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Entries from Kilimanjaro


Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Finish Safari and Depart for Home

Well we didn’t beat yesterday for game-viewing, but nobody seemed to mind giving it a try today.  It was great to wake up in Tarangire National Park and get started in the cool of the day with the place to ourselves.  We went down to the edge of a gigantic marsh (a mostly dry marsh at the moment -the rains will come soon) and cruised for cats.  We did see a gigantic lioness hanging out peacefully in the branches of a tree -guarding here recent kill, but not much other action.  Just animals and herds sprinkled about as far as the eye could see.  At midday we left the park and headed toward Arusha, stopping at the cultural center for some culture and keepsakes.  Back at Arumeru River Lodge by three, we thanked Juma and Edson and told them we’d see them on our next Safari.  Then it was time for repacking and gearing up for international flight.  One more great team dinner and we boarded the bus, saying goodbye to the hotel staff and to several of our team who have different flight schedules.  Back now to lines and security and insecurity and schedules… but we’ll have the morning out in a beautiful place to sustain us.  It has been a wonderful adventure, thank you for keeping track of us. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team in Awe at Tarangire National Park

Tarangire delivers!  Hard not to finish this day by pronouncing ourselves lucky in the extreme.  We saw things today… and then we saw more things… and more and more things.  At first, we just did a little touristing when we left the Plantation Lodge, hitting a souvenir/art shop and then visiting a Maasai Village.  This definitely interested us and is not to be minimized, but then we got into Tarangire National Park and began being mesmerized and amazed.  Things built up slowly.  First there was the watering hole with a flood of zebra and wildebeest charging in for a drink.  Then there were the dozens upon dozens of elephants we watched digging for water.  (The proclamation was made -prematurely- that it was the day of the elephant) then there was a landscape where every single tree had a giraffe, eland, waterbuck, impala or warthog under it… for miles.  But then there were the cheetahs.  Mom and cub, majestic and regal in their fur coats.  And then there were the lions.  At first there were a handful from a distance… then more of them, walking away.  Then a meeting of male and females and cubs in the distance.  Then we investigated to find thirteen cats of all sizes going to work on a freshly killed zebra.  The sights and sounds were stunning.  Better than any TV documentary.  Our cameras kept clicking and clicking as the sunlight got golden.  But we’d each put the electronics down to just stare in awe as well.
A short time later, we were sipping pre-dinner cocktails at beautiful Balloon Camp when our driver/naturalists walked in.  Juma and Edson got spontaneous and sustained round of applause. 
The day couldn’t be topped… but it could be savored.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team See an Abundance of Animals at Ngorongoro Crater

We were up early for this big day of the Safari, leaving our comfy hotel at 7 AM to get over to Ngorongoro Crater.  Our Landcruisers clawed their way up the rough dirt road to the crater rim and then we bounced our way around the circle until another dirt track took us down into the collapsed caldera.  Right off, we began seeing wildlife in great numbers and in close proximity.  Before long we were quite used to ostriches and great herds of wildebeest and Cape Buffalo.  We saw a pack of perhaps 20 hyena, barking eerily and crunching the bones of some freshly departed big animal.  We got way closer than we ever imagined was possible to a couple of lionesses and a big male who decided the road would do just fine for napping.  We saw (and got a whiff of) several dozen hippos, wallowing in various ponds.  There were secretary birds and kori bustards, fish eagles and vultures.  Gazelles and zebra were everywhere.  We didn’t manage to spot rhinos, but we did see a few great bull elephants.  The day was fairly hot and sunny until a system of thunderstorms rolled by, cooling things for our afternoon tour.  Then Edson and Juma skillfully brought the cruisers back down the rough roads to our hotel for a relaxing evening at the Plantation Lodge.  Suffice to say that we were blown away by our day inside a volcano.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Switch from Trail to Bush

We switched gears today… waking up -not to hiking/climbing- but to a day of being entertained and educated in the back of a Safari vehicle.  We piled into two modified Toyota Land Cruisers just after 8 AM and left Usa River heading west.  First there was the hustle and bustle of traffic on the outskirts of Arusha.  The city has nearly 2 million inhabitants, so our guide/drivers: Juma and Edson had their work cut out for them getting us out to the wide open countryside beyond the city.  We cruised dusty roads between herds of Maasai tended cattle as we made our way out to Lake Manyara.  This National Park purports to be the home of the tree climbing lions… who weren’t actually home today.  We didn’t see lions, but we saw baboons, blue monkeys, hippos, Cape buffalo, zebras and wildebeest.  The elephants we got to see munching on trees were a highlight, as were about a thousand new species of bird, each accurately identified and described by our amazing guides.  At the end of a fine day out in the bush, we headed for the Plantation Lodge and an evening of relaxation and dinner conversation in an extremely comfortable setting. 
Tomorrow we’ll get up early to see what we can see in Ngorongoro Crater. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Dad you are amazing-shane Fountaine

Posted by: Shane Fountaine on 9/26/2017 at 4:51 pm


Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Return to Arumeru River Lodge

Our last morning on the mountain was an easy and enjoyable one.  Everyone reported getting some real sleep for a change -a great thing about 10,000 feet as opposed to 15,000 feet- and when we woke, the weather was perfect.  After a relaxed breakfast, we gathered outside to meet with our entire staff.  They gave us a wonderful send off, singing and dancing with much laughter as “Bongo” -a porter and talented performer- came out in costume and led the team through a few favorite ballads.  We then distributed tips and tried to verbalize just how grateful we were to the entire staff.  We began walking downhill at 8:30 and soon went from a forest of heather to a jungle of giant trees.  Trail conditions were nice and dry and the walking went well.  We caught sight of velvet monkeys and even a family of colobus monkeys playing in branches overhead.  Making fine progress, we left the park at 11:30.  Our staff hosted a last picnic lunch for the team at a venue just a few minutes down the road from the Mweka Gate, and then our bus took us on the long road back to the Arumeru River Lodge.  We were hoisting “welcome” drinks at 2:30 and heading for showers soon after. The gang that showed up at dinner bore little resemblance to the mob that had checked in.  Hair was clean and beards were gone… clothes were free of dust and grime.  But the team was still recognizable by their smiles.  Earlier we’d been smiling because the hard work had been completed, now we were smiling because of indoor plumbing and electricity and internet and the way things feel so easy after you’ve gone without for a time.  We aren’t done adventuring though… safari begins tomorrow, but we’ll miss Joe, who is flying out tomorrow as planned. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

It’s pure joy to see that look of sweet success on everyone’s face!

Posted by: Steph on 9/25/2017 at 8:07 pm


Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Summit!

Hey, this is Dave Hahn calling from Barafu Camp. We got back here to Barafu at 10:45 this morning. We were on the summit on Uhuru the highest point in Africa. The highest point on Kilimanjaro at 7:35 this morning. It was a little too busy up there this morning to give a call, but now we are catching up. We are back down at high camp. We’re going to finish the day down at Mweka. I will send you a full dispatch then, but everybody is happy and healthy and we got 10 out of 11 to the summit this morning!  So it was a good day with lots of great help from our local staff here.

Thanks. I’ll catch you up later.

Sunday, September 24, 2017 10:12am PST

As promised, a dispatch from Mweka Camp -near 10,000 ft- at the end of our summit day. We set out for the top at 12:35 AM under clear and starry skies. It was a windless night, which is always a plus when climbing in the cold.  Initially we encountered a few other teams starting out of camp, but within an hour or so, we’d put a fair bit of distance between the teams and so had the route pretty much to ourselves. As we gained altitude and got closer to dawn, things got plenty cold -as expected. We kept our rest breaks short and business like and tried to move steadily.  Most reached the point of having all of their cold weather clothing on at once. It was just getting light enough to see as we reached Stella Point on the crater rim.  The sunrise was eagerly anticipated and hit us as we made the walk along the rim to Uhuru -Kilimanjaro’s highest point. By the time we hit the summit at 7:35, things had warmed up nicely.  We spent a half hour on top, checking out the glaciers and the immensity of the crater.  We didn’t have big views as an upper level layer of cloud had formed just below the mountain top.  Descent to Barafu Camp took us just under 3 hours.  A great mid morning meal in the mess tent helped fortify the team for the continued three hour descent to Mweka Camp, which we reached at 3:45 PM. 

All in all, it was a pretty exciting day.  We discovered just what it takes to climb above 19,000 feet and to the highest point in Africa. We were pleased to be both capable and lucky…and to have the friendship and help of six amazing Kilimanjaro guides; Patric, Freddy, Naiman, John, Fillbrit, and Happyson made our climb memorable and successful in a hundred positive ways. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

 


Dave Hahn calling to Report a Successful Summit of Kilimanjaro.

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Congratulations! How wonderful. The sights must have been fantastic. Best of luck on descent.
Sheila and Jim

Posted by: Sheila and Jim on 9/25/2017 at 7:35 am

Congratulations to all!  Loved following along with the expedition dispatches!

Posted by: Steph on 9/24/2017 at 4:01 pm


Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Prepare for Summit Bid from Barafu Camp

We had another morning of perfect weather.  The haze layer was still out there at around 12,000 ft, but from Karanga Camp we could see down through it to pick out the town of Moshi.  We marched out of Karanga at 8:45 AM bound for high camp.  There were unobstructed views of the Kersten and Decken Glaciers above, and gradually the Rebmann Glacier came into view as we turned the Southeast corner of the mountain.  In just three hours, we walked into the alpine zone above all vegetation and reached Barafu -or “Ice” Camp.  Afternoon was spent eating, drinking and resting- familiar activities to all of us by now- but we added in planning and preparing for our summit bid on this afternoon.  Dinner was early -at just 5:30- to allow for getting the maximum amount of downtime before our alpine start.  Sunsets at this 15,000-foot camp are wonderful, but we won’t linger over this one.  Tomorrow is a big day and we need our rest.  The entire team completed the approach in the absolute best style possible, we’re hoping to all be lucky and strong tomorrow.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Good luck on your summit bid.How exciting.

Posted by: Robert Kilroy on 9/24/2017 at 7:04 am

Congratulations on one more great accomplishment !!!

Posted by: Dad on 9/23/2017 at 8:54 pm


Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team at Karanga Camp

We’ve put the bad weather behind us -and it really wasn’t all that bad.  Morning at Barranco Camp was just perfect: cool dry air with no clouds above or below.  There was still the ever present layer of smog/smoke down a few thousand feet below us, obscuring details, but otherwise not bothering anyone.  We took off for the Great Barranco Wall a little before 9 AM and were soon coming to grips with its rocky ledges.  The wall can make folks nervous since it appears to be plenty steep from below, but our team dealt admirably with any jitters and got to work moving uphill.  We covered almost a thousand vertical feet in a little less than two hours and came out on a flat “summit” with amazing views of Kibo looming another vertical mile above.  The glaciers sparkled in the morning light, looking impossibly steep between great rock faces.  We traversed a few more valleys to reach Karanga Camp just after 1 PM.  It was then an easy afternoon of resting and eating and staring at spectacular scenery.  We’re spending the night at 13,160 ft.  There is no moon, but there are a million stars to silhouette the great bulk of Kibo. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

I’ll bet the views are tremendous! You’re almost there!!

Love

Jim

Posted by: Jim Reid on 9/22/2017 at 7:01 pm


Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Set New Altitude Records

We got a few more rain showers in the night at Shira, but the dawn was sparkly, cold and clear.  Kibo had a dusting of new snow to dress up the ice fields, rock walls and hanging glaciers.  Out to the West, Mt Meru could be seen poking through the endless cloud blanket below our camp.  At 8 AM we got walking again through the high desert vegetation.  Our time in the sun turned out to be short lived as the clouds enveloped us once more.  It began to look as though we might get pretty wet at one point close to noon.  We put on rain jackets -and endured at least 2.5 minutes of light precipitation before things got better -against all odds.  We reached 15,200 ft -our high point for the day, at the Lava Tower.  This represented a new altitude record for Olga, Pawel, Lynn, Joe, Dereesa, April, Steve and Colin.  Only Kathleen and Patrick had been higher.  We rested for a bit and then got moving down toward the Barranco Valley.  The trail was delightfully quiet on what can be a very busy climbing route.  We seemed to have the place to ourselves.  Dropping 2000 vertical feet, we came into chirping birds and exotic plants -the magical setting for Barranco Camp.  We had some hints of the great rock walls of Kibo above, but the clouds never let up enough to reveal the big views.  The team was surprised and enchanted by a rollicking singing and dancing performance by our entire fifty man staff as we came into camp.  This was our longest day so far, nearly seven hours on the trail, but by dinner the gang seemed to have recovered nicely and spirits were high for taking on the Great Barranco Wall in the morning. 

Best Regards
RMI Guides Dave Hahn

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Love seeing the pictures and reading about the group’s adventures!  Go Kathleen!  I’m with you in spirit, every step of the way!

Posted by: Steph M. on 9/22/2017 at 11:00 am

Amazing journey you are on. We can’t wait to see your daily story. Such beautiful scenery delightful experiences.
Mom and Dad

Posted by: Sheila and Jim on 9/22/2017 at 8:41 am


Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Arrive at Shira Camp

The sprinkles began today at noon.  The full-on rain came at 1 PM, but by then we were snug in our new camp at Shira 12,600 ft.  The day had begun clear for us down at Machame, and we were treated to our first good views of Kibo, Kilimanjaro’s central peak.  We set out from camp at 8 AM and got walking up steeply rising rocky steps in a forest of giant heather.  The sun was on us -but only for about a half hour before clouds came over.  We kept working uphill, eventually in fog and a little murk.  The day involved a number of rock steps that required a good handhold or two to negotiate.  We were wearing rain jackets by the time we turned a corner onto the Shira Plateau.  We actually finished by walking several hundred feet downhill to reach camp.  The rain didn’t let up until after dark, but it just made it a little easier to stay inside and rest.  We still gathered in our nice and dry dining dome tent for meals and tea time and to share climbing stories.  By the end of dinner, the sky was back to stars and planets and the Milky Way.  We’ll hope the moisture takes a break. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Best of luck to Pat and Lynn and the rest of the team for a safe and fun climb ! 

-Mike

Posted by: Mike Sowa on 9/21/2017 at 10:03 am

It’s great to wake up and see how the day has gone for the team! Hope there are clear skys the next few days. Sending lots of love to Colin and Steve <3

-Jacqs

Posted by: Jacquelynn on 9/21/2017 at 8:08 am

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