Entries By jeff martin

Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Send Valentine’s Day Wishes from Karanga Camp

Posted by: Jeff Martin | February 14, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro
Elevation: 14,500'

Happy Valentine’s Day from Karanga Camp. The Barranco Wall is now well behind us and the group powered right up it without any issues. We decided to switch gears a little with our departure time today. We opted to let the other climbing groups leave before us so we could take our time climbing up the Barranco Wall. It was the right call for today. As a result of the later start, we got to sleep in this morning, not rush through breakfast, and all enjoyed a little extra time in camp. Starting out, the trail is pretty steep, and there are a few rock sections that require some basic scrambling, but once through this section, it is very straightforward walking. We took a quick break about an hour up, then we took another 30 minutes before we were standing on top, looking down at our old camp 900’ below. The clouds were blocking most of the views, but no one complained as we were very lucky to have only clouds and not rain. This would be our high point of the day, and then we continued traversing east towards Karanga Camp. Along the way, we met a group of climbers called Kilimanjaro Warriors. It is a group of ten climbers, six of which are disabled veterans. Seeing these climbers today was both humbling and truly inspiring. For anyone to make this climb is a big accomplishment, but to do it without one leg, or even both legs, is remarkable. We wish them the best of luck with their climb.

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, here are a few wishes from Kilimanjaro:
Happy Valentine’s Day to my family, Tom and his family! Thank you for all the support. Sarah Sending love from Kili! Happy V-day J.W., family and friends. It’s more beautiful than I could have ever imagined - of course I’ve cried every day. Ha!Ha! Tracey Thanks everyone for all the comments. They really help. We are feeling strong and looking forward to summiting in 2 days. We’ll send our love from the top. xoxo. Have to go stretch now (Adam). Chris, Holly, & Eric.
Happy Valentine’s Day Mom & Dad! Thanks for the good genes! Sue Still breathing! Happy Valentine’s Day Meg! Don

Thanks again for all the comments. We will send an update from high camp tomorrow.

Best,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

The team posing in front of Kilimanjaro from Karanga Camp. Photo: Jeff Martin

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Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Reach Barranco Camp

Posted by: Jeff Martin | February 13, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro
Elevation: 14,900'

Hello from Barranco Camp,

The team did great today, and everybody is feeling strong and healthy.

The unsettled weather continues for our third day on the mountain. Last night, the winds started to pick up after we arrived in camp and were still blowing when we woke up this morning. Fortunately, it was only winds today, as we stayed dry all day and the sun made a brief appearance when we got to camp.

We are definitely into our mountain routines, going to bed fairly early and waking up with enough time to pack, eat breakfast, and be walking by 8:00 am. That is exactly what happened this morning.  With packs on we started the climb up the Shira Plateau. We climbed directly towards the mountain for the entire morning, slowly leaving behind all plant life as we got close to Lava Tower camp. It was the first time most of this group had been to 14,900’ and everybody was grinning when we got to our high point. We had some lunch and took a little extra time to just let our bodies feel what it is like being at this altitude. Then we started our descent to Barranco camp, approximately 2000’ below us. This was the first downhill section of the trip so far, and since half of this climb is spent descending, you have to be able to walk downhill efficiently. This group can definitely walk downhill. A couple hours later we were pulling into camp. The highlight of the the day, besides climbing to 14,900’, was the last 15 minutes of walking before we reached camp. Giant Senecios line the trial on both sides and it such a unique plant, that you can’t help to feel that you might be on a different planet. Especially as the clouds roll by blocking out everything around you except for these very strange looking trees.
Once in camp, it was time to get moved into our tents and relax for the afternoon. We are now all accustomed to the snacking and tea drinking that pretty much begins right after we get to camp and ends right before dinner.

Tomorrow we head up the Barranco Wall. It’s hard to miss as it looms above us, but everyone is excited to be standing on top of it by mid-morning.

Best regards,

RMI Guide Jeff Martin & Team

Barranco Camp. RMI Photo Collection The View of Kilimanjaro from Barranco Camp. RMI Photo Collection

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Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Reach Shira Plateau

Posted by: Jeff Martin | February 12, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro
Elevation: 12,200'

Hello from Shira Camp,

It rained a little last night, but when we woke up this morning, the sun was trying to shine through the cloud cover. While the sun never completely came out, we had a dry day with perfect temperatures. The weather even cooperated so that we could have a nice lunch stop along the way to our camp. We got out of camp early today in hopes of getting a little head start and be in front of the other climbers and porters. But we weren’t the only group trying this strategy, and we ended up having a fair amount of trail traffic getting up the first climb out of camp. It’s a narrow trail, so we just took our time and enjoyed the views around us. On the section after lunch, we got to see quite a few flowers starting to bloom, thanks to the recent rains. Usually this is a pretty dry portion of the trail as we traverse west towards the Shira Plateau, but today there were numerous little streams which were all flowing with water. The mountain above us is still covered in the dusting of snow from a few days ago. It is really beautiful and is giving us lots of great pictures.Today was a short day of hiking and we made it to camp with plenty of time to enjoy the Shira Plateau. Of course we had popcorn and other snacks waiting for us when we arrived. And we spent a big chunk of the afternoon snacking, drinking tea, and sharing some stories. A perfect reward for the 2500’ we climbed today.

Tomorrow, we are going to set a bunch of new altitude records when we go to 14,900’, at the base of Lava Tower. Stay tuned for our next dispatch from Barranco Camp.

Best regards,

RMI Guide Jeff Martin and Team

Day 2 on the way to Shira Plateau, Kilimanjaro. Photo: Jeff Martin

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Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team at the First Camp - Machame Camp

Posted by: Jeff Martin | February 11, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro
Elevation: 9,800'

Greetings from Machame Camp,

The missing bag finally showed up last night and we have one very happy climber.  For the last few days the weather has been a little unstable, with some heavy rain showers in the lowlands. But this morning, just as we were approaching the mountain, the clouds started to thin and we saw Kilimanjaro for the first time. After people got over the initial surprise of how big it looks from a distance, it became obvious that the unstable weather we had in town, had covered the mountain with a white blanket of snow. Usually you have to look pretty hard to find snow on the mountain, so this was a pretty cool sight to see. It won’t affect our climb though, as most of it will melt before we reach high camp.

Having left our hotel this morning right on time, we were at the park gate before any of the other climbing groups showed up. We made quick work of taking care of the permits and registration.  And after the final porter’s bag was weighed, we were off and walking.

The weather continued to improve all day and we had perfect temperatures all the way to camp. We walked into camp at 3:30 and got settled into our new accommodations at 10,000’. Everyone did great today on the trail. This group showed up well prepared, and ready for the challenge ahead.

We’ll send out another update tomorrow when we get to Shira Camp.

Best,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

February 8th Kilimanjaro Team ready for the mountain! Photo: Jeff Martin

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Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Spend the Day Preparing for the Climb

Posted by: Jeff Martin | February 10, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Jambo from the Dik Dik,

We are still one bag down, but otherwise this group is ready to leave early tomorrow morning. We did spend the day going through all the details about our climb and what we might expect along the way as ascend the mountain over the next seven days. Next we focused on gear and equipment, discussing the difference between nice to have and need to have, as well as what to pack in our mountain duffel and what is carried in our day packs. This group did an excellent job in bringing all the right gear so we did not have to spend too much time doing the equipment checks and weighing our mountain duffels.

It was raining most of the day, so rather than go out for an afternoon hike, we stayed indoors, with time well spent recovering from the eleven hour time zone difference, and sending out those last few emails before leaving behind the last of the wi-fi connectivity that we will have for the next week.

We sat down for our four-course dinner, and had a special treat tonight. Two of our climbers are celebrating birthdays. The staff prepared a wonderful cake for this occasion and rolled it in on a cart after dinner with all the candles lit up and everybody singing. Our two climbers were definitely surprised.

We have set our alarms for an early wake up, and hope to be driving towards Kilimanjaro National Park by 7:30 am. Tomorrow, we’ll check in from our first camp on the mountain, Machame Camp.

Best regards,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

Two team members receiving birthday wishes in Africa. Photo: Jeff Martin

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Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Arrive in Tanzania

Posted by: Jeff Martin | February 09, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Hello from Usa River, Tanzania,

The daily KLM flight from Amsterdam arrived right on time tonight, and fortunately our entire team made the flight. Not so lucky with all the bags. We have one bag that is still in Amsterdam and will come down on tomorrow’s flight, just in time for us before we leave for the mountain. We are now at the hotel and just finished the best meal that has been served in the last 9,000 + miles of travel.

Tomorrow we’ll start with a full orientation about our Kilimanjaro climb and safari and then work on getting our gear ready and weighed for the mountain. Everyone is excited to finally be here in Africa and beginning this incredible adventure. More to follow tomorrow.

Best regards,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

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

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Kilimanjaro: Team Enjoys Exciting Last Day on Safari

Posted by: Jeff Martin | February 06, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Jambo from Kikoti Camp,

Tarangire National Park did not disappoint us today! There were big herds of elephants all day long, as well as lions, bush bucks, impalas, gazelles, baboons, giraffe, and ostriches. While the park was very active with lots of animals and birds, our time to see a leopard was quickly running out. It was getting pretty late in the day and we almost conceded that it wasn’t meant to be. Fortunately, we decided to take a small detour on the way to our camp, and just before we were going to turn around, we spotted a leopard in a nearby acacia tree. We had an unobstructed view of the leopard, no more than 30 feet away, and took so many pictures that we almost drained our camera batteries.
The real find for the day however, came right before camp when we spotted a pack of wild African dogs. Seeing these dogs is very rare, as they were almost completely wiped out from human pressures in this area, but have been trying to make a small comeback. There were about 15 in total in the pack.
Now we are sitting around the campfire and reminiscing about the animals we saw over the last few days. The stars are out and the sounds of the African night make this the perfect setting for our last night in Tanzania.
Tomorrow we head back to Arusha, pick up our climbing gear and repack for our flights home. Twenty-four hours from now we will be on the plane to Amsterdam and then onto our connecting flights.
It has been a great adventure and everyone will have lots of stories to tell about our climb and safari when they get back home. Thanks again to everyone for following along with our dispatches and for leaving all of your comments.

Best regards,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

RMI's January 25th Kilimanjaro team enjoying their last night in Tanzania.  Photo: Jeff Martin

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Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team enjoy the Ngorongoro Crater

Posted by: Jeff Martin | February 05, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Hello from Plantation Lodge,

We spent the whole day game viewing in Ngorongoro Crater, and it was certainly a highlight for all. The crater itself is massive, and because of the high slopes surrounding the crater and the year round water supply, it is home of about 25,000 resident animals. Needless to say, we added quite a few animals to our list that we started yesterday, including the black rhino. There are only 12 left in this park, and we saw three of them. Hippos, lions, elephants, Cape buffalo, zebras, hyenas, jackals, warthogs, and too many bird species to name, were seen throughout the day.
Once we had our fill of game viewing, we ascending up out of the crater, and went to visit a Maasai village. We were given a tour of the boma and learned all about their simple way of life. It’s pretty amazing that they can continue to live in a traditional way despite all the outside pressures to change into the mainstream culture of Tanzania.

Tomorrow we head out for our last and final park - Tarangire. We still have to see a leopard in order to say that we saw the Big 5. We’ll see what the day has in store for us.

Best regards,

RMI Guide Jeff Martin & Team

The Maasai People. Photo: Jeff Martin

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Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team on Safari at Lake Manyara National Park

Posted by: Jeff Martin | February 04, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Hello from Plantation Lodge,

Today we did not have to break camp or walk anywhere. Instead, we switched out our climbing clothes for cameras and binoculars and started our four-day safari in northern Tanzania. The first stop was Lake Manyara National Park. Created in 1960, and the second designated national park in the country, it is most well known for tree climbing lions. Fortunately, we were not disappointed by the elusive lions. Not too long into our game drive, we spotted four lions who had just finished a big meal and took to the trees to get a little relief from the sun and heat. We were about 15 feet away from one of them, with an unobstructed view of this impressive creature. Just down the road, we came across a big family of elephants that were anything but camera shy. Throughout the day we saw at least 25 different species of animals, which is a real treat for such a small park.

Now we are at the Plantation Lodge, a small luxury lodge, that is located on the highlands above Lake Manyara. It is absolutely beautiful here!

Tomorrow we head to Ngorongoro Crater to see what many call the eighth wonder of the world. We are all excited to see what the day has in store for us.

Best regards,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

Kilimanjaro Team at Lake Manyara National Park. Photo: Jeff Martin Panoramic view at Lake Manyara National Park. Photo: Jeff Martin

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Kilimanjaro: Teams Returns to the Dik Dik After Successful Climb

Posted by: Jeff Martin | February 03, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Hello from the Dik Dik Hotel,

We are off the mountain with a very successful climb behind us. We all went to bed pretty early last night after the long day of climbing, and fell asleep immediately. It was the kind of deep sleep that only comes after being up for almost 24 hours,  being active for most of it, and finishing a goal that has been months in the making.
When we woke up, it was time to pack up camp one last time and head to the park gate. The team was ready to go by 7:45 and 2 1/2 hours later we were signing the registration book at the end of the trail.
The entire team made it to Uhuru Peak on Kilimanjaro so each of us received the gold summit certificate from the National Park. After our celebration ceremony with our guides, camp staff, and porters, we loaded up and drove to our hotel. As soon as we got off the bus, it was time for that long awaited shower and clean clothes. The afternoon went by quickly as we unpacked all our mountain gear and shifted our focus on the packing for the next part of our adventure, a 4-day safari. We leave early tomorrow for Lake Manyara, the first stop on our safari.
We had no communications at Mweka camp last night and we were dying to know who won the Super Bowl. It wasn’t until the gate when we found out that the Seahawks won it big. What a great news. Finally Seattle can claim a victory!

Best regards,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

An RMI team descending from Mweka Camp.  Photo: RMI Collection

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