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Entries from Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro: Okita & Team Ascend to High Camp, Ready for Summit Climb

Snow and sleet greeted us on our arrival to our high camp on the mountain, Barafu Camp, but that didn’t dampen our excitement for getting here. Because we had such a short day today, our camp staff wasn’t quite ready for us as they usually are. But through their tireless efforts we were able to get under shelter in no time.
The sleeping tents were ready shortly thereafter, and we had just enough time to move our packs in when lunch was announced.
So, here we are at 15,200’, on the eve of our climb. The team is excited, but a little nervous too. Pretty understandable emotions to be going through, and ones that most climbers go through before a big climb.
We’ve had our summit talk, a briefing on what to bring and wear, and what to expect. We’re all now preparing our kit for the summit in the time we have before dinner, We’ll try to hit the sack by 6:00pm so we can get some rest before our departure just after midnight, As I write this the skies have cleared again and the ground has dried. Things are looking good for our big day. With any luck we’ll be sending a quick satellite phone brief from the summit.
Wish us luck!

RMI Guide Brent Okita

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OMG!  I can’t believe the time is here already!  Best of luck to each and every one of you.  Such an amazing accomplishment to date.  So proud of you!!!!

Posted by: Carin Parella on 7/24/2017 at 10:58 am

Kilimanjaro: Okita & Team Climb Barranco Wall Arrive Karanga Camp

Our assault of the Barranco Wall was relentless and the team finally conquered its mighty face with no loss of limb or life. The same can’t be said for the poor, hapless porter who lost his load a third of the way up, which meant beating a hasty retreat down to the valley floor to retrieve it. Luckily, said porter was below us and not above, which might have been a whole other story.
The climbing up that part of our climb today was fun and exciting, but we were all humbled as we watched the porters scaling the same terrain with forty pound loads balanced on their heads or shoulders, and arriving to camp two plus hours before us.
The rest of the route undulated into and out of valleys, always under the shadow of the steep flanks of the upper mountain. We ended up only a little higher than our previous camp, so everyone’s feeling strong and we’re all becoming well acclimatized.
After arriving to camp and ‘washing up’ another incredible lunch was served: schnitzel with warm German potato salad, followed by apple pancakes and banana fritters. Wow!!!
While in our dining tent the clouds finally unleashed a little rain. We’ve been so fortunate with the weather so far, that this little precipitation has not dampened anyone’s spirits. And now, after thirty minutes of wetness, it has abated.
We’re all comfortably sheltered in either our personal tents or the mess tent playing cards, so not really affected by the vagaries of the weather. Quite nice.
Until tomorrow, we’ll try to suffer on. Wish us luck.

RMI Guide Brent Okita

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Kilimanjaro: Okita & Team Set New Altitude Record for Most

Our longest day yet saw us climbing to a high point of 15,200’, an altitude record for most of us. Thankfully, ours was a gradual ascent of the Shira Plateau until Lava Tower (15,200’), which made our progress a little easier than it could have been.
Dropping 2,000ft to Barranco Camp at 13,000ft is allowing us to feel pretty darned good here at camp and giving us a perfect acclimatization program.
Upon walking into camp our mountain staff greeted us with a couple of wonderful folk songs. Not only are they talented singers, but most notably, everyone is incredibly nice, generous and they all bend over backwards to make us feel welcome.
The challenge for our group, and all climbers here, is to just deal with the altitude and keep from getting a gut bug. So far so good. ‘Pole pole’ is the oft heard refrain in Swahili reminding the world, or at least the folks climbing Kili to ‘go slowly.’ And that we are, to great effect.
To say that this is an outgoing and social group would be an understatement, but perhaps that can be expected since we’re all family. It’s fun hearing the roars of laughter coming from the mess tent as folks play a round of cards before turning in for the night.
Tomorrow, the Barranco Wall, a steep one and a half hour climb that should be fun and exciting for us. Not technical, but the steepest climb we’ve done yet.
It’ll be a shame leaving the Barranco Valley, with its steep walls hanging spectacularly above camp, but on we climb towards the summit.
Next up, the Karanga valley.

Good night,
RMI Guide Brent Okita

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Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

It’s great to hear from ye each day and delighted ye are doing so well. It wouldn’t be Okita’s et al without riotous card games. Love to all O’Riordan’s hollyhill

Posted by: Ber and des oriordan on 7/23/2017 at 6:18 am

Brian and I are at Mom’s and reading your updates.  Sounds like an amazing climb so far. We love all of you!

Posted by: Carin Parella on 7/22/2017 at 12:00 pm

Kilimanjaro: Okita & Team Ascend to Shira Plateau

Our five hour trek to the Shira Plateau and our beautiful camp here began steeply out of Machame Camp and was quite relentless for a good three or so hours. Along the way we learned some walking and breathing techniques that will be key to our success on this expedition.
While I was busy coaching the team on these skills, one of our local guides, Peter, did a fantastic job with the pace and allowed us to move easily while still getting to camp at a reasonable hour. In this case, that would be at 1:30, just in time to sit down for the incredible lunch spread prepared by our chef Tosha. How does fried chicken, French fries and a refreshing salad, followed by watermelon sound, especially at 12,570’.
Climbing Kilimanjaro is nothing if not over the top luxury, and I’ll take every last bit of it. Our staff on the mountain, the guide, porters, cooks, waiters etc. allow the team to concentrate on the important matter of acclimatizing and just taking care of ourselves. We’ll need that help to be able to climb this 19,000’ behemoth in a week.
Following lunch we’ve all gone into major relax mode, letting the altitude seep into our bodies and the calories just consumed reenergize us in preparation for a big day getting to Barranco Camp. And of course, we need to be rested for ‘tea time’ in a few minutes.
Yeah, life is tough here in Tanzania, but the team is reaping the benefits of our support crew and everyone is doing really well.
All for now from the Shira Plateau.

RMI Guide Brent Okita

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Kilimanjaro: Okita & Team Hit the Trail

The team all got to breakfast early this morning allowing us to get a head start on the day. This was nice as we were able to get to the Machame Gate and start our day before a lot of other teams. The National Park Service keeps Kilimanjaro national Park in great shape and it’s been inspiring to see them take a strong stand promoting Leave No Trace policies. Our immaculately maintained trail led us easily thru the rain forests of the lower flanks and to the beginning of the giant heather,which can grow to thirty feet high. All are doing fantastic, especially after fantastic three course dinner our cool Toshi prepared for us.Sleep is tugging at our sleeves pretty hard, so we retired to our tents where this old cowboy is also ready to crash.

Talk with you tomorrow.

RMI Guide Brent Okita & Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Brent - I am always so proud of you.  It is always amazing to see how much you enjoy this chosen profession AND how professionally skilled you are.  You are also quite an inspiration to your siblings.  AND Dr. Carey sends his regards.  You certainly impressed him not only with your expertise but for your being such an intelligent caring person.  Love you - take care - be safe.  mom

Posted by: Marjorie Okita-Johnson on 7/21/2017 at 10:50 am

Brent - I can’t believe you’re on Kilimanjaro!  My buddy Billy and I hiked with you a few years ago and Rainier and we’re going to miss you by one week!!  We leave this weekend for Arusha.  Perhaps we’ll cross paths!

Hope your adventure is going well!

Dennis Welsh

Posted by: Dennis Welsh on 7/20/2017 at 5:39 pm

Kilimanjaro: Okita & Team Prepare for Climb

A long day was had as we reviewed our climb to come and covered some important ideas that will make our big adventure as safe, successful and fun as possible.
Kilimanjaro is a great mountain to get ones feet wet on given its non technical nature, but the fact that it’s seven days long does present a bit of a steep learning curve for us in many ways.
We’re all ready now for the climb to begin tomorrow! The hard work of today was nicely softened by massages for all coordinated by brother Brad. Such a great idea!
We’re looking forward to a big day tomorrow and finally getting underway.
All for now from the comforts of the Arumera River Lodge. Next stop, the flanks of Kilimanjaro.

RMI Guide Brent Okita

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The Parella family wish you all a great climb and a wonderful 50th birthday to Anne!

Posted by: Carin Parella on 7/20/2017 at 4:16 am

Kilimanjaro: Tucker & Team Call from Summit, Check in from Mweka Camp

June 18, 2017
Thick air and mild temps surround the team at this moment. A different story just a few hours ago when we were standing on the summit of Kilimanjaro. We are all settled in here at the 10,000’ Mweka camp the last stop before we leave Kilimanjaro National Park tomorrow. We started the climb around midnight under clear skies and a mild breeze . It was pretty cold the last couple of stretches and a few of the team climbed with their down parkas on which we usually put on at our breaks and take off when climbing. Seven hours later we were on the summit of Kilimanjaro, the Roof of Africa, with beautiful weather and a very elated team. It’s a big climb and a long descend.  We didn’t arrive to this camp till after 3 pm with a tired team. Everyone did great and the stories are already starting to fly. I am going to roust the napping guys soon so we can all enjoy another great meal which is currently getting set up in the dining tent. All is well on the hill.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

Please listen to the audio link below from the team calling from the summit of Kilimanjaro.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker and team call from the summit of Kilimanjaro with Father's day greetings.

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AWESOME GUYS!! So proud of you for making it to roof top of Africa!!
Wish we were there!
teri and Mike

Posted by: teri Steichen on 6/18/2017 at 7:52 pm

way to go all of you. Happy Father’s Day ! have a safe descend and come home soon. love to you all!

Mom and Dad Free

Mimi and Granddad

Posted by: Mom and Dad Free on 6/18/2017 at 1:15 pm

Kilimanjaro: Tucker & Team at Barafu Hut Readying for Summit Bid

The clouds disappeared last night and stars were out in full force. We left the Karanga Camp a bit after 9 and landed here at high camp right at noon. Lunch went well at 15,000ft and we have been busy preparing for the summit push tonight. Preparations, which seem to be a long time ago back in the states, are paying off here with the team in fine shape along with a great attitude. Some down time in the tents for now before an early dinner then a good nap right into early wake up call around midnight. Weather is nice- fingers crossed. I will try and give a call from the summit tomorrow.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

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So proud of you all. please stay well and safe.


Posted by: Mimi on 6/17/2017 at 11:24 am

Kilimanjaro: Tucker & Team Climb Barranco Wall, Ascend to Karanga Camp

We are experiencing a bit of wet weather, a cloud mist almost rain here at Karanga camp 13,000’ on Kilimanjaro. We did not let the weather spoil the climb today for it held off until we arrived at camp. The infamous Barranco Wall would not have been as much fun this morning had it been wet but with perfect conditions and a strong team we cruised up the wall in about 30 minutes first thing this morning. After a couple more stretches on the trail, we arrived to a great lunch as usual with camp all set upon arrival.  What a nice way to rough it! The team is resting now in our tents until the next meal. All is well here on Kilimanjaro.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

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Kilimanjaro: Tucker & Team Ascend to Barranco Camp

We enjoyed yet another perfect day of climbing. After a nice four course breakfast at the Shira Camp the team shoulder their packs and ascended to over 14,500’, a high point for all team members.  After a nice break and taking in some great views above and below we then had to descend into our new camp, Barranco. Situated in an amazing valley at just under 13,000’ we are here enjoying more fantastic vistas. As usual our fabulous local outfitter had camp and snacks all set upon arrival. We have had a few intermittent showers of a mixture of snow and rain but overall it’s not too bad. Everyone is doing well and we are enjoying our time on the mountain. 

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

On The Map

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