Entries By jeff martin

Mt. Elbrus: Northside Team Arrives at Basecamp

Posted by: Jeff Martin, Pete Van Deventer | August 05, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Northside
Elevation: 8,300'

Greetings from Elbrus Basecamp,

We completed our last leg of travel today and reached Basecamp. The day started with a nice breakfast served in our rooms at the hotel, and then we loaded up the vehicles one last time and headed towards the mountain. In recent years, there has been a lot of road improvements so much of the drive is now paved. The last 8 miles though is still the same with huge mud holes, deep ruts, and very steep drop offs. Since it has been raining the last few days, the road was extra slick and this changed what would have been a 15 minute ride into a very entertaining two hours. We ended up walking down while another vehicle carried our gear. As luck would have it, that vehicle broke an axle so we went back to the vehicle to carry it ourselves. After we arrived at the jeep, we learned that another vehicle had been found so we walked back to basecamp. It was raining the whole time and without our gear it is a little difficult to set up a camp. We were finally reunited with our gear and we moved into a nice camp.
The driver who helped us out today ended up cooking us dinner. We walked back down the same path for the third time today to his shack. He was waiting for us and motioned us into his home. He had obviously been cooking since we last saw him and we were first offered a local milk drink that tasted like yogurt, drank from a communal cup, then steaming hot bread, and finally a whole pot of lamb and potatoes. It was a delicious meal and an experience we will not soon forget.

Now it is off it bed so we are ready for our carry day tomorrow.

Best,

RMI Guides Jeff, Pete & Team

The Northside view of Mt. Elbrus. RMI Photo Collection

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Mt. Elbrus: North Side Team Arrives in Kislovodsk

Posted by: Jeff Martin, Pete Van Deventer | August 04, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Northside

Hello from Kislovodsk,
As planned, we had an early start this morning, leaving our hotel at 5:45 to drive to the domestic airport. With all our bags checked we boarded the plane and flew south to Mineralyne Vody, the main airport in the Caucasus region. Then it was an hour drive to the resort town of Kislovodsk. Best known for its spas, many Russians come here to take a break from the big city life in Moscow. But we did not come here for the spas. We are here because it is the last town before we drive into the mountains. We spent the afternoon going through all of our gear, making sure we had everything needed for the climb and this team is ready.
Tomorrow we will finally see Elbrus for the first time as we approach Basecamp. We are all excited to be ending our travels and beginning the climb.

All the best,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

The RMI August 1st North Side Mt. Elbrus team at dinner in Kislovodsk, Russia.  Photo: Pete Van Deventer

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Mt. Elbrus: Northside team tours Moscow

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Jeff Martin | August 03, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Northside

We had a great first day in Moscow.  It started with a short walk to the heart of Russia - Red Square and the Kremlin. First up was Lenin’s Tomb. It is sort of an eerie experience seeing an embalmed man who has been dead for so many years, but definitely worth it. The trick is to move just slow enough through the viewing room that you do not get the guards’ attention and be told to move ahead. After exiting the tomb, we met up with our tour guide who lead us on a grand tour through Saint Basil’s Cathedral, the GUM, Red Square, and finally the Kremlin. The day was certainly a mini history lesson of the czars and rulers of Russia, and of wars and power struggles, and Moscow has been around for almost a 1000 years so it gets a little complicated.

After the tour of the Kremlin and feeling like we were close to information overload, we started our walk back to the hotel for a little down time. We are back from dinner now and heading to bed so that we can leave early in the morning for our flight to our next town - Kislovodsk. We’ll check in once we get settled there.

Best,

RMI Guides Jeff Martin and Pete Van Deventer

Red Square in Moscow. Photo: Pete Van Deventer

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Mt. Elbrus: Northside Team Arrives in Moscow

Posted by: Jeff Martin, Pete Van Deventer | August 02, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Northside

Greetings from Moscow,

The team arrived in Moscow today and our Russian adventure has officially begun!
There are no more trips to the store to buy that last minute item that you think you might need to bring just in case, no more chances to clear off your desk of the last few remaining to-do items. It is go time. We are headed for Mt. Elbrus.
But before we fly south, we are going to explore Moscow tomorrow and all it’s amazing sights. And we will get a big dose of Russian culture, food and history along the way. The perfect introduction to this country.

RMI Guides Jeff Martin and Pete Van Deventer

Mt. Elbrus from the northside route. Photo: RMI Collection

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Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Check in from Kikoti Camp

Posted by: Jeff Martin | February 20, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Hello from Kikoti Camp,

It was another amazing day on safari. We left the Plantation Lodge this morning and headed south to the last park we will visit on our safari, Tarangire National Park. En route, we stopped at a few curio shops to get gifts for our family and friends back home. Wood animal carvings, Maasai blankets, African masks, carved bowls, and few paintings will all make the journey home.

Once we got into the park, the game viewing was a little slow at first. Our luck certainly changed after lunch. Not only did we see a leopard, we also saw a female cheetah with three cubs, several big elephant herds, giraffes, warthogs, and even a unicorn. Actually it was Thompson Gazelle that lost a horn, but from a distance, it definitely looked like a unicorn.We have seen a lot of animals the last few days and covered a lot of beautiful miles. We are now at our last lodge, a luxury tented camp right on the edge of Tarangire. The views are incredible and the sounds around camp remind us that we really are out in the African bush.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and what a perfect spot for our last night in Tanzania. Tomorrow, we drive back to Arusha, pick up our climbing gear and head to the airport for our flights back home.
From literally the snows of Kilimanjaro to the African plains, this has been a hell of a trip. Thank you again to those who checked in daily to read our dispatches and to everyone who left the motivating comments while we were on the mountain.

Best regards,

RMI Guide Jeff Martin & Team

A Giraffe in Tarangire National Park. RMI Photo Collection Kikoti Camp. RMI Photo Collection

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Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Visit the Ngorongoro Crater

Posted by: Jeff Martin | February 19, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Hello from the Plantation Lodge,

The Ngorongoro Crater did not disappoint today. In fact, it was a five star day! We started off early so we could spend the whole day down in the Crater. The first sighting was a big bull elephant, followed by seeing 5 black rhinos, a pride of 7 lions, a lone male lion, many hippos including a hippo out if the water and three hippos that were 15’ away from us at our lunch spot. Hyenas, baby jackals, and Grant and Thompson Gazelles, plus all the other animals we saw yesterday, but in even greater numbers.

The grass in the Crater is really green because of the recent rains, and the animals were everywhere. After we were almost cross-eyed from looking at all the animals, we headed up to the rim of the crater and went to a Maasai Village. The Massai are a tribe of 70 different clans, totaling almost 55,000 people. They inhabit the land around Ngorongoro and to the north into Kenya. They are trying hard to live in their traditional ways but still exist in a modern world. This was our opportunity to see first hand how they are doing it.

It was definitely a very full day. Now we are back at the lodge, just finished dinner and making our plans for tomorrow. We’ll head south to Tarangire National Park for our final two days of safari. Still on the list of animals to see - a leopard.

Best regards,

RMI Guide Jeff Martin & Team

Kilimanjaro Team on Safari. Photo: Jeff Martin Game Viewing on Safari. Photo: Jeff Martin Maasai People. Photo: Jeff Martin

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Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Begin Their Safari at Lake Manyara National Park

Posted by: Jeff Martin | February 18, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Hello from the Plantation Lodge,

We had a great day today at Lake Manyara National Park. Located about two hours from Arusha, it is the first stop on our safari circuit. This is a hidden gem of a park as most people only drive right by it on the way to the bigger named parks. It is the perfect introduction to how to safari, getting us oriented to many of the different animal species and habitats, as well as figuring out how to get some really good pictures.
We had some excitement during our “bush” lunch when a troop of 60 baboons passed right by us, and three of the males caused quite a ruckus when they began fighting over one of the female baboons.
There were lots of elephants today, giraffes, monkeys, hippos, dik diks, warthogs, wildebeests, and ostriches. The list goes on and it was a very successful day.
We are now at the Plantation Lodge, a wonderful small lodge that sits on the highlands above the Great Rift Valley. It’s absolutely beautiful here and they have thought of every detail in making this one of the best lodges in the area.
Tomorrow we are off to Ngorongoro Crater, where we will see what most consider as the eighth wonder of the world.

Best regards,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

The Kilimanjaro team ready for the Lake Manyara safari. Photo: Jeff Martin A baboon at Lake Manyara National Park. Photo: Jeff Martin An elephant at Lake Manyara National Park. Photo: Casey Grom

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Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Back at the Dik Dik to Celebrate their Success

Posted by: Jeff Martin | February 17, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Hello from the Dik Dik,

Our mountain adventure ended today with 10 very happy climbers. Even though we had a very long day yesterday, the team wanted to get an early start and hike down to the Mweka Gate. You could tell that everyone wanted showers as we made record time descending the 4,400’ to the end of the trail. You can feel it is the last day as porters are ready to get paid, and the climbers are still on the high of summiting yesterday. We had a big lunch spread waiting for us at the gate and then we tipped out our mountain crew for all their hard work over the last seven days.

Now we are back at the hotel and sitting down for drinks before our celebration dinner. We are all cleaned up and have packed away all our mountain gear.

Tomorrow we are heading out on our safari. The perfect way to recover from the physical effort expended to reach the top of Kilimanjaro. First stop is Lake Manyara!

Best regards,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

Martin & Team at the end of the trail. Photo: Jeff Martin The team ready to celebrate their summit success! Photo: Jeff Martin

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Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Summit!

Posted by: Jeff Martin | February 16, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro
Elevation: 19,340'

Hello from Mweka Camp,

We did it! The entire team made it to Uhuru Peak, the Roof of Africa, this morning at 7:30 am. But there were no gimmes today, we fought hard for every step. What started out as fairly decent weather when we woke up, quickly changed as we were about two hours into our climb. At first, it began snowing lightly, but the higher we climbed, the harder the snow fell. The trail was completely covered by the time we reached 18,000’. By Stella Point, the crater rim, it was blowing about 30 mph and 4-6 inches of snow had fallen. Definitely not your typical summit day. Despite the challenges of the weather, the team did great today.

We left camp at 12:50 am and were on top at 7:30 am. We only spent about 10 minutes at the summit sign, and then it was time to get back down. The fresh snow made for an interesting descent, and new snow had fallen all the way back to high camp.

After changing out of our summit gear, we re-packed our duffels and headed down to Mweka Camp, 5000’ below us. We arrived in camp just before 5:00 PM, and our 17-hour day is now over. We are all tried, but in great spirits and looking forward to a good night’s rest.

Best regards,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

An RMI team on Kilimanjaro summit day. Photo: RMI Collection 2/16/2014 - Martin & Team on the Kilimanjaro summit. 2/16/2014 - The Portland crew on the Kilimanjaro summit.

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Congrats Tracey, Sarah, Chris, Holly, and Eric!!  Way to go!  Now comes Yellowstone on steroids intermixed with awesome lodging and food.  Yeah, it’s rough ;-)  Have a great rest of… read more

Posted by: Conor C on 2/16/2014 at 11:23 am

Don:  I couldn’t be prouder of you!  I can’t wait to hear about it.

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Posted by: Connie on 2/16/2014 at 10:01 am


Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Ready for Summit Bid

Posted by: Jeff Martin | February 15, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro
Elevation: 15,000'

Hello from Barafu Camp,

We are at our high camp and ready for our summit attempt tomorrow! The team did great again today and everybody is excited to be here at 15,000’.
Today was a relatively short hiking day, climbing about 2,000’ in just under three hours and reaching camp before noon. This is another great benefit to the Machame Route. Having a short day right before summit day allows us plenty of time to rest, hydrate, pack and get to bed early all in preparation of tomorrow. We’ll have dinner at 5:00 and then hopefully be in bed by 6:30 at the latest. Most of us probably won’t sleep much, but our bodies will get enough rest we need for the long day ahead.
The alarm is set for 11:45 pm, and the plan is to be walking out of camp around 12:45. About seven hours later, we should be standing on top of Kilimanjaro. Wish us luck and we will try and give a call tomorrow from the summit.

Best regards,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

The trail leading to High Camp on Kilimanjaro. Photo: Jeff Martin Seth Waterfall's team at a rest break overlooking Kilimanjaro. Photo: Seth Waterfall

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