/20/2013 at 6:16 am

Awesome descriptions of the climb. I can really visualize it. Sorry you’re getting rained on!

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Posted by: Mara on 9/19/2013 at 10:48 am


Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Settle in at Karanga Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn | September 20, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro
Elevation: 14,500'

Our first steps out of the Barranco Camp at 8:30 this morning brought us to the Great Barranco Wall.  It can be an intimidating feature when seen from a distance as it appears to be just that… a wall.  But there is a trail of ledges and handholds and well-worn steps over the lava outcroppings that can work just fine for scaling the wall. Our entire team was climbing well and strong and as it turned out, our main concern was traffic.  It was rush hour on the wall.  Hundreds of porters and climbers from other teams were all trying to squeeze through the ledges at the same time.  Things eased by the halfway point as the crowd spread and we were able to concentrate on the big steps.  We were up the wall in about an hour and onto much easier hiking.  We’d enjoyed some pretty decent views upward toward Kilimanjaro’s main peak earlier in the day, but we were still seeing nothing below but a sea of clouds.  Gradually we came to be under a giant umbrella of cloud centered on the summit.  It was a relatively short time before we dropped into the Karanga Valley and climbed out its steep opposite side to walk into Karanga Camp.  We are all getting into a pretty smooth routine now of breaking camp, climbing and then moving into new camps.  We sheltered in our tents for some light afternoon rain showers, and were happy to come together in the roomy dining dome for afternoon tea and dinner.  Partial clearing after dinner allowed great views of the lights of Moshi, glowing far below.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Barranco Wall traffic. Photo: Dave Hahn The team moves through the Barranco Wall upper steps. Photo: Dave Hahn

On The Map

4

It’s a great accomplishment for all of you.  You did it Liz & Kym!  Woof & Marj

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Posted by: Marjorie Schupbach on 9/21/2013 at 2:26 pm

Hi Sis! I hope you are having a great time up there, I just wanted to tell you that Mom and I are always thinking about you and woof woof… read more

Posted by: John S on 9/21/2013 at 8:19 am


Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team at High Camp, Ready for Summit Bid

Posted by: Dave Hahn | September 21, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro
Elevation: 15,000'

We were treated to a clear view of the upper mountain this morning, which was spectacular and short-lived.  Thick clouds were forming by our 8:30 AM departure for high camp.  We quickly got above the upper limit of any significant vegetation and so when the clouds came in close around us, there really wasn’t much to see.  Lava and pumice.  We were on a great stairmaster, and so we patiently did our exercise.  It took just 2.5 hours to climb the 2,000 vertical feet to Barafu (“ice” in Swahili) Camp.  Timing was exquisite as persistent and heavy sleet began to fall.  Our excellent support staff had built a fine camp for us to shelter in.  We rested, ate, drank and got ready for our main event.  We are in bed early and trying to manage our excitement for a midnight start to a big summit day.  The sleet has quit and the stage is set. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Dave Hahn and team en route as they leave Karanga Camp. Photo: Dave Hahn

On The Map


Kilimanjaro: Dave Hahn & Team Summit!

Posted by: Dave Hahn | September 21, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro
Elevation: 19,340'

RMI Expeditions, this is Dave Hahn with the Kilimanjaro climb. 100% of the team up on top of Uhuru, highest point in Africa!  Beautiful day! Do you hear this team? [Shouts in the background.] Sunshine, blue sky, great friends, great team, nice and safe. We’ll call you when we get back to camp. Thank you.

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Sunrise at 18,000' on Kilimanjaro. Photo: Casey Grom


Dave Hahn calls from the Roof of Africa.

On The Map

6

Thanks for sharing this beautiful view of creation!!!

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Posted by: Joanne on 9/22/2013 at 12:31 pm

Congratulations!! Liz & Kym we’re thankful that you had a clear view at the top after all of that blood, sweat & tears. I bet that Safari is starting to… read more

Posted by: John Schupbach on 9/22/2013 at 9:16 am


Mt. Kilimanjaro: Making Their Summit Attempt

Posted by: Dave Hahn | September 22, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro
Elevation: 10,000'

As planned, the climbing team was up at midnight and on the trail shortly after 1 AM.  There were stars and a big bright moon, but plenty of clouds as well.  It was tough to know just what we could expect in the weather department.  Yesterday afternoon and evening had produced a couple of inches of new snow on the ground, starting just uphill from our camp.  We set out walking in it.  The best thing was that there was no wind.  We made pretty good time, stopping roughly every hour to rest.  Predictably, it was tough going.  It was dark, unrelentingly steep, and progressively colder as we ascended.  We were breaking altitude records for a number of the team.  But we had extremely good and capable help from our guide team.  Freddy Kileo’s crew of Vendelin, Francis, Eliapenda and Kundasai, along with Oswald, really came through.  Everyone felt challenged by the climb, but the team rallied in the face of all the difficulty and discomfort.  We pulled up onto Stella Point on the crater rim just at sunrise, which was stunning.  But at Stella, we also got hit with some pretty mean wind gusts.  We pushed on toward Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa, and conditions improved.  We weren’t alone up there on this beautiful day, but we weren’t paying too much attention to other teams.  There was excitement and pride in the fact that our entire team had made it to the top.  We shot some happy pics and shook hands and hugged.  Chris and Jeffrey Hendricks celebrated their one year anniversary on the summit.
We didn’t spend too long at 19,340 ft above sea level. It was cold and we wanted to get down to more abundant oxygen.  Leaving the top at 7:30, we were back down to Barafu Camp by 10:30.  We brunched, packed our bags and got on the trail again.  In the course of the afternoon we dropped another 5,000 vertical feet to 10,000 at the Mweka Camp.  We are back in the giant heather zone and looking forward to finishing the descent tomorrow. 

Best Regards
RMI Guides Dave Hahn

An RMI Team en route to the summit of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania (19,340 ft) Looking up toward the summit of Kilimanjaro, Uhuru Peak.  Photo: Dave Hahn

On The Map

3

What a great accomplishment!  Congratulations to everyone.  Happy one year, Chris and Jeff!  I’m trying some wedding cake in remembrance.

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Posted by: Joan on 9/22/2013 at 8:31 pm

So awesome! Chris and Jeff, an anniversary to remember! love, margit

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Posted by: Margit Liesche on 9/22/2013 at 5:46 pm


Mt. Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Reach Mweka Gate

Posted by: Dave Hahn | September 23, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Hard to believe we were at 10,000’ in the “Giant Heather Zone” just this morning.  We had a big blue sky overhead, which hasn’t been exactly common on this trip.  It rained at some point in the night, cleaning the dust out of the air and making everything fresh and new.  After breakfast, we watched as our 57-man support team sang and danced through an excellent song about our shared adventure.  We were once again amazed at the talents of our porters, cooks, guides and camp staff.  The morning hike down 4000’ to the Mweka Gate of Kilimanjaro National Park was easy, by our standards.  We quickly got into the forest zone and the big trees and listened to birds singing as we walked.  We reached the end of our climbing trip by mid-morning and were amazed and surprised to sit down to a fine outdoor picnic set up for us at the park gate.  The ride back down through Moshi and along the highway toward Arusha kept each of us glued to the windows, gazing at people, shops, farms and Tanzania in general.  Coming back to the Dik Dik Hotel was quite relaxing.  We were greeted as friends by the staff and made very welcome.  It was an afternoon of showers and catching up with the electronic world.  Our victory dinner was a chance to take stock of the trip so far and an opportunity to say goodbye to Richard and Kurenai who will fly out tomorrow as the rest of us go on safari.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

The RMI September 14th Kilimanjaro team descending from Barafu Camp (high camp) to Mweka Camp.  Photo: Dave Hahn

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