Entries By dave hahn
September 12, 2019
The Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir led by RMI Guides Dave Hahn and Alan Davis met at Rainier BaseCamp on Sunday for their Technical Training day. The team loaded packs and headed to Camp Muir on Monday morning. They have spent the last few days training near Camp Muir on glacier travel and crevasse rescue techniques. This morning they put their training to the test, leaving Camp Muir with an alpine start. They were rewarded with clear skies and light winds as they reached the summit of Mt. Rainier just before 8 AM. Once they have taken all the hero shots and enjoyed the views, they will return to Camp Muir for their final night on the mountain. Tomorrow the team will descend to Paradise and return to Rainier BaseCamp for the conclusion of their program.
Congratulations to the Seminar teams!
Congrats team! Chris, we miss you and can’t wait to see all the photos! Love you
Posted by: Kristen B on 9/16/2019 at 11:10 pm
Congratulations Kristopher! We are so excited and proud of you. We can’t wait to see your pictures of this extreme adventure! Mom and Dad
Posted by: Sheri Johnson on 9/13/2019 at 3:28 pm
Waking up at Balloon Camp, deep within Tarangire National Park, was a treat. We breakfasted and were saying goodbye to the friendly hotel staff by 7 AM. The team was looking for wildlife before we’d gotten a hundred feet from the hotel reception desk. Michael and Francis took us down along the great marsh along Tarangire’s Eastern edge. We saw eagles, kudus, hippos and all of the “usual” animals that -just a few days ago- were exotic and foreign. What we didn’t see was any other Safari vehicles. We had it all to ourselves for hours. But inevitably we had to start making our way toward the front gate of the park. Even so, we were treated to another leopard sighting on the way. A handsome but sleepy fellow conked out on a tree limb.
By midday we were on the highway pointed toward Arusha and our Tanzanian home base at the Arumeru River Lodge, which we reached by 3 pm. This left plenty of time for repacking and showers and even an early dinner before we said “so long” to our friends at the lodge who’d taken excellent care of us… and “so long” to the Dik Diks and monkeys in the yard. We didn’t get a final glimpse of Kilimanjaro on the drive to the airport. It was hidden in clouds. So we’ll just go away recalling the view we had from the top looking down.
Thank You for following our trip… until next climb.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn & Team
mamy tanks for every day news
Posted by: jean lambotte on 8/31/2019 at 11:02 am
Another big day on Safari. We began peacefully enough at Plantation Lodge under cloudy skies. First up after hitting the main road at 8:45, was a little stop for tourism and souvenir shopping. Then we dropped back down into the Great Rift Valley and checked out a Maasai village. The men and women showed us a few dance moves and we compared high jumping ability. They demonstrated how they start fire the old fashioned way and then they brought our team into their small dwellings to explain life in a traditional village. Our team picked up a few more keepsakes after a little bargaining and then we headed for Tarangire National Park. Something changed when we drove past the first giant Baobab trees. As if by magic, there was wildlife everywhere. We came to a waterhole and watched elephants, a giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, impala, great crowned cranes, and mongooses start slurping it up -all at the same time. Roaming the savannas and river valleys, we came across a big male lion sleeping off a big night -by the looks of things. Rambling along on a bouncy dirt road, Melanie scored the sighting of the day, pointing out a big male leopard on a tree branch perhaps 40 yards away. We watched the big fella rest a bit more and then scamper down the tree trunk and melt into the grass. We saw at least a hundred (if not two hundred) elephants of all shapes and size. Most were in family groups shading under trees, some were actively eating trees, one trunkful at a time. We saw a tower of giraffes, we saw a gazillion gazelles. There were lilac breasted rollers and white backed vultures. We didn’t roll into Balloon Camp until 6 PM, but the friendly staff was there waiting to take the team to their “tent cabins”. They then escorted us (we are still deep within the park, there is no fence separating us from the wildlife) to the swimming pool and barbecue deck to watch the sun set. There was a roaring campfire and an excellent dinner under the stars for our last night together.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
It was another pre-dawn start… not quite as early or arduous as our Kilimanjaro summit day though. We piled into the Landcruisers and rolled out of Plantation Lodge at 6:30 AM bound for Ngorongoro Crater. The clouds were already low and thick and we were gaining altitude -so by the time we hit the rim of the giant collapsed volcano, we were in fog and murk. Michael and Francis didn’t have any trouble bringing the 4X4’s along the rough dirt road, giving the team the quintessential “African Massage” as we bounced along. Visibility had improved by the time we dropped into the crater with the critters. We began -as we had yesterday- focusing on individual animals, until the scale of this new place became apparent and we started counting herds rather than heads. Zebras caught our attention initially, since they were swarming the road. But Cape Buffalo, Wildebeest and gazelles became commonplace and routine within minutes as we saw them by the thousand. Early on we happened on a big pride of lions resting in the grass. There were two big males and perhaps 15 females and youngsters of various ages. Those included three tiny lion cubs that continually climbed over and under their mom, giving out little yelps and meows. The lions would sit up from time to time looking intently at hartebeest and zebra who were trying to figure out how close was too close in their morning walk to water. We moved on to cross the crater and visit hippos and a million new birds. Our picnic lunch was alongside a bunch more hippos in another corner of the crater. By this point, the clouds were clearing and the day was warming up. Our goal following lunch was to find Rhinos. We scoured the hills at the margins of the crater, we trained binoculars on a hundred distant grey rocks and logs and suspect shadows under trees. But the Rhinos didn’t come out to play. We contented ourselves with finding two mature bull elephants with enormous tusks. In late afternoon, our guides put the cruisers in four wheel drive and took us up and out of the crater. We made it back to the Plantation in plenty of time for sundown in the lap of luxury.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
We had it pretty good on the mountain… but it sure was nice to sleep in beds last night and to take showers this morning. We breakfasted at the Arumeru River Lodge and then hit the road at 8 AM with our drivers/naturalists/guides Francis and Michael. We didn’t do too badly in the rush hour traffic skirting Arusha. Before very long we were out in open and dry country, pushing west into lands dominated by the Maasai tribes. We saw plenty of cattle herds being brought to or from water by Maasai herdsmen in their distinctive Tartan blankets. We reached Lake Manyara National Park a little before midday and popped the tops of our two stretch Landcruisers. We then stood with our heads and cameras out the roofs of the vehicles, looking for what might be hiding. We found monkeys and baboons, of course. But also Cape Buffalo and Elephant families and a hippopotamus momma and child lounging in water lilies a few feet from the road. There were hundreds of exotic birds for Keith, there were distant giraffes for Guillaume. We got a little used to seeing wildebeest and zebra and impala. We looked up in the branches of every tree we came to, searching for lions, but they weren’t available today. As the afternoon went along, the animals -and our expeditioners- got sleepy and so Michael and Francis pointed the Landcruisers toward the cushy Plantation Lodge. We sipped sundowners while watching the sun go down, dipped in the pool and generally lived the good life in this perfectly laid out compound of accommodations and gardens. We got together for a fine dinner -with many noting that it was almost as good as Tosha’s 15,000 ft fare- and we hatched plans for a pre-dawn start in the morning.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
After such a massive and intensely challenging day as our summit bid, today was cruiser… and downhill cruising at that. We woke at 6 AM in the forest, commenting to one another that 10,000 feet was sure an easier altitude for sleeping than 15,000. We enjoyed one last excellent breakfast on the mountain and came out into the morning sunshine for the “gratitude ceremony”. Our entire fifty-man staff assembled and began singing. They danced and clapped through the Jambo song, and the Bomba song, then assistant cook Benson took them -laughing- through the Churra song. The laughing became uncontrollable when Peter showed his Minnesota dance moves. Then we did a few small speeches and handed gratuities to each of the staff along with handshakes and “Asante Sanas”. We thanked them very much for helping and befriending us. Minutes later, at 8 AM, we were on the trail and heading down into the rain forest. It took just a few hours to walk carefully down the four thousand vertical feet of slippery trail past some giant trees and a few Colobus monkeys. We shared the track with porters from a number of other expeditions, running at top speed with big loads balanced on their heads. Everybody was ready for the finish. The gang assembled for a final group picture at the Mweka Gate trail sign around 11 AM. Then we dutifully lined up to sign the park service ledger and loaded onto our bus for a short ride to a picnic area. Tosha and our camp waiters, John, Alfredy and Damien, served us an excellent lunch out in the strong sunshine. We said our goodbyes and got on the bus for the big (2.5 hour) ride through the Tanzanian countryside back to Usa River and our lodge. Folks were understandably ready for showers and internet and an easy afternoon of getting ready for Safari. We celebrated over a victory dinner, outside with the monkeys and Dik Diks. The Arumeru staff honored the team with a surprise cake and a song. Finally, we did our toasts and our goodbyes to Joe, who’ll be winging his way home tomorrow while we continue the adventure.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
August 25, 2019
Posted by: Dave Hahn
We’re down at Mweka Camp, in the trees at close to 10,000 ft. A long way from this morning’s summit. And an even greater leap from where we started the day at Barafu Camp.
We actually started the day yesterday -at 11:30 PM. As usual, we didn’t all get great sleep ahead of the summit bid. Those of us lying awake in our pitch black tent interiors got to listen to persistent rain showers rattling on our shelters. When the alarms went off and we got outside, we found ourselves in a wet cloud… but very near the top of it since we could see stars overhead. We ate our midnight “breakfast” and got walking behind Naiman at 12:35 AM. The clouds washed in and out at our level a few more times in that first hour of climbing, but ultimately we got above it all and had a fabulous night for stars. The moon came up as a perfectly oriented smile on the horizon. We had no ability to capture the image, so it was just something to enjoy thoroughly in the moment as we trudged in line up the rough rock path. As expected, life got colder as we climbed higher. We took short rest breaks and put on every stitch of clothing we had. The sun finally came up once we were hitting 18,000 ft and life got easier (and more beautiful) as we reached the crater rim at Stella Pt by 7:05 AM. The walk along the crater to Uhuru was amazing. Rain in the area had cleared the ever-present haze and so we could see a good chunk of Tanzania that normally stays hidden from above. We hit Uhuru at 8 AM and our timing was excellent. We had the top to ourselves -another rarity- which we took full advantage of. Twenty five minutes later we were headed downhill. The descent was smooth and we made fine progress (with ample help from our amazing staff). We got back to High Camp at 11 AM. Tosha cooked us up a great “brunch” which fortified us for packing and bailing out of high camp by 12:40. The descent to Mweka was mostly in murky cloud, and it must be admitted that we all just wanted it to be done, the trail is rocky and requires a ton of concentration (tough to come by 15 hours into a summit day). We rolled in just after 4 PM and the fine camp waiting for us made every inch of the descent worth it. This will be our last night on the mountain… it seems likely that nobody will have trouble sleeping.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
On The Map
Congratulations to all! Enjoy the party before you leave camp in the morning. Watch out for the frog going up the mountain. Hopefully, he remembered to pack everything.
Posted by: Jeff Tracy on 8/26/2019 at 2:51 am
Congratulations on a successful clime to the top! I don’t know most of you, but I’m proud of all of you anyway! I pray that your trip down is as successful as the ascent. And many thanks to Dave for his wonderful blog describing your adventure. It was almost like being there you paint such a great picture with words. God bless you all, Kathy
Posted by: Kathy Ward on 8/25/2019 at 1:48 pm
August 24, 2019
Posted by: Dave Hahn
The weather changed overnight. It was still perfectly calm and reasonable at Karanga Camp this morning, but the upper mountain was caught in a cloud cap and we could see there’d been a dusting of new snow from about 16,000 ft up. Some of our team reported being aware of a short-lived shower of some sort rattling on the tents in the darkness. We went for the same lazy start as yesterday because today’s expected time on the trail was even less. At 9 AM Naiman led the team upward on gently sloping, wide open terrain. The vegetation didn’t last very long, in fact it was mostly played out by our first rest break at 14,000 ft. We were under cloud for a good chunk of the walk (with the usual solid cloud layer forming a floor below us) but conditions weren’t bad at all for walking. Things steepened some just before we reached camp, but our now seasoned team of ten tough climbers just chugged right on up without much trouble, arriving at 15,200 ft Barafu Camp at 12:15 PM. The altitude didn’t seem to give Tosha, our chef, any problems, he put out a fine lunch at 1:30. In a sign that they are all doing quite well, our team ate every last bit of that fine lunch.
The afternoon was spent resting and prepping to climb. We’re headed for an early dinner and an early bedtime, although it might be tough to take our eyes off the sunset. We’ll be getting up early (or more properly -late tonight) There is a mountain to climb!
RMI Guide Dave Hahn & Team
It seems to be quite a mindblowing journey. Be courageous. Enjoy!
Posted by: Bertrand Lambotte on 8/25/2019 at 5:20 am
Climb like the wind!
Posted by: Jeff Tracy on 8/25/2019 at 4:22 am
August 23, 2019
Posted by: Dave Hahn
It was sleep-in day at Barranco Camp. We didn’t start slurping coffee until 7:30 this morning and breakfast at 8:00 was a leisurely affair. There were several good reasons for going slow and dragging feet. Barranco Camp is a beautiful place and absolutely worth spending a little more quality time in. But strategy-wise, we wanted to give neighboring teams and their associated porters the chance to get out ahead of us and to clear the tricky ledges and scrambly bits of the Great Barranco Wall before we committed to it. Secondarily, we knew we didn’t have a long way to go to reach Karanga Camp. So it was 9:40 before we put on our packs and followed Gama to the start of the wall. The strategy worked… while we didn’t exactly have the track to ourselves, there weren’t any big bottlenecks or traffic jams and we were able to figure out the tricky rock moves without much pressure or stress. In truth, the great majority of the “wall” is just walking or careful walking. And we did all of that well. We gained about 900 feet in elevation and popped out on top of the wall to easy terrain and gorgeous views of Kibo and the rest of the world. As usual, the rest of the world -with a few exceptions- was under the sea of white cloud lapping at the slopes of the mountain a thousand feet below.
We had tea and snacks at that 13,900 ft high point and then carried on traversing to the east. After another hour we’d reached the steep walled Karanga Valley. Our camp sat on the opposite rim, so we dropped down a dusty trail to the valley floor and marched up the opposing flank to our home for the night. Karanga Camp is at virtually the same altitude we slept at last night -13,000 ft, so we hope to solidify our acclimatization before moving higher tomorrow. We made it here in four hours,allowing plenty of time for rest, for kite flying, and for more of Tosha’s great cooking.
Posted by: Jeff Tracy on 8/24/2019 at 6:01 am
The SUMMIT awaits. Congrats to all for a great hike so far…and yet to come. Excited for summit pics. High fives and hugs to Peter Jacqueline and Steven!
Posted by: Erin Anton on 8/23/2019 at 1:00 pm
August 22, 2019
Posted by: Dave Hahn
Our night at Shira was calm and quiet and not terribly cold. There wasn’t much frost on the tents at 6:30 AM when we rolled out of bed. Mt Meru -our 15,000 ft volcanic neighbor to the West- was standing proudly on the horizon above low clouds. Kibo was cloud-free above us. After the usual deluxe breakfast, we set out around 8:15 for higher places. Walking was easier than yesterday as the altitude gain was more gradual and the terrain much more open and broad. The vegetation -at first- was like a high chaparral mesa in the American West, but as we climbed toward the base of Kibo, the vegetation played out to just a few simple grasses. Within a couple of hours, we’d broken altitude records for half the group as we passed 14,000 and ultimately 15,000 ft on our way to the “Lava Tower” at 15,200 ft. The upper sky stayed largely free of clouds as we reached our high point at the tower. Our fabulous staff had a picnic lunch waiting for us. We lounged about in the strong sunshine until 1 PM before throwing on packs again for the descent toward Barranco Camp.
There were a few steeper spots that required full attention on the walk down, but much of our afternoon was on easier grades that allowed for sightseeing. There were lava caves and waterfalls and groves of scenecios and lobelias. Up above was the gigantic and precipitous south face of Kibo with snow and ice fields clinging improbably to the mountain. Near 3 PM we cruised into another expertly constructed camp -this one at 13,000 ft below the Great Barranco Wall. Then we got into our familiar afternoon pattern, snack, drink water, nap, stare in wonder at the beauty around us. By nightfall, the stars above were outrageous and some of the lights from Moshi were showing through the clouds below to complete the magical scene.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn & Team
Stay vertical and enjoy the popcorn. It’s the best on earth.
Posted by: Jeff Tracy on 8/23/2019 at 4:18 am
Many thanks for news
have a good next step
Posted by: jean lambotte on 8/22/2019 at 11:35 pm