Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Reach Summit, Uhuru Peak
We’re down at Mweka Camp, in the trees at close to 10,000 ft. A long way from this morning’s summit. And an even greater leap from where we started the day at Barafu Camp.
We actually started the day yesterday -at 11:30 PM. As usual, we didn’t all get great sleep ahead of the summit bid. Those of us lying awake in our pitch black tent interiors got to listen to persistent rain showers rattling on our shelters. When the alarms went off and we got outside, we found ourselves in a wet cloud… but very near the top of it since we could see stars overhead. We ate our midnight “breakfast” and got walking behind Naiman at 12:35 AM. The clouds washed in and out at our level a few more times in that first hour of climbing, but ultimately we got above it all and had a fabulous night for stars. The moon came up as a perfectly oriented smile on the horizon. We had no ability to capture the image, so it was just something to enjoy thoroughly in the moment as we trudged in line up the rough rock path. As expected, life got colder as we climbed higher. We took short rest breaks and put on every stitch of clothing we had. The sun finally came up once we were hitting 18,000 ft and life got easier (and more beautiful) as we reached the crater rim at Stella Pt by 7:05 AM. The walk along the crater to Uhuru was amazing. Rain in the area had cleared the ever-present haze and so we could see a good chunk of Tanzania that normally stays hidden from above. We hit Uhuru at 8 AM and our timing was excellent. We had the top to ourselves -another rarity- which we took full advantage of. Twenty five minutes later we were headed downhill. The descent was smooth and we made fine progress (with ample help from our amazing staff). We got back to High Camp at 11 AM. Tosha cooked us up a great “brunch” which fortified us for packing and bailing out of high camp by 12:40. The descent to Mweka was mostly in murky cloud, and it must be admitted that we all just wanted it to be done, the trail is rocky and requires a ton of concentration (tough to come by 15 hours into a summit day). We rolled in just after 4 PM and the fine camp waiting for us made every inch of the descent worth it. This will be our last night on the mountain… it seems likely that nobody will have trouble sleeping.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
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August 26, 2019