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Entries from Kilimanjaro


Kilimanjaro: Tucker & Team Ascend the Barranco Wall

Today the team did a fantastic job climbing the intimidating looking Barranco Wall. It is the technical hurdle of this expedition and everyone did great. Everybody enjoyed the challenge; of course, the porters made it look easy as they climbed the wall with their loads carefully balanced on their heads.
Once above the wall we took a well-deserved break to enjoy the valleys below and the peak above. Yet another day of great hiking conditions. We are now at about 13,000ft at the Karanga Camp. High camp tomorrow and the team is looking good.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

On The Map

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Kilimanjaro: Tucker & Team Enjoy Views en route to Barranco Camp

It was clear and cool last night with temperatures right around freezing.  Our team kept warm with hot water bottles and warm sleeping bags.  We left Shira Camp and slowly climbed uphill before we started our traverse over to Barranco Valley across the volcanic plateau and just below the remaining glaciers that cling to Kilimanjaro’s slopes. As we approached camp we were all amazed to see the giant groundsels and famous senecio trees that look like something out of a Dr Suess book. Once again we pulled into camp and our stellar crew had camp all set up and were ready with hot drinks and snacks after a solid six hour day. The team is in good shape and ready for the Barranco wall which sits just above camp and will be our first objective as we continue up hill tomorrow.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Enjoy this special time together!! Looks so exciting.  Be Safe and send pics!! xxoo

Posted by: Aunt ME & Uncle Gene on 7/28/2017 at 5:44 pm

Way to go Annie, Philip, and team!  It is warm here in Minnesota.

Posted by: Kay Weaver on 7/28/2017 at 10:43 am


Kilimanjaro: Okita & Team Descend from Kilimanjaro & Celebrate Their Adventure

Awakening at Mweka Camp early, the feet and legs had miraculously recovered from our sixteen hour summit day. Ok, maybe not completely recovered, but everyone was moving quite well after such a huge effort. Of course, a little vitamin I (Ibuprofen) never hurt.
Breakfast awaited us, to be followed by song and dance from our mountain staff in celebration of a wonderful week on the mountain. In return we expressed our appreciation of the tremendous care they gave us with tokens of gratitude.
Our three hour hike to the Mweka gate ended in a final meal together. This time the food reflected the local cuisine, and was delicious!
Goodbyes were made and a two hour bus ride brought us back to the comforts of the hotel and the showers everyone had been looking forward to for days. I guess the three hundred baby wipes some folks took weren’t quite enough.
We celebrated in style. Not just our success on the mountain, but also the birthday that motivated this whole affair, getting a group of individuals way out of their comfort zone and learning what it means to climb a mountain.
The hotel staff graciously set up tables outside and built a roaring fire so that we might enjoy a final night together feasting and indulging in fabulous wines brought in special for the occasion.
Toasts were made and reflections on our trip shared, all the while the Blue monkeys and little Dik Dik antelopes watched on, visible in the glow of the flickering flames, no doubt wondering what all the fuss was about.
But we know what the fuss was all about. It was about an adventure shared by family and friends, and challenges that were quite hard at times, and the lessons and memories made over the course of an incredible week on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Habari ya asubhui and asante sana,

RMI Guide Brent Okita

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Kilimanjaro: Tucker & Team Ascend to Shira Camp

It has been cloudy all day but that made for a very comfortable hike up to the Shira Plateau, 12,200’, and our second camp on Kilimanjaro. The hike out of camp was steep for a couple of hours with a beautiful traverse to top out the day.  En route to camp we encountered a short section of rock scramble which had everyone paying attention and will get us ready for our climb up the Barranco Wall in a couple days. Here at over 12,000’, we were greeted with a camp fully set up and a hot lunch. We are hopeful the skies will clear and we will be able to enjoy the sunset and get a peak at the upper mountain from tonight’s camp. The team is in good shape snacking, exploring and resting and hoping for clear skies tomorrow.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

On The Map

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Kilimanjaro: Tucker & Team Arrive at Machame Camp

All is well here at 10,000ft Machame Camp, Camp 1, on Kilimanjaro
We left the Arumeru Lodge this morning and enjoyed the views of the local community and lots of farms growing bananas, coffee and corn.  The flanks of Kilimanjaro provide very fertile grounds for all of these great crops.  After a couple hour drive we arrived at the Kilimanjaro Nation Park gate.  We registered our team and paid our entrance fee to the Park Staff and with permit in hand, we loaded our packs and began our climb.  We had a steady ascent of 4,000ft and in just less than five hours arrived at our first camp in fine form.  Perfect conditions in the cloud forest made for an enjoyable climb. We all settled in to our tents and discussed camp life and our prperations for tomorrow’s ascent.  Dinner is now complete and we are certain to enjoy many more great meals thanks to our wonderful chef and staff. Everyone is returning to their tents as we are still adjusting to our new time zone and catching up on a bit of jet lag. 

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

On The Map

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Kilimanjaro: Okita & Team Summit!

Amazingly, most of the team actually got some sleep last night before I made my rounds to wake folks up just past 11:00pm. The night sky was amazingly clear and calm, and though the temps at camp were below freezing it felt a lot warmer than I had expected.
Our 7 1/2 hour ascent covered a variety of terrain from scree to rock, and got colder as we gained altitude. In fact, all the Camelback hydration systems people insisted on bringing froze and became useless until low on our descent.
What a big mountain. Our team couldn’t believe that our summit bid could go on for so long. But, at about 7:30 we finally reached the summit, Uhuru Peak at 19,340’. What was most impressive was that everyone summitted! The team just put their heads down, pressure breathed and got it done. But a big thanks needs to go out to our local guides: James, Freddy, Peter, Patrick, Naiman and Venance. They worked tirelessly to help the team achieve this dream.
Following our summit, we were greeted with a nice lunch upon arriving back at camp, then there was the five-hour hike to our next camp at about 10,000’ Mweka Camp. Sore feet and knees were casualties of the descent, but it sure feels good to be down here now. Especially after another great meal prepared by Tosha, our chef.
The eyelids are growing heavy, so I’ll bid you all good night.

RMI Guide Brent Okita

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Very inspiring! Already buying the tickets to Tanzania :-)
Congratulations for accomplishing the goal together having an heterogenous group
Having fun and self-overcoming is a fantastic mix

Posted by: Matias Levin on 8/4/2017 at 7:42 am

big congrats to Kavine and Rohaan! so impressed with you both! mountain climbing for old and young! ♥️

Posted by: kavi moltz on 7/26/2017 at 12:38 pm


Kilimanjaro: Tucker & Team Gather in Arusha, Tanzania

Jambo -
The team is all here.  We arrived throughout the day and are now gathered at the beautiful Arumeru River Lodge.
After our drive from the airport we had a quick dinner then everyone retired to their rooms to recover from the flights and get sleep. 

Today, after a very nice breakfast, we had a great team meeting with personal introductions and discussion of the plan for the next few days followed by a check that everyone has the essential gear for our climb of Kilimanjaro.
We spent the remainder of the day packing and relaxing here at this beautiful lodge.
Some monkeys, lizards, small gazelle roam the property, it’s like being in Africa.

We are being well taken care of here at by this gracious and kind staff.  We even had a birth party to top it off - HAPPY BIRTHDAY KEVIN!

All is well in this part of the world,
RMI Guide Mark Tucker

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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

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Go Team Kilimanjaro! You’ve got this!!!

Posted by: Kay Johnson on 7/24/2017 at 3:34 pm

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

On The Map

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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

On The Map

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

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