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February 9, 2014

Kilimanjaro Climb & Safari

Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Arrive in Tanzania

Hello from Usa River, Tanzania,

The daily KLM flight from Amsterdam arrived right on time tonight, and fortunately our entire team made the flight. Not so lucky with all the bags. We have one bag that is still in Amsterdam and will come down on tomorrow’s flight, just in time for us before we leave for the mountain. We are now at the hotel and just finished the best meal that has been served in the last 9,000 + miles of travel.

Tomorrow we’ll start with a full orientation about our Kilimanjaro climb and safari and then work on getting our gear ready and weighed for the mountain. Everyone is excited to finally be here in Africa and beginning this incredible adventure. More to follow tomorrow.

Best regards,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

Trace, Sarah, Bro-ski, Dad, ESM…

This experience is going to exceed your expectations, I’m sure. :) Dad, the guide won’t let you drive on the safari, so don’t even ask.

PS For the love of Pete, please try and pick up some Swahili while you’re out there. haha. Eric, we should have made you some post cards to study off of.

Posted by: Rachel on 2/11/2014 at 11:14 am

Sarah, friends, guides, helpers,

Have a magnificent adventure!

      Safe journey!  xoxox’s,  mom

Posted by: Marguerite Saslow on 2/11/2014 at 7:18 am

February 10, 2014

Kilimanjaro Climb & Safari

Aconcagua: Justman & Team Preparing for Move to Camp 1

Ah, the rest day. The team is perfecting the art of chilling. Solar showers, siestas and samba lessons from JJ…just another day at base camp. We’re fueling up in anticipation of our move to Aconcagua’s Camp 1 tomorrow.

Keep the comments coming! And pass along our blogs to friends and family who might want to follow our adventure as well. More to come from 16,400ft!

RMI Guide Katrina Bloemsma

On The Map

Good morning Brenda hope you had a great night under a star filled sky!!  The weather gods are really being nice to team 7.  We’ll after a day of rest I’m sure you can’ t wait to hit the trail and get to the next spot.  Stay strong and have fun and take lots of pictures.  Love you , Richie & Sea Jay.  Xxxxooox

Posted by: Richie Sea Jay on 2/11/2014 at 5:42 am

Rich - Hey honey so glad you have a day to just chill and enjoy your surroundings…siestas and sambas and solar showers? Doesn’t get any better than that..oh yeah I guess if I were actually there it would be better. :-)  Enjoy the break - you earned it for sure.  Love you stay safe, Susie

Posted by: Susie on 2/10/2014 at 6:04 pm

February 10, 2014

Kilimanjaro Climb & Safari

Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Spend the Day Preparing for the Climb

Jambo from the Dik Dik,

We are still one bag down, but otherwise this group is ready to leave early tomorrow morning. We did spend the day going through all the details about our climb and what we might expect along the way as ascend the mountain over the next seven days. Next we focused on gear and equipment, discussing the difference between nice to have and need to have, as well as what to pack in our mountain duffel and what is carried in our day packs. This group did an excellent job in bringing all the right gear so we did not have to spend too much time doing the equipment checks and weighing our mountain duffels.

It was raining most of the day, so rather than go out for an afternoon hike, we stayed indoors, with time well spent recovering from the eleven hour time zone difference, and sending out those last few emails before leaving behind the last of the wi-fi connectivity that we will have for the next week.

We sat down for our four-course dinner, and had a special treat tonight. Two of our climbers are celebrating birthdays. The staff prepared a wonderful cake for this occasion and rolled it in on a cart after dinner with all the candles lit up and everybody singing. Our two climbers were definitely surprised.

We have set our alarms for an early wake up, and hope to be driving towards Kilimanjaro National Park by 7:30 am. Tomorrow, we’ll check in from our first camp on the mountain, Machame Camp.

Best regards,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

How ya doin the Donster? getting some good cwoffee up there?
We’re rooting for you and the team!
Send us a YO! From the top!
E,D S….

Posted by: The Lahtinens on 2/10/2014 at 8:44 pm

Don—It’s your birthday too!  Everydays your birthday—Happy Birthday! Have a great time.  We are thinking of you.  hugs, Ilene & Andrew

Posted by: Ilene & Andrew on 2/10/2014 at 5:29 pm

February 11, 2014

Kilimanjaro Climb & Safari

Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team at the First Camp - Machame Camp

Greetings from Machame Camp,

The missing bag finally showed up last night and we have one very happy climber.  For the last few days the weather has been a little unstable, with some heavy rain showers in the lowlands. But this morning, just as we were approaching the mountain, the clouds started to thin and we saw Kilimanjaro for the first time. After people got over the initial surprise of how big it looks from a distance, it became obvious that the unstable weather we had in town, had covered the mountain with a white blanket of snow. Usually you have to look pretty hard to find snow on the mountain, so this was a pretty cool sight to see. It won’t affect our climb though, as most of it will melt before we reach high camp.

Having left our hotel this morning right on time, we were at the park gate before any of the other climbing groups showed up. We made quick work of taking care of the permits and registration.  And after the final porter’s bag was weighed, we were off and walking.

The weather continued to improve all day and we had perfect temperatures all the way to camp. We walked into camp at 3:30 and got settled into our new accommodations at 10,000’. Everyone did great today on the trail. This group showed up well prepared, and ready for the challenge ahead.

We’ll send out another update tomorrow when we get to Shira Camp.

RMI Guide Jeff Martin

On The Map

Hey Mom, when you have to carry Eric up the mountain, its best to use the fireman’s carry. It will center his weight above you rather than behind you if he is on your back. I’m sure you guys are doing great! I love you all, good luck over the next couple days!

With very much love,

Posted by: Derek Kraft on 2/12/2014 at 6:59 pm

First day completed - WAHOO!!!  You all look great.  Enjoy each day and take lots of pictures.

Posted by: Candy on 2/11/2014 at 11:25 pm

February 12, 2014

Kilimanjaro Climb & Safari

Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Reach Shira Plateau

Hello from Shira Camp,

It rained a little last night, but when we woke up this morning, the sun was trying to shine through the cloud cover. While the sun never completely came out, we had a dry day with perfect temperatures. The weather even cooperated so that we could have a nice lunch stop along the way to our camp. We got out of camp early today in hopes of getting a little head start and be in front of the other climbers and porters. But we weren’t the only group trying this strategy, and we ended up having a fair amount of trail traffic getting up the first climb out of camp. It’s a narrow trail, so we just took our time and enjoyed the views around us. On the section after lunch, we got to see quite a few flowers starting to bloom, thanks to the recent rains. Usually this is a pretty dry portion of the trail as we traverse west towards the Shira Plateau, but today there were numerous little streams which were all flowing with water. The mountain above us is still covered in the dusting of snow from a few days ago. It is really beautiful and is giving us lots of great pictures.Today was a short day of hiking and we made it to camp with plenty of time to enjoy the Shira Plateau. Of course we had popcorn and other snacks waiting for us when we arrived. And we spent a big chunk of the afternoon snacking, drinking tea, and sharing some stories. A perfect reward for the 2500’ we climbed today.

Tomorrow, we are going to set a bunch of new altitude records when we go to 14,900’, at the base of Lava Tower. Stay tuned for our next dispatch from Barranco Camp.

Best regards,

RMI Guide Jeff Martin and Team

On The Map

Holly and Chris,
Just wondering if some of the stories included the torture you endured under my watch…  kidding.  Enjoy the continued beauty of your climb, I am jealous!
Adam W

Posted by: Adam on 2/12/2014 at 10:03 pm

Hey Chris….we have an open shift this week - wanna fill it???  NO, I didn’t think so!!  Oh well, guess you’re stuck there having to enjoy the beauty, the challenge, and the awesome wife you have by your side!!  Can’t wait to hear all the stories and see the pics!!

Posted by: Candy on 2/12/2014 at 1:40 pm

February 13, 2014

Kilimanjaro Climb & Safari

Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Reach Barranco Camp

Hello from Barranco Camp,

The team did great today, and everybody is feeling strong and healthy.

The unsettled weather continues for our third day on the mountain. Last night, the winds started to pick up after we arrived in camp and were still blowing when we woke up this morning. Fortunately, it was only winds today, as we stayed dry all day and the sun made a brief appearance when we got to camp.

We are definitely into our mountain routines, going to bed fairly early and waking up with enough time to pack, eat breakfast, and be walking by 8:00 am. That is exactly what happened this morning.  With packs on we started the climb up the Shira Plateau. We climbed directly towards the mountain for the entire morning, slowly leaving behind all plant life as we got close to Lava Tower camp. It was the first time most of this group had been to 14,900’ and everybody was grinning when we got to our high point. We had some lunch and took a little extra time to just let our bodies feel what it is like being at this altitude. Then we started our descent to Barranco camp, approximately 2000’ below us. This was the first downhill section of the trip so far, and since half of this climb is spent descending, you have to be able to walk downhill efficiently. This group can definitely walk downhill. A couple hours later we were pulling into camp. The highlight of the the day, besides climbing to 14,900’, was the last 15 minutes of walking before we reached camp. Giant Senecios line the trial on both sides and it such a unique plant, that you can’t help to feel that you might be on a different planet. Especially as the clouds roll by blocking out everything around you except for these very strange looking trees.
Once in camp, it was time to get moved into our tents and relax for the afternoon. We are now all accustomed to the snacking and tea drinking that pretty much begins right after we get to camp and ends right before dinner.

Tomorrow we head up the Barranco Wall. It’s hard to miss as it looms above us, but everyone is excited to be standing on top of it by mid-morning.

Best regards,

RMI Guide Jeff Martin & Team

On The Map

Happy Valentine’s Day, Russ!  Great job with the climb!  And, Thanks for our lovely Valentines present!  The Yorkies are pushing you up that mountain with all 8 paws…from Sausalito, CA!  Attack that mountain!  We love you, Jody, Belle & Bliss!

Posted by: Jody Frederickson on 2/14/2014 at 7:11 am

Hey Sarah, We are enjoying the posts and look forward to hearing all. Happy Valentines Day. Love Pf

Posted by: Richard on 2/14/2014 at 2:33 am

February 14, 2014

Kilimanjaro Climb & Safari

Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Send Valentine’s Day Wishes from Karanga Camp

Happy Valentine’s Day from Karanga Camp. The Barranco Wall is now well behind us and the group powered right up it without any issues. We decided to switch gears a little with our departure time today. We opted to let the other climbing groups leave before us so we could take our time climbing up the Barranco Wall. It was the right call for today. As a result of the later start, we got to sleep in this morning, not rush through breakfast, and all enjoyed a little extra time in camp. Starting out, the trail is pretty steep, and there are a few rock sections that require some basic scrambling, but once through this section, it is very straightforward walking. We took a quick break about an hour up, then we took another 30 minutes before we were standing on top, looking down at our old camp 900’ below. The clouds were blocking most of the views, but no one complained as we were very lucky to have only clouds and not rain. This would be our high point of the day, and then we continued traversing east towards Karanga Camp. Along the way, we met a group of climbers called Kilimanjaro Warriors. It is a group of ten climbers, six of which are disabled veterans. Seeing these climbers today was both humbling and truly inspiring. For anyone to make this climb is a big accomplishment, but to do it without one leg, or even both legs, is remarkable. We wish them the best of luck with their climb.

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, here are a few wishes from Kilimanjaro:
Happy Valentine’s Day to my family, Tom and his family! Thank you for all the support. Sarah Sending love from Kili! Happy V-day J.W., family and friends. It’s more beautiful than I could have ever imagined - of course I’ve cried every day. Ha!Ha! Tracey Thanks everyone for all the comments. They really help. We are feeling strong and looking forward to summiting in 2 days. We’ll send our love from the top. xoxo. Have to go stretch now (Adam). Chris, Holly, & Eric.
Happy Valentine’s Day Mom & Dad! Thanks for the good genes! Sue Still breathing! Happy Valentine’s Day Meg! Don

Thanks again for all the comments. We will send an update from high camp tomorrow.

RMI Guide Jeff Martin

On The Map

We’re following your climb every evening, with fascination, excitement and joy. It looks like an outstanding route! You seem to be moving very smoothly and steadily! Our very best wishes and support to you all!

Posted by: Uncle-ing and Auntling on 2/14/2014 at 11:16 pm

Great job Holly, Sarah, Chris, & Eric!  Sending u lots of energy for the summit push and the downhill!

Posted by: Michelle on 2/14/2014 at 10:25 pm

February 15, 2014

Kilimanjaro Climb & Safari

Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Ready for Summit Bid

Hello from Barafu Camp,

We are at our high camp and ready for our summit attempt tomorrow! The team did great again today and everybody is excited to be here at 15,000’.
Today was a relatively short hiking day, climbing about 2,000’ in just under three hours and reaching camp before noon. This is another great benefit to the Machame Route. Having a short day right before summit day allows us plenty of time to rest, hydrate, pack and get to bed early all in preparation of tomorrow. We’ll have dinner at 5:00 and then hopefully be in bed by 6:30 at the latest. Most of us probably won’t sleep much, but our bodies will get enough rest we need for the long day ahead.
The alarm is set for 11:45 pm, and the plan is to be walking out of camp around 12:45. About seven hours later, we should be standing on top of Kilimanjaro. Wish us luck and we will try and give a call tomorrow from the summit.

Best regards,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

On The Map

Sarah,.  .  .  this is a totally wonderful and thrilling achievement! Congratulations!
We can’t wait to hear all about it. Love Dad & Susan

Posted by: Richard on 2/16/2014 at 10:28 pm

Way to go! Good work, Sarah and team!  Thank-you for the blog, comments, etc.  Sarah, you have the genes!


Posted by: Rondi Saslow on 2/16/2014 at 9:00 am

February 16, 2014

Kilimanjaro Climb & Safari

Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Summit!

Hello from Mweka Camp,

We did it! The entire team made it to Uhuru Peak, the Roof of Africa, this morning at 7:30 am. But there were no gimmes today, we fought hard for every step. What started out as fairly decent weather when we woke up, quickly changed as we were about two hours into our climb. At first, it began snowing lightly, but the higher we climbed, the harder the snow fell. The trail was completely covered by the time we reached 18,000’. By Stella Point, the crater rim, it was blowing about 30 mph and 4-6 inches of snow had fallen. Definitely not your typical summit day. Despite the challenges of the weather, the team did great today.

We left camp at 12:50 am and were on top at 7:30 am. We only spent about 10 minutes at the summit sign, and then it was time to get back down. The fresh snow made for an interesting descent, and new snow had fallen all the way back to high camp.

After changing out of our summit gear, we re-packed our duffels and headed down to Mweka Camp, 5000’ below us. We arrived in camp just before 5:00 PM, and our 17-hour day is now over. We are all tried, but in great spirits and looking forward to a good night’s rest.

Best regards,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

On The Map

Way to go Boehms!

Posted by: Lindsay on 2/20/2014 at 9:48 am

When the road gets tough, the tough get going!  We bow to your efforts and successes! Enjoy the first of your celebrations and the rest of your journey!

Posted by: Rondi Saslow on 2/17/2014 at 9:00 am

February 17, 2014

Kilimanjaro Climb & Safari

Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Back at the Dik Dik to Celebrate their Success

Hello from the Dik Dik,

Our mountain adventure ended today with 10 very happy climbers. Even though we had a very long day yesterday, the team wanted to get an early start and hike down to the Mweka Gate. You could tell that everyone wanted showers as we made record time descending the 4,400’ to the end of the trail. You can feel it is the last day as porters are ready to get paid, and the climbers are still on the high of summiting yesterday. We had a big lunch spread waiting for us at the gate and then we tipped out our mountain crew for all their hard work over the last seven days.

Now we are back at the hotel and sitting down for drinks before our celebration dinner. We are all cleaned up and have packed away all our mountain gear.

Tomorrow we are heading out on our safari. The perfect way to recover from the physical effort expended to reach the top of Kilimanjaro. First stop is Lake Manyara!

Best regards,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

Wooo Hooo

Congrats you guys. Way to go.

xo Beck

Posted by: becky on 2/22/2014 at 12:06 pm

Holly and Chris, CONGRATS on the summit!!  Enjoy the Safari

Posted by: Adam on 2/18/2014 at 6:37 am

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