Entries By jeff martin

Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Greetings from Shira Camp

Posted by: Jeff Martin | January 29, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro
Elevation: 12,500'

Hello from Shira Camp,

When we woke up this morning, it was crystal clear and the mountain was completely visible. The group wasted no time packing up camp and we were walking by 8:00. With the early start we completely avoided all the trail traffic and pretty much had it to ourselves for most of the day. We gained about 2,500’ total, reaching our high point at 12,500’. Everyone did extremely well today with both the terrain and the altitude. We stopped en route for a nice lunch before traversing up to the west to gain the Shira Plateau. We were in camp by 1:00 and had the whole afternoon to enjoy our new camp. We mostly sat around the dining tent talking about past adventures and tried our best to keep up with the tea and snacks that were being delivered non-stop.  We’ll head back to the dining tent around 6:00 for dinner and then settle into our tents for the evening.

Tomorrow is going to be a big day for us as we are trekking to almost 15,000’. Lava Tower will be the high point for tomorrow, and then we will begin our descent to Barranco Camp. Even though we are gaining almost 2,500’ in the morning, we will be back to almost the same altitude that we are right now. And this is exactly what our bodies need and is key for proper acclimatization. We are ready for the challenge!

Best regards,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

Ascending above the forest on the second day of the climb. Photo: Jeff Martin Our second night's camp, Shira Camp, overlooking Mt. Meru. Photo: Jeff Martin

On The Map

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Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Settled in at Machame Camp

Posted by: Jeff Martin | January 28, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro
Elevation: 9,800'

Greetings from Machame Camp,

We could not have had a better day today! This was the first day on the trail and the group did great. We had the trail to ourselves and perfect weather. We heard some very distant thunder but made it to camp without any rain. It was barely an hour later when some light rain started to fall, but fortunately we were already warm and dry in our dining tent, snacking on some tea and popcorn.

We started the day at 6,000’ and made it up to camp in just under 4 1/2 hours, a solid pace.  We are now settled in at camp and the mountain is teasing us with grand views as the clouds roll in and out. The team is feeling really strong and happy to finally be on the mountain.

Best regards,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

Jeff Martin & Team ready to begin their trek. Photo: Jeff Martin

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Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team’s Gear is Packed and Ready for the Trek

Posted by: Jeff Martin | January 27, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Jambo,

We are now a full team. Our last climber was delayed in getting here last night but was able to re-route through Nairobi and arrived here by mid-day.

This morning we focused on getting ready to leave for the mountain tomorrow. Everybody went through their gear one last time to ensure that nothing was missed and more importantly, to make sure that the kitchen sink was not thrown in by accident. We enjoyed the rest of the day hanging out at the pool and exploring the area around our hotel. We just finished an incredible five-course meal, and are frantically writing a few last emails before going to bed.

We head to the Machame Gate (6,000’) in the morning and will be checking in from Machame Camp (10,000’) tomorrow night.  Now with the months of training and planning behind us, we are just a few hours from starting our climb.  Everybody is excited to get on the trail tomorrow and ready for the challenge that lies ahead.

Best regards,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

Gear sorted and ready to begin the trek. Photo: Jeff Martin A Birds of Paradise Flower in the Dik Dik Hotel gardens. Photo: Jeff Martin

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Kilimanjaro: Jeff Martin & Team Arrive in Tanzania

Posted by: Jeff Martin | January 26, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Greetings from Arusha, Tanzania,

Our Kilimanjaro climb has officially started! After some quick introductions and a champagne toast, it was time to complete the very last leg of our long travels - a short drive to our hotel.

We had a nice three-course meal waiting for us when we arrived and we sat out on the patio enjoying the fine dining and the sights and sounds of a new destination.

We are waiting for one more climber to join the team later tonight, and then we will start tomorrow with a team meeting after breakfast, discussing all the details of our climb.

La la salama (good night),
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

Our rooms at the Dik Dik Hotel, near the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Photo: Jeff Martin

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Vinson Massif Expedition:  Team #2 Flies to Union Glacier

Posted by: Jeff Martin | December 05, 2013
Categories:

We had an early wake up call this morning and were down in the hotel lobby by 4:30 am. The word was that the weather was cooperating and the flight would go as scheduled. We loaded up into the bus and headed out. We had a few more climbers to pickup on the way to the airport and then we went into the terminal for the standard boarding process. As we mentioned yesterday, there was going to be a stop en route to Union Glacier to re-fuel. This was the first time that this was done by our outfitter and it went very smoothly, only adding a little more time the flight. The group landed at Union Glacier around 2:00 pm local time. Now they are settled in and are enjoying their first night on the ice.
The plan now is for the team to spend a day or two at Union Glacier and then fly to Vinson Basecamp where they will meet up with Dave Hahn.
We might not get a dispatch out while the team is at Union Glacier, but will definitely dispatch once they start their climb.
Best regards,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

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Vinson Massif Expedition: Team #2 Readies for Flight

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Jeff Martin | December 04, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif

Hello,
We had our pre-flight briefing this morning at 10:30 am. There were about 20 climbers from all over the world who met up at the ALE office in Punta Arenas for this very informative presentation about what will be happening over the next day or so. One of ALE’s owners,  Mike Sharp, covered all the details regarding our 4 1/2 hour flight down to Union Glacier. We learned that due to construction on the runway here at Punta Arenas, there is not enough distance on the runway for our plane to take off fully loaded. The solution: take off with only half the fuel needed for the trip and fly a short distance to Ushuaia, Argentina and top off the tanks. And by topping off the tanks, we are talking 40 tons of fuel. It will add a little time to our flight, but there’s no refueling options on the 3800 mile round trip flight to Antarctica.
The plan now stands as us getting picked up at our hotel tomorrow morning at 4:45 am and heading out to the airport. They have already picked up our luggage and it will be loaded on the plane tonight and ready for our early departure.
Remember, it’s only a plan at this point, as there are still a few big unknowns, mainly the weather at Union Glacier. Winds with blowing snow and poor visibility will mean that we will stay put for another day or two. But the forecast is looking favorable and we are ready to fly out whenever we get the green light.
Tonight we ventured off the usual circuit of restaurants and found a local’s hangout. The food was great and we have Bill to thank for picking up the tab this time. Now it’s early to bed because it will be early when we rise.
Hopefully the next dispatch will be from Antarctica!
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

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Vinson Massif: Team 2 Spends the Day Checking Gear & Sightseeing

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Jeff Martin | December 03, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif

Greetings from Punta Arenas,

This was our first full day in this southern port city and we made the most of it. After a nice breakfast we jumped right into the task at hand - final gear preparations for our flight to Antarctica. Packing for an expedition to the coldest and most remote place on earth takes a little more planning and effort than a weekend getaway. So we spread out all of our gear to check to make sure that no item was forgotten and that we resisted the temptation to throw in too many “extras”. Punta Arenas is the last chance we have to buy anything, but luckily the shopping list was pretty short after the equipment check. A few more snack items for some, and we were pretty much ready for our flight.

We had the afternoon to hang out at our hotel and a chance to walk around town a little and take in some of the sights. We ended the day at the La Luna restaurant for dinner. A big thank you to Larry for buying us all dinner and drinks. It was a delicious meal!

We have a pre-flight briefing in the morning and we will check in once we hear about our flight plan.

Best regards,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

Vinson Team 2 sightseeing in Punta Arenas. Photo: Jeff Martin

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Vinson Massif:  Team #2 Arrives Punta Arenas

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Jeff Martin | December 02, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif

Our second RMI Vinson Expedition is officially underway! The team all arrived this afternoon in Punta Arenas. Despite the long miles travelled in crowded planes, immigration lines, and the scrutiny of the custom’s agents, everyone made it with their luggage.
After a quick check-in at our hotel, we immediately headed off to dinner at the very popular La Marmita, where we dined on some of the best fresh and local food around. The restaurant was packed as usual, but we got right in and had a great meal.
It’s almost 11:00 pm now, and still light outside. The weather has been cold, rainy and windy in town the last few days, but that won’t really affect our plans as we will be spending the majority of time finalizing our preparations for our flight to Union Glacier. But now we have to do is relax and focus on getting a good night’s sleep.
We’ll check in tomorrow with our next update.
Best regards,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

The RMI Team gathers in Punta Arenas.  Photo: Jeff Martin

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Kilimanjaro: Team Simba Sita Completes The Big Five at Tarangire

Posted by: Jeff Martin | February 23, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Hello from Kikoti Camp,

We had a bit more leisurely start to our day today and we were on the road by 9:00 heading to Tarangire National Park. En route there was a huge downpour, but all the rain stopped by the time we reached the entrance gate. From there, we worked our way south, stopping at every opportunity to view the animals. After yesterday, it seemed like we were in a dry spell because nothing can really compare to the amount of animals you see in one day in Ngorongoro Crater. In Tarangire, you have to find them! The usual suspects were all present, but the day was coming close to an end and we had still not seen a leopard. Then our safari driver decided to take a little detour, and 15 minutes later we were stopped in front of a tree with a leopard resting on a branch about 10 feet off the ground. Our viewing of the “Big Five” was complete. The last sighting of the day was a baby elephant, just a week old, with his mother spraying water on the both of them to help cool off in the afternoon sun. It was incredible.

Now we are at the Kikoti Camp, sitting out on the porch, looking out over the African landscape and listening to all the sounds around us. We’re going to take a short hike before dinner and go out and watch the sun set, and take a few customary “sun downers” to enjoy as the sun dips below the horizon.

Unfortunately, this adventure comes to an end tomorrow, and we start to make our way home. It has been a great trip and we have enjoyed it. Thanks to all of you who posted comments and gave your support for us safely reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro.

RMI Guide Jeff Martin & Team Simba Sita

An elephant in Tarangire National Park. The team's rooms at Kikoti Camp, on the edge of Tarangire National Park. Sunset looking over Tarangire National Park.

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Kilimanjaro: A Visit to the Ngorongoro Crater

Posted by: Jeff Martin | February 22, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Jambo from Plantation Lodge,

When you see Ngorongoro Crater for the first time, it almost leaves you speechless. It is massive; the crater is 26 miles in diameter, and you look down almost 2,000’ to the crater floor. There are countless little black spots scattered throughout the 125 square miles of the crater floor. You can’t really make out what animals they are from this distance, but there are thousands of them, with most estimates claiming 25,000 residents.
We have to drive about 1/2 way around the crater rim before we come to the “descent” road, with impressive views the whole way down.
The luck from yesterday continued today as we saw so many interesting animals. From new born wildebeest and zebras, warthogs, lions and lion cubs, cheetah, cape buffalo, black rhinos, ostrich, elephants, to hippos, and gazelles, we were very fortunate to see them all.
We ended the day with a visit to a Masai village and then headed back to the lodge for a little relaxing time before dinner.
Tomorrow is our last stop on the safari circuit, ending at Tarangire National Park. While not too far away, it is very different from the first two parks we have visited, and should give us our best chance of seeing leopard.

Good night,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

A herd of wildebeest in the Ngorongoro Crater. Photo:  RMI Collection Lunch along the watering hole in the center of the Ngorongoro Crater.  Photo: RMI Collection The team at the edge of the Ngorongoro Crater ready to explore the floor of the crater.  Photo: Jeff Martin

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