Entries From Kilimanjaro 9-14-13

Kilimanjaro: Hahn’s Team Ends with a Roar

Posted by: Dave Hahn | September 27, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Kikoti Camp was perfect last night. The team was refreshed and happy as we set out on our final day. Our course took us back through Tarangire National Park where we saw three young lionesses, a hunting leopard, a couple hundred elephants of all sizes, a thousand zebras and a heck of a lot of outstanding birds.  By midday we’d left the park and were on the road to Arusha.  Back at the lush and relaxing grounds of the Dik Dik Hotel, we rested, repacked and got ready to go our separate ways.  We enjoyed a last dinner and a few more laughs together before jumping into the bus for the airport.  Until next climb…

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Kikoti Camp. Photo: RMI Collection An elephant in Tarangire National Park. Photo: Jeff Martin
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Thank you to Mr. Hahn, the porters, and everyone at the various hotels for taking such good care of our climbers. You guys are awesome. I don’t think Eric will… read more

Posted by: Mara on 9/27/2013 at 6:33 pm

Congratulations Jeff and Meredith! Well done and safe home from all of here in Toronto.
Alexa

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Posted by: Alexa Colenbrander on 9/27/2013 at 11:49 am


Mt. Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Explore Tarangire National Park

Posted by: Dave Hahn | September 26, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

We explored the sixth largest national park in Tanzania today.  Tarangire is a year-round, dependable water-source for thousands of elephants.  We saw families big and small of pachyderms, but also wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, gazelles and antelope.  The birders in the team wee kept quite busy ID-ing “new” flappers.  We roamed the savanna for hours with each former climber standing half out the open back of a land-cruiser, looking hard for the next stunning wildlife display.  The land we explored is essentially a wide-open baobab forest cut by a number of rivers.  Up one of those giant baobabs we spied a cat… upon closer inspection that cat -a large civet- turned out to be dead.  This got us looking a bit closer at the other branches of the humongous tree, where finally we discovered a sleeping leopard.  We tried to imagine the strength and skill that had gone into this leopard making a kill and then dragging his kill in his teeth while climbing twenty feet vertically up the wall-like trunk of a tree.  He’d stashed the kill in a fork well off the ground to keep scavengers from bothering it while he… Or she… Took a well deserved nap.
At the end of the day, we exited the park and made a short drive to Kikoti Camp… A comfortable lodge just east of the park boundary.  We watched Maasai tribesmen start a fire without matches and then perform a welcome dance for us. We joined in, eventually, in trying to jump higher.
We’ll get a little more chance to see wildlife in the morning on the way back through the park.
Hard to believe that we’ll begin our final day together.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Exploring the giant baobab trees of Tarangire National Park.  Photo: Dave Hahn Maasai tribesmen start a fire without matches at the Kikoti Camp.  Photo: Dave Hahn Tarangire National Park, Tanzania.  Photo: Dave Hahn

Mt. Kilimanjaro: Exploring the Ngorongoro Crater

Posted by: Dave Hahn | September 25, 2013
Categories:

If it weren’t for the spectacular wildlife within the great Ngorongoro caldera, we’d spend the day fascinated by the geography anyway.  We were up on the crater rim in dense cloud this morning, with just a hint of the vastness of the interior to this collapsed volcano.  But as we traversed the rim, we were granted better views of the expanses within.  Driving down in, we began to see “spots” and “dots” that gradually took shape as wildebeest, zebra and Cape buffalo.  We spent the day driving from one side of the crater to another, stopping for lions, jackals, hippos, rhinoceros, and birds great and small.  We began to see so many species that we seemed to stop taking notice of things like zebra and gazelle, which until yesterday had seemed exotic.  We watched a pair of ostrich, out on a date.  We saw seven lionesses conked out and sleeping within feet of the road.  We saw old and solitary bull elephants, wandering amongst bull elephant skeletons.  We saw warthogs and hyenas and herd after herd of wildebeest and zebra.  We saw male lions, fat and happy to be lounging about in the sun while every other animal wandered around them in wide circles.  After a picnic lunch near a lagoon full of hippos, we checked out a few more corners of the crater and then headed up the wall for our exit.  On the rim, we visited a Masai village and learned how the tribe manages to hold onto traditions while preparing their children for the modern world.  And then it was back to the luxurious Plantation Lodge for the evening.  Tomorrow, Tarangire National Park.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Wildebeests of the Ngorongoro Crater.  Photo: RMI Collection Enjoying lunch in the Ngorongoro Crater.  Photo: RMI Collection A visit to a Masai Village.  Photo: RMI Collection
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Yay, more photos! Beautiful! I’m so glad you have great weather.

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Posted by: Mara on 9/25/2013 at 1:59 pm


Mt. Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Enjoy a Slower Pace As They Begin on Safari

Posted by: Dave Hahn | September 24, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Talk about shifting gears… we went from climbing to cruising, just like that.  Today we got on the road shortly after 8 AM and briefly toured the outskirts of Arusha before heading out across the Rift Valley of Tanzania.  Our goal for the day was a tour of the the Lake Manyara National Park.  To get there we traveled in two modified land rovers, gazing out the windows at Masai tribesmen and their animal herds along the highway.  We reached the park at about noon and had a relaxing lunch under the big trees, keeping an eye peeled on the surrounding forest for whichever beasts might also be contemplating lunch.  As it turned out, there were just a few monkeys and birds checking us out.  After lunch, we toured the park’s dirt roads, checking out giraffes, baboons, zebras, wildebeest and warthogs.  We spied a couple of elephants and plenty of exotic birds, but we didn’t see big cats or hippos.  There is always tomorrow… which for us is an expedition to the Ngorongoro Crater.  Tonight though, is not to be rushed.  An evening at the luxurious and tranquil Plantation Lodge.  We’ll get in our open topped safari vehicles again at the crack of dawn, hunting for big game.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Game viewing in Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania.  Photo: RMI Collection

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

On The Map


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

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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


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

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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


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: 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

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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


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


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