Entries from Expedition Dispatches
August 24, 2016
Posted by: Dave Hahn
We woke to a calm and clear morning down at Machame Camp. The sun hit around 7:30 AM, just in time for breakfast. Before we got on the trail, Freddy -our lead guide, introduced some of the key personnel on his forty five person staff and we had a round of jambos and handshakes.
We were walking by 8:20 and sweating by about 8:30 as the initial route involved some serious uphill on big rock steps through the heather. The big hazard in our first few hours was that the views were so spectacular I worried that the team wouldn’t watch their steps. There was plenty to look at as giant Mount Meru -the 16,000 ft volcano back next to Arusha, was standing tall above a sea of clouds to our west. That sea of brilliant white clouds extended in every direction, beneath us. We had great views of Kibo, Kilimanjaro’s main peak, and the rugged heights of Shira, its western satellite. We got to see our first Lobelias and Scenecios as we reached the upper limits of the heather. By then we were traversing left and negotiating small steep lava walls on our way out to the Shira Plateau. We were in our newest camp by 1PM. This one is quite a change from the last as we are now well out of the forest. Kibo never did cloud up today so we got to look at it all afternoon as we rested at 12,600 ft. We’ll head straight toward it tomorrow for a closer look at our ultimate goal.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
On The Map
Way to get after it, Team! Onward and Upward!! Thanks for the map too. Gives a great perspective on the days ahead.
Rest well, Stay Strong, Mary #HarshStrong
Posted by: Bill and Kathy Harshbarger (Mary's Parents) on 8/24/2016 at 4:59 pm
Sounds like you could clearly see your goal and had beautiful views all day long. Here’s to a peaceful night and another spectacular day tomorrow.
Posted by: Jen Potter (Jason's Sister) on 8/24/2016 at 3:03 pm
August 24, 2016
RMI Guides Billy Nugent and Ben Like led their Four Day Summit Climb teams to the summit of Mt. Rainier this morning. Billy radioed at 7:30 am as the teams were approaching the crater rim. The report was clear skies and winds 15 mph from the North.
Congratulations to today’s Summit Climb teams!
Posted by: Ron on 8/24/2016 at 4:56 pm
August 23, 2016
Posted by: Dave Hahn
Jambo from 9,900 ft on Mount Kilimanjaro. We are happily bedded down at Machame Camp after a great day of walking. The day began with the team shuffling duffle bags back and forth in the dark on the grounds of the Dik Dik. We were eating breakfast at 6:30 AM and then we actually drove out of the hotel compound at 7:28 AM…An unbelievable and unprecedented two minutes ahead of schedule. Our mighty Mercedes truck/bus carried food, gear and a huge number of climbers and staff. It was quite cloudy, so we didn’t get to see the mountain during the two hour drive. But we saw plenty of interest along the highway, from villages to towns to cornfields, banana and coffee farms. At the Machame entrance to the National Park, there was the normal hurry up and wait process of getting the team registered and the porter loads sorted. By 11 AM it was all done and we got to start walking. Naturally -in terms of altitude- this was our low point for the day…6000 ft, but all agreed that it was an emotional high point. It just felt so good to start walking uphill through a forest after all the planning, preparing, travel and jet lag. The team did well with Filbert -one of our local guides- setting a perfect “pole pole” pace. (Slow in Swahili). After a couple of hours, we were out from under the clouds and all were surprised and pleased to see Kibo -Kilimanjaro’s main peak- through a break in the trees. The forest transformed as we got higher and at 4:30 we pulled into a well built camp in the giant heather. We moved in -grateful at all the work our staff had put in. We sat for an excellent three course dinner just after sunset and told stories into the darkness.
We finished with a round of “lala salamas”. (Sleep well) and turned in for the night.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn & Team
It’s so exciting to read about what the team is experiencing. Thanks for the blog. I feel that I’m there with you!
Posted by: Sue Rentschler(Jason's aunt) on 8/24/2016 at 6:26 am
Finally - you are all on your way! While we know each of you is focused on the summit, remember to also focus on your journey. “Joy is found not in finishing an activity, but in doing it.”.
Countless thanks to you, Dave for the blog and your info. - it’s awesome to follow your trek!
Posted by: Kathy and Denny Meyers (Jason's Mom and Dad) on 8/23/2016 at 2:54 pm
By three this morning, my team of prospective Kili climbers was all present and accounted for on the fringes of Arusha, Tanzania. Eleven of us spent the day getting ready for a week on the move. As is normal with my groups, the team stifled yawns and feigned great interest as I conducted our introductory meeting after a fine Dik Dik Hotel breakfast. They claimed “jet lag” was the culprit rather than my rambling on. Possibly. We’re a good ten hours removed from some west coast US homes now.
After the briefing, it was time for personal equipment checks and packing for an early departure. This left a good chunk of the afternoon for the gang to relax, to walk the garden-like grounds of the hotel, and to periodically climb the water tower to see if Kilimanjaro was out. She was, by evening… faintly… and floating like a cloud in the distance. As we organized, the local guides and kitchen staff had the much bigger job of packing the food and gear for the trip. It was impressive as always to see lead guide Freddy Kilewo out there making order of the chaos. He has about fifty people to plan for, between porters, camp staff, clients and guides. He makes it all look easy.
We’ll begin walking the Machame route tomorrow and coming to grips with this challenge that many have been dreaming and scheming about for years. But this evening it is time to enjoy a send-off feast and a last night in a bed… even with jet lag, we all know it is a good deal.
Dave Hahn and Team
Sign Up For Mount Rainier 2016 Emails
Love you so much Mary! You are incredible and I hope you and all of your team have a great and safe trip.
Posted by: Shawnee on 8/24/2016 at 4:27 pm
Marie & Frank!!!
Warriorrrrrrr!!!! Kick some ass!
Posted by: Solmaz on 8/23/2016 at 5:24 pm
August 22, 2016
The Four Day Summit Climb led by RMI Guide Casey Grom and Robby Young turned at 13,800’ due to high winds and route conditions. The team has has started their descent and are en route back to Camp Muir.
Congratulations to today’s team!
What an effort to reach top! Casey, Robby and all others are true heroes to attempt summit under very incremental weather. Hats off!!
Posted by: Ujjal B on 8/24/2016 at 4:24 pm
August 21, 2016
RMI Guide JJ Justman called at 7:05 a.m. The Mt. Rainier Summit Climb teams were beginning their descent from the crater rim! The weather on the summit was a bit windy but clear skies made for nice views in every direction.
Congratulations to today’s summit climbers!
Unbelievable experience! Great job by all the climbers!
Posted by: Scott on 8/22/2016 at 8:14 am
You all rock. Enjoy the view, savor the accomplishment.
Posted by: Ken on 8/21/2016 at 2:58 pm
August 20, 2016
Our Four Day Summit Climb teams for August 17 - 20 reached the summit of Mt. Rainier early this morning. The teams enjoyed beautiful weather with clear skies and a lots of bright moon light. After spending time in the crater, they started their descent. As of 7:00 am PT, RMI Guides Elias de Andres Martos and Mike King reported that they were descending Disappointment Cleaver. We look forward to greeting the teams at BaseCamp this afternoon.
Congratulations to today Summit Climbers!
Great Job Matt H. and the rest of the team!
Posted by: Joe Hackett on 8/20/2016 at 7:39 am
We packed up Pisco Base Camp this morning and headed back to the trail head. Everyone is ready for some solid rest and is welcoming the return to civilization, but it’s been a fun couple weeks of climbing. The views we’ve seen and the adventures we’ve shared are going to stick with the team for a while.
Tonight we celebrate a successful trip and pack our bags one last time. We’ll be heading out to catch planes back home tomorrow evening.
Thanks for following along!
Sign Up For Peru 2016 Emails
What an adventure…I’ve enjoyed the free ride! Wonder where this group of climbers will head to next!
Posted by: Judy Mileto on 8/20/2016 at 5:42 pm
Daybreak and moonset at Kikoti were just as wonderful as sunset had been yesterday evening. The team enjoyed a quiet and excellent breakfast before hitting the road at 8 AM. We were right back onto the rough dirt tracks of Tarangire National Park. There was plenty of great exploring over the following four hours… Lots more elephants, zebras, giraffes, vultures and eagles. We scanned gullies and great plains, looked high and low. No more big cats, but we all figured it was ok to save some things for our next safari. This one wrapped up at noon as we started eastward on the road back toward Arusha. We made one stop at the cultural heritage center on Arusha’s outskirts. Everybody was getting more and more “time conscious” though -as is natural with an international flight looming. We got back to the quiet grounds of the Dik Dik in time for some repacking and freshening up. Then we enjoyed a final -excellent- dinner together. The ride to the airport began just after sunset and the team cheered to see Kilimanjaro’s 19,000 ft heights glowing above a few low clouds. It has been an exciting couple of weeks in Africa.
By now the gang is on the wing, homeward bound. I’ll hang out for another round of Kili climbing and looking for cats. Thanks for keeping tabs on us.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
August 19, 2016
Our Elbrus Northside trip concluded in one of my favorite towns to visit in Europe, St. Petersburg. Finally sleeping in to a leisurely hour, we met our tour guide and bus at 10 am and departed on a circuitous path through the history filled city to see the sites. St. Petersburg is home to some of the more stunning cathedrals in Russia, and those were a primary focus of the tour, passing by the Church of our Savior on the Spilled Blood, St. Nicholas’ Cathedral (a cathedral dedicated to the Saint of travel and maritime navigation, which is of huge significance in a city founded to be the maritime capitol of Russia, and the home of it’s navy), and St. Issac’s Cathedral. The massive scale of St. Issac’s is something to behold, and on one side, its huge columns still bare the scars left from mortar and artillery shells fired at the city during its 600-day siege in World War II. We also passed the warship that fired the symbolic first shot that began the Bolshevik takeover of Russia’s government, and found ourselves finally at the Hermitage.
The Hermitage is comprised of the former winter palace of the Romanov dynasty, as well as several buildings that were added on later by different emperors and empresses, and is home to an art collection in excess of 2.7 million pieces. Our guide spent an hour taking us through the buildings, pointing out some highlights, a Michelangelo, two paintings by DaVinci, and several by Rembrandt. After the hour, our tour guide released us to wander through the stunning rooms ourselves at our own pace. That evening we regrouped for a canal boat tour, beginning on the river Nevski, which runs through the heart of St. Petersburg. Unfortunately, the days of recent rain (many of which we had experienced!), had swollen the rivers and canals, so that the boat was unable to make its way through the usual circuit of canals that run through the heart of the city, as the passages under the bridges were too low, but we still were able to see the summer gardens and several more palaces from the unique perspective of the canal.
That led us to our final dinner as a group. The Jerome presented the perfect destination, and when the chef came out to show us the special — a beautifully marbled cut of local prime rib weighing almost a kg, everyone was sold. Delicious local beef, and several bottles of Spanish Rioja provided the perfect ending celebration to a really special trip that everyone enjoyed. We were sad to part ways the following morning, some of us very early, for flights back to the US. This was a special group of climbers to work with, and JM and I would like to thank everyone for their hard work and incredible perseverance and positive attitudes. We look forward to running into everyone in the mountains again soon, and thanks to all who followed along on our adventure!