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Entries from Kilimanjaro


Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Bid Farewell After Their Climb and Safari

Our final day in Africa started way out in Balloon Camp in Tarangire National Park.  Our “tent cabins” were luxurious and the staff helpful and friendly in getting us out on the dirt road by 7 AM.  We were still deep within the park, and so within a moment or two of saying our goodbyes we were standing in the back of the Landcruisers looking for leopards.  They eluded us.  But an extremely beautiful, quiet morning in the wilderness did not elude us.  We stopped frequently for eagles, vultures, cool tracks, impalas and hartebeest.  We came on a seemingly endless parade of giraffes who stopped long enough for a photo and to nibble the acacia trees in passing.  Families of elephants came by on their grass eating missions, bound for rivers and pools.  We looked up every tree and under every bush for cats and predators, but the best we could scare up were a couple of cute little jackals following a gang of impala. 
By 11 AM we left the park and hit the highway toward Arusha.  We made one stop as we reached town, at the cultural heritage museum and craft shop, then we pressed on toward Usa River and our hotel.  We had time to shower and repack and even rest before an early dinner -our last together- and loading up on one more bus.  Kilimanjaro was out and awesome as we ate and then rode toward the airport in the last of daylight.  It seems hard to believe that two short weeks ago, we hadn’t all known one another.  It also seems hard to believe how many things we’ve since accomplished as a team.  We’ll start going in separate directions again fairly soon -but with a heck of a lot of fine memories to connect us. 
Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Explore in Tarangire National Park

It was a little tough leaving the Plantation Lodge this morning -it is a very comfortable place and we’d enjoyed our two nights there, but it was time to be moving on.  Tarangire National Park beckoned, and we were excited to see what we could see.  There were a couple of important stops to make on the drive over, one of which was a visit to a Maasai village.  The Maasai are just one of many tribes in Tanzania, but they stand out because they choose to continue living in a traditional style, forgoing modern conveniences.  We witnessed singing and dancing and a demo of how to rub sticks to make fire.  We went into the sleeping dwellings and asked our tour guides a million questions about polygamy, arranged marriages, education and building materials.  The team did a little gift shopping when the women of the village presented their handmade craftwork.  We then headed for the park, excited to see the wildlife.  Tarangire is a series of parallel rivers and shallow valleys separated by rolling hills and broad savanna.  Before too long we were spotting birds and impala, warthogs and waterbucks.  It took a bit before we saw giraffes and elephants, but then things quickly got interesting.  A bull elephant pointed himself directly at a couple of lounging lions and not only disturbed their date, he chased the male lion and stood trumpeting on the ground they surrendered.  A high point for many of us was seeing elephant families that included a number of one month old babies.  One family of 20 took to a pond to cool off and splashed, wrestled, drank and rolled for no other logical reason than that it was just plain old pachyderm fun.  We found big and solitary bull elephants and watched their behavior… all serious and food focused, in contrast to the matriarch ruled families.  Some of the day’s best cruising was done in late afternoon as the sun got low on lush green fields, gigantic baobab and skinny palm trees.  We finished up in friendly Balloon Camp -a rustic hideaway hotel in the bush.  We’ve got one last morning to see leopards and cheetahs. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Visit Lake Manyara National Park

Our safari guides, Juma and Edson, showed up right on schedule this morning with their souped up Toyota Landcruisers.  We climbed in just after 8 AM and left Arumeru River Lodge -our home away from home.  This was a good day to ride around in automobiles after a solid week of walking.  It took some time to get through Arusha’s rush hour, but we were thoroughly entertained watching cargo motorcycles and the like.  Eventually we broke into the open country west of town and rambled along dodging speed bumps and Maasai cattle.  We reached Lake Manyara National Park at midday.  Early on we focused on baboons and monkeys.  Some of the big animals were just plain lazy on this hot and sunny day.  It was around 90 F and so the elephants we spied in the forest were sticking to shady hollows.  We began to see waterbucks and bushbucks, impala and exotic birds aplenty.  As we came into open country along the lake edge, we could see zebra, wildebeest, and Cape buffalo everywhere.  Looking at the nearby escarpment of the Great Rift Valley, it wasn’t too hard to imagine a time when such wildlife dominated its entire 10,000 km length.  We spied giraffes, although not in great numbers.  A hippo got out of the water long enough for us to admire his buff physique.  We saw warthogs with their little warthoglets.  The big cats eluded us today, although we kept sharp eyes peeled for them.  All in all it was a great day out.  Juma and Edson dazzled us with their knowledge of Tanzania, its parks and people… and the fabulous critters we were glimpsing.  At quitting time we were parched and ready for a little relaxation.  Everyone’s eyes opened wide when they saw Plantation Lodge’s perfectly cared for gardens, luxurious rooms and friendly staff.  This place will do just fine, thanks… not missing our tents. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Hi Chris and Darrin!  I’ve been following your entire trip and I am in awe of what you both accomplished! the scenery is beautiful and it appears like you all are having a great time. Congratulations on reaching all your goals on this trip.  Talk soon!

Posted by: Cathy Brandes on 2/9/2018 at 9:23 am


Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Descend and Return to Arumeru River Lodge

Almost as if to make up for rain and sloppy conditions yesterday evening, today we were granted a perfect morning.  We made good use of it.  It was great to wake to birds singing… a reminder that we’d come all the way from the alpine zone to the forest and the land of living things.  Despite the long, hard day yesterday, everybody showed up smiling at breakfast.  After refueling, we stood out in the bright sunshine for a goodbye ceremony with our mountain staff.  We tipped them, which is merely normal practice when forty men have worked their tails off to help you accomplish your dreams, and they sang to entertain us… and themselves.  We knew -and they knew- that we’d done a lot more than just work together for a week, we’d become friends -which was worth commemorating.  The singing and dancing with Kilimanjaro as an enormous and majestic backdrop won’t be forgotten.  We then shouldered packs and dropped down the four thousand vertical feet separating us from the Mweka Gate.  The trail was in surprisingly good condition -suggesting that yesterday’s rains had only fallen on our heads and weren’t widespread.  We got into safari mode on the hike out by spotting a few black and white Colobus Monkeys in the trees.  At trail’s end around noon, we signed out with the National Park, had a fine lunch and got rolling down the highway.  We drove out of the cultivation zone, full of bananas and coffee, and then cruised through the outskirts of Moshi.  It took a couple of hours in the bus to reach our garden sanctuary at the Arumeru River Lodge.  Showers and cold beverages were very much in order.  We each took a stab at reconnecting with the virtual world before meeting for a great dinner and lots of laughs and recollections about the real world of Kilimanjaro. 
Tomorrow our adventure will continue… time for a safari!

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Descend to Mweka Camp, Recap Summit Day

As planned, we were up and getting ready at 11:30 last night.  It was a calm and clear night with just enough moon to see by but not so much that the stars were washed out.  We set out at 12:40 AM.  There were headlights well up the mountainside already, which was a pretty thing to see, but it also made clear just how far and high we had to go.  We took hourly rest breaks, and sure enough, we put more clothing on at almost every pre-dawn break, until we basically had it all on.  Those were cold hours, anticipating a 6:30 sunrise.  It caught us at about 18,000 ft and instantly made life a whole lot easier.  We pulled onto the crater rim at Stella Point after seven hours on the go.  Another hour and ten minutes got us over to Uhuru, the true summit.  It was magical walking along the crater rim and checking out the glaciers and the lay of the land on the roof of Africa.  High fives and handshakes were in order on the top.  There may have been a tear or two, and of course a bunch of pictures.  We started down after thirty minutes.  Our clear day was already going cloudy, but that kept some sun off of us for the descent, which was a good thing.  At 12:10 PM we were back to Barafu.  A great sit down lunch in our dining tent did wonders to restore our strength, we packed up and started down toward Mweka Camp just after 2 PM.  When the rain and hail hit halfway through our 4 hour, 5,000’ descent, it wasn’t totally unexpected.  We couldn’t very well run down the tricky rock trail to escape the showers.  Ultimately it meant that we had to watch every single slippery step on the way to camp at 10,000’.  The rains quit as we got in at 6 PM but life was a little soggy and muddy for our final night on the mountain.  We’re not complaining though… on the contrary, we’re feeling lucky that we got perfect weather exactly when we needed it for climbing. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Cheers to all! An awesome accomplishment. Now relax and have even more fun!

Posted by: Your favorite aunt on 2/7/2018 at 11:51 am

You rock! What an experience.

Posted by: Karen Crompton on 2/7/2018 at 2:51 am


Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Reach the Summit, Uhuru Peak

Hey, this is Dave Hahn with the RMI Kilimanjaro team from Utah. We’re on the summit. It’s 9 a.m. and we are on the highest point in Africa, Uhuru (Peak) 19,341 feet. It’s a beautiful day up here, just a little breeze on top. We’re all enjoying ourselves, taking a couple of pictures and will send you a dispatch from camp tonight to let you know that we’ve all got down safe. Everything’s going really well. Thanks for following along. Bye for now.

RMI Guide Dave Hahn


RMI Guide Dave Hahn calls from the summit of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

19,341…! Congrats to all and cheers! Looking forward to raising a glass of the finest beverage of choice upon your return! You guys “rock”...... get it, “rock” !

Posted by: Lee & Susie on 2/6/2018 at 4:45 pm

Congrats to all!!!  So excited for each of you…such an accomplishment!  Can’t wait to hear all about it.  Continue your safe travels.

Posted by: Brandi Gerdes on 2/6/2018 at 10:15 am


Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team at Barafu Hut, Ready for Summit Bid

Morning was easier at Karanga.  The sun was on camp early and we weren’t parked down with the cold air in a valley.  It was a leisurely start to the day since we didn’t have far to go to make High Camp.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, but since we knew they’d form up soon, we drank in views of Kibo’s giant rock walls and tenacious glaciers.  We marched out of Karanga at 9 AM and worked up a broad and tilted plateau.  The clouds did indeed form up, but that didn’t bother us.  We concentrated on efficiency techniques in walking and breathing and told tall tales from high places to pass the time.  Things steepened just a bit as we came to the final ridge but we were feeling strong and arrived in Barafu -or “Ice” Camp at 12:15.
After an incredibly good lunch of fresh foods cooked from scratch at 15,000 ft, we strategized and plotted our summit bid and then packed and prepped for it.  Dinner was early, and so was bedtime, with folks turning in just after 6 PM.  We’re aiming for a midnight breakfast and an alpine start.  Hopes are high… just as they ought to be with everything running smoothly.
Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

So excited for you two to make to the summit!  Looking forward to the great photo !

Posted by: Shirley on 2/6/2018 at 11:10 am

So excited for you two to make to the summit!  Looking forward to the great photo !

Posted by: Shirley on 2/6/2018 at 11:10 am


Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Conquer the Barranco Wall

We woke up in clear and cold splendor down in the Barranco Valley.  Kibo seemed directly overhead with glaciers and icefields hanging at impossible angles.  We were done with breakfast and packing our packs when our entire staff… forty porters, guides, camp and kitchen boys surprised us with a singing and dancing session.  Led by Mbongo… a highly talented porter in an “American” costume, the team laughed their way through five or six sing-alongs while we joined in, clapping, dancing and cracking up.  It was good fun and also served to ease any anxiety folks might have had about tackling the imposing Barranco Wall right out of camp.  We set out at about 9:30 and within just a few minutes were putting hands on cold rock to pull ourselves up from one set of ledges to another in order to negotiate the wall.  Traffic was pretty light -there have only been a handful of other teams sharing camps with us- which made things a good deal easier.  By 11 AM we were atop the wall and the sky was clouding over -repeating the pattern of the past few days.  We crossed down into the next valley to continue our traverse of the south side of Kilimanjaro.  By the time we hit the steep sides of the Karanga Valley, we were enveloped by swirling mists again.  A final thirty minute climb out of the valley brought us to Karanga Camp at 13,160 ft.  We ate a late lunch and relaxed in camp for a few hours while the clouds and a few sprinkles came and went.  Stepping out after dinner, we discovered the clouds were gone and that a million stars were out overhead while a carpet of lights far below pinpointed Moshi and a few other towns.  All in all, we thought it was a pretty good Super Bowl Sunday even without TV.

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Well done up there. Safe successful and happy summit ascent - much Love Paul and Julie xox

Posted by: Paul Ropner on 2/6/2018 at 3:57 am

Congrats on conquering the B Wall! Press on to the summit! Utah love!

Posted by: Lee & Susie on 2/5/2018 at 5:21 am


Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Crest the Shira Plateau

We woke to crystal clear skies and a view of Kibo -Kilimanjaro’s central peak.  After breakfast, we were walking by 8:30 AM.  Our trail today was more difficult, right from the start, with steeper grades and bigger steps through volcanic rock.  We labored uphill through the “heather and mooreland zone” a very different type of vegetation than yesterday’s near jungle of big trees.  In general, we were coming into the open, with bigger views in all directions.  Eventually we worked along a ridge crest enjoying glimpses of hawks and eagles soaring below our vantage point.  After several hours and several thousand feet of vertical gain, we began a traverse to the left out toward the Shira Plateau.  By afternoon, clouds had overtaken us and we walked in swirling mists.  A few steeper rock features required sharper concentration and the use of handholds and balancing, but eventually we turned the corner onto the plateau and walked down a couple hundred feet on easy ground to reach Shira Camp at 12,600 ft.  The day’s March had taken us just over five hours.  We’d earned a restful afternoon going back and forth between our sleeping tents and the dining tent.  Rain showers caught up to us in the early evening, but only for 15 minutes or so.  By the time we finished dinner we had largely clear skies and a million stars. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Yahoo! Thinking about you guys every day. Onward and upward!

Posted by: Lynne Elliott (FA) on 2/3/2018 at 6:44 am

Dilly Dilly! Press forward! Great photos!

Posted by: Lee and Susie on 2/2/2018 at 1:34 pm


Kilimanjaro: Grom & Team Continue Their Safari at Tarangire National Park

Hello everyone,

Today we headed to Tarangire National Park known for its abundant elephants, and it didn’t disappoint. Not sure how many we saw, probably several hundred at the least. It wouldn’t seem like we could get tired of seeing elephants, but there were so many that eventually we had to keep driving so we could see other animals.
There were lots of giraffes, impalas, monkeys, ostriches, and many others.
One of the highlights was seeing a male Cheetah up close, only about 20 feet away. He was just relaxing under a big tree overlooking a small pond and hardly seemed to notice us.
We are spending our last night here in Africa at Tarangire Balloon Camp, which has beautiful tented rooms with screen windows to allow the sounds of the African bush in.
Everyone is doing great and hoping to see a few more big cats on our way out tomorrow. Then it will be back to our main lodge near Arusha for a brief stop before catching our evening flights home.
Thanks for following.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

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