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Entries from Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Chillaxing at the Arumeru River Lodge

Our entire team was in agreement that a night at 10,000 ft was just what the doctor ordered.  Sure, there were some tired legs and sore backs at Mweka Camp this morning, but so many other problems had magically disappeared with the dropping of a vertical mile in sleeping elevation.  We ate breakfast as the sun started to find its way through the heather and hanging moss.  Afterward, our entire staff assembled to serenade and entertain us (and themselves) with singing and dancing.  Before long, we were all laughing and clapping at their costumed portrayal of a western tourist, out for a climb.  The customary tipping ceremony followed in which we passed out gratuities while shaking hands and personally thanking each of 51 strong and talented men.  By 8:30 we were on the trail and losing altitude once again.  Quickly, we transitioned back into a thick and lush rain forest.  While we’d started out with blue sky and sunshine, inevitably we entered the cloud sea that had been so far below for much of the week.  We never got anything worse than the odd sprinkle and a little mist down in the clouds and that kept the dirt trail from getting totally sloppy and slippery.  One certainly had to pay close attention though, so as not to slip, trip or tumble in the process of descending 4,000 vertical feet.  Porters from our own team, as well as from surrounding teams, came thundering down the track -mud or no mud- with fifty pound loads balanced on their heads.  By late morning we’d all reached the national park gate at Mweka.  Naturally we got pics of the gang at the final signpost of the journey, then we signed out of the park and walked through a bit of road construction to where the Barking Zebra staff had laid out a fine picnic lunch at a local art gallery and tourist shop.  Thus fortified, we took on the two hour bus trip down through Moshi and over to the edge of Arusha.  Everyone was ready for showers and comfy furniture back at the Arumeru River Lodge.  The afternoon passed quickly as we reconnected to the world, dried and cleaned gear and readied other -less serious and substantial gear- for our safari starting tomorrow morning.  We had a relaxed victory dinner together to celebrate the completion of the climb and to bid farewell to Darcy who’ll be boarding jets and getting home for work while we go poke around a few more National Parks to see what we can see. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Summit the Roof of Africa!

Update August 14th at 10:56 am PST:
The nights are long in this part of the world… approaching 12 hours.  My Kilimanjaro climbing team knows this all too well after today’s climb to the tippy top.  We set out from high camp at 12:40 AM and it was nearly six hours before the sun made an appearance.  Our first few hours of climbing weren’t so bad… it was pitch dark -with no moon- but it was also nice and calm.  When we reached 17,000 ft though, a 20 mph wind found us and stayed with us, dropping temps and making us all crave sunshine.  When we got it -at around 18,500 ft- the sunrise itself was gorgeous, and the winds dropped away, but only until we hit Stella Point on the crater rim at 7:15.  Our victory lap along the rim to Uhuru was made in winds up to 35 or 40 mph.  That certainly made it tough to do much sightseeing.  We each just concentrated on walking and breathing.  We hit Uhuru, the true summit, at 8:20 and stayed exactly eight minutes.  That was long enough for a few high fives, hugs and hero shots… and then we boogied.  We got out of the worst of the wind when we left the crater rim and temperatures got reasonable.  We skied the scree to get lower fast.  The goal was obviously to get off the mountain safely, but it was also to get back down to the altitudes that don’t hurt one’s head and rile one’s stomach.  Our great Barking Zebra staff helped us immensely in getting home to Barafu in good time.  We were there at 11:30 AM just in time for brunch in the dining tent.  Then -although we were all in the mood for naps- we packed up and got walking down for another 3.5 hours. We shed another 5,000 vertical feet to reach Mweka Camp down in the trees at the 10,000 ft level.  It turns out that the days are pretty long in these parts too… in any case, we’re all looking forward to a long night’s sleep tonight.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

[audio transcription]
Hey, this is Dave Hahn with the Kilimanjaro Climb. We made the summit today. We’re back at high camp now at Barafu at 15,000 feet. At 8:20 this morning we were at Uhuru,19341 feet above sea level, highest point in Africa. It was a windy cold morning. It was a hard climb, but we did it and we’re safely back at high camp and we’re going to head down to Mweka Camp, 10,000 feet to finish the day. All for now. Bye.

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

RMI Guide Dave Hahn calls in post-summit of Kilimanjaro.

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

So proud of you all!! Way to go!! That is so awesome.  Excited to hear about the trip.  Safe travels home.

Posted by: Brenda Drezen on 8/15/2018 at 8:00 am

Congratulations, Lory Beth!

Posted by: Leonard Brendel on 8/15/2018 at 5:38 am

Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Ready for Summit Bid

All the preparation is finished.  We’re healthy and comfy (relatively) at high camp.  It wasn’t even such a tough job to get here.  We woke to perfect weather at Karanga Camp.  The sun hit while we were sipping coffee and gazing down on the now-familiar sea of clouds far below.  Kibo was cloud-free and out in all its glory above us.  Without a puff of wind, it was easy to put the final touches on our packs after breakfast and to get ready for walking at 9 AM.  Our fifty man support staff didn’t want us to walk away all grim and work focused though… they quickly assembled and began clapping and singing -and inevitably dancing and laughing, until we joined in and got our morning stretch session done the fun way.  We then set out behind Philibet’s capable leadership.  It was easy ground compared to the walls we’ve climbed in recent days.  Just a steady and slow altitude gain through progressively less desert vegetation.  We had the whole move done in three hours and pulled into 15,000 ft Barafu (Swahili for “ice”) Camp at noon.  The team alternated between resting and eating, drinking and packing for the afternoon.  The normal lassitude and our fair share of intermittent headaches afflicted us as we whiled away the afternoon, but all in all we’re feeling strong and excited… ready for an “alpine start” and a big day of going to new heights and seeing new sights.  Tosha is going to serve up a 5:30 dinner and after it, we’ll try not to stare overly long at the sunset and amazing colors… we’ll zip ourselves into the tents for some crucial rest before the alarms go off at 11:30 PM and the climb to the top of Africa begins. 
Stay Tuned.

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

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Very Happy for the Bogert family for their accomplishment.  Looking forward to hearing all about your venture on your return!!

Posted by: Chaffee on 8/15/2018 at 10:23 am

Even your camp is well above Long’s Peak altitude! Keep trekking Bogert family. Stay safe! - Cole

Keep up the great work and have fun, so excited for you to reach the peak! - Amber

Posted by: Cole and Amber on 8/13/2018 at 9:04 pm

Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Climb Great Barranco Wall

A number of the team reported their “best night yet” at Barranco Camp.  Perhaps that was because we’d put in a good hard day, but it could also have been the calming ambient noise of waterfalls and streams flowing near the tents.  We were drinking coffee at 7:30, still before the sun found its way into the steep sided valley.  After another great breakfast, we were headed off to climb the Great Wall at 9 AM.  Luckily, we don’t have too many other teams on our schedule and so “traffic” was light as we tackled the steep rock ledges of the lower wall.  Frank led the team today, while Freddy, Philibet, Naiman and James kept careful watch on the team, pointing out the odd missed hand or foothold in the rough lava scramble.  It was quite pleasant to rest atop the wall in calm sunshine with the steep bulk of Kibo shining overhead.  Another, easier section of walking took us to the steep cut of the Karanga Valley.  All that remained then was to drop down one steep side of the gorge and to march up the opposite side.  The team mastered the “rest step” on this ascent and kicked in some “pressure breathing” for good measure.  We rolled in to camp at 13,100 ft at about 1:30 and were sitting down to lunch not too long afterward.  Clouds formed up to hide the upper mountain and to shield us from the strong sunshine for the afternoon.  We’ll see if they break up for sunset and to allow our traditional stargazing after dinner. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Sorry Emily and Phil .. I meant to say Phil.. silly Joey…

Posted by: JoAnn and Chris Bolton on 8/12/2018 at 3:42 pm

Great job team! Once again beautiful views! So happy for yu all and what you have accomplished!! Of course.. hugs to Emily and Ryan!! Climb on!!

Posted by: JoAnn and Chris Bolton on 8/12/2018 at 3:40 pm

Kilimanjaro: Okita & Team Enjoy Last Day in Africa

Before parting ways the team had one last day to see animals.  It had been a really busy trip so far so half the group opted to sleep in while the other half got up early in search of some more close encounters. We were not disappointed.
First,  we spent 10-15 minutes within 10 yards of a huge giraffe. Not bad, but our next big break came when we got surrounded by a family of elephants, including the cutest little baby. These critters were sometimes no more than 5’ away. And we were in their midst for over half an hour. Incredible!
Then, getting to watch a huge herd of water buffalo heading to the river, again at unreal distances, was darned special. The herd must have numbered around 100.
This, in addition to seeing countless other animals made our last day wonderful.  The only animal we missed out on that day was seeing a lion.  But, wouldn’t you know that the sleepyhead crew found a beautiful lioness that hung out right next to their Landcruiser!
So we all had a great last day. 
We then drove back to the hotel, with a short break at a cultural center, to relax and shower before getting our evening flights out of Tanzania. Most of the crew actually built in an extra day or three to maximize their time abroad. Smart people!
The two weeks went by quickly, as they tend to do when we’re as busy as we were. I think I speak for the whole team when I say what a great time it was.  A fun adventure with a great bunch of folks. This is what climbing trips are all about, and what keeps me doing this for as long as I have. I know I’ll be climbing with the team again on a new adventure sometime.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these posts of our adventures. Perhaps I’ll see you on a climb sometime.  Kilimanjaro in 2019 anyone???

Take care and safe travels,
RMI Guide Brent Okita

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Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team at Shira Camp

We woke to crystal clear skies today at Machame Camp and so the team got their first views of Kibo, Kilimanjaro’s central peak.  We could see the hanging glaciers and ice fields sparkling in the morning light.  Way down below us, there were clouds, but they were minding their own business and didn’t seem capable of rising up to swallow us.  After a fine breakfast, we hit the trail at 8 AM with Philibet leading the charge.  It was a slow charge as the trail steepened and got a whole lot more rocky just out of camp.  But we made good progress anyway, gaining altitude through a forest of giant heather.  Directly behind us and out on the western horizon was the giant pyramid of Mt Meru, Tanzania’s third highest peak rising out of a sea of low cloud.  We gained a ridge crest and traveled along it toward Kibo for a ways before banging a left turn and traversing a series of old lava ledges.  Finally, at about 12,700 ft we turned a corner and walked onto the broad Shira Plateau.  We finished up by dropping downhill briefly before coming into our new camp at 12,500 ft.  We’d seen our first Senecios and Lobelias, some of the distinctive endemic plants of Kilimanjaro.  We’d gotten the walking finished in about five hours which gave us plenty of time for a relaxing afternoon in Shira Camp.  The team reviewed their Swahili vocabulary at 4:30 tea time and watched a fine sunset a few hours later out over the old volcanic towers of Shira.  We filed into the big dining tent by headlight at 7:00 and were once again greatly impressed with the meal that Tosha had produced in his simple kitchen tent.  It was another fabulous evening for stars and planets… and sleep as well. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

So excited for you all and this amazing adventure.  Continued prayers for a safe journey.  Love and blessings.

Posted by: Holly Gilliam on 8/11/2018 at 12:59 pm

Wishing you the best, Lory Beth.

Posted by: Leonard Brendel on 8/11/2018 at 8:37 am

Kilimanjaro: Okita & Team Safari at Tarangire National Park

When Luis posed the question last night if we could sleep in until 8:00, I just had to say yes.  After all,  we’d been going strong for days on end and were due some slack.  The whole table erupted in celebration on hearing my response. So, at the civilized hour of 9:00 we left our wonderful hotel en route for some souvenir shopping, to check out a Masaai Village and then on to our last full day safari.
Tarangire National Park has not disappointed. The sheer numbers of animals seen right off the bat were amazing.  Plus we got to see animals we haven’t yet seen: giraffes, elands, and a few other critters.  We also got to see numerous elephants.  After all,  this park boasts the highest density of elephants around.
Our day was made complete when we got up close and personal with a big old giraffe, maybe 20 yards away. How cool!
Now we’re at our last ‘hotel’, Balloon Camp.  Yes, from the outside these structures look camp like, but given the polished wood floors, marble topped bathroom, queen sized bed, it’s not ‘camp’!
Our group was seated outside for dinner with a full on barbecue buffet that did not disappoint.  What took place before was pretty cool too. As we were enjoying a drink in front of a huge bonfire, all of the sudden a group of Masaai came dancing into our midst. They put on a well done show, even drawing us Westerners out of our comfort zones to join in the dancing.
Interestingly, the hotel has a policy that after dark everyone needs an escort to and from the main lodge and their rooms/ cabins.  The staff was also very attentive to the bush just outside our outdoor seating, continually pointing their lights into the Bush. We did spy an impala looking in on the festivities.
Some of us were secretly hoping for a lion to check out at close range, but no such luck. Still, seeing the fresh elephant dung just outside my cabin was a great reality check.  We’re in their world at this place.
I must admit I’m hoping to see/ hear a big old elephant go walking by my cabin tonight.
As the trip draws to a close we’re all looking forward to seeing loved ones again.  But I, for one, will miss Africa.
Getting up early tomorrow we’re going to see some lions up close, and anything else that wants to show its beautiful face in the morning.

All for now,
RMI Guide Brent Okita

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Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Begin from the Machame Gate

With all due modesty, we crushed day one.  We were out of our hotel and on the bus and on the road just after eight.  Out on the highway, our driver Said had the windshield wipers on as the clouds were low and gray and leaking a little rain.  But ninety minutes later, as we passed in to Kilimanjaro National Park at the 6,000 ft Machame Gate, it wasn’t raining.  As is normal, it took a bit of time to get the group registered for the climb and to get the staffing and loads sorted out, but then, at 10:40 we started walking.  Freddy, of our local guide staff, set a “pole pole” pace… nice and slow and steady and we fell into a good rhythm behind him.  James, our lead guide, and Frank, Phillibet, and Naiman brought up the rear.  The trail, which can be muddy and slippery, was actually in pretty good shape today.  The clouds stayed with us for the first half of the day and we got a hint of wet mist and sprinkles before things cleared out a bit in the afternoon.  We could even see our shadows from time to time as the sun came and went.  The team walked well and seemed to have little difficulty with the steady gain in altitude.  We went from hours deep within the rain forest, to a final half hour in a transition to the “Heather and Mooreland” zone and finally walked into Machame Camp at 10,000 ft in a respectable five and a half hours after our start.  Our staff had not only beat us to camp, they’d built the camp.  Everything was perfectly set up and welcoming for our team to move in.  We did afternoon tea with popcorn and then followed that up with one of Chef Tosha’s magnificent dinners.  We spent a few minutes looking up at the night sky before turning in… Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars were putting on a show and the milky way was trying hard to outshine them.

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Great climb today team! You all look amazing! Keep on with your great adventure! Hugs and kisses to Emily and Phil!!

Posted by: JoAnn & Chris Bolton on 8/9/2018 at 6:24 pm

Kilimanjaro: Okita & Team Have an Incredible Day at Ngorongoro Crater

I’ll have difficulty describing the sheer numbers of animals that we saw today, so bear with me. If there are ten thousand big animals in the Ngorongoro Crater,  we probably saw half of them.
Our safari started quietly enough enjoying the views of the quintessentially African Acacia trees and some water bucks browsing as we descended into the caldera. Once there, the occasional zebra and wildebeest showed up, but then we really got into the animals. Herd sizes got bigger and gazelles, impalas, hyenas, jackals, wart hogs got into the picture.
Hippos were seen from just feet away as they baked in the sun half submerged in ponds. But then the mission was to find the royalty of the crater,  the lions and elephants.  We didn’t have to wait long. Although this pride of lions were mostly sleeping and not out chasing dinner, we were en rapt by their presence.
Elephants were next, though they were at a distance. However, their mammoth size made them stand out like the giants they are on the savanna. Rhinos too were seen from a distance, but the water buffalo showed itself up close and personal.
The day was capped off by seeing five elephants just 70 yards away at the top of the crater as we were leaving the park. Not to mention the baboons that were scattered all over the road on the way out,  just hanging out, getting each other.  One even jumped on our Landcruiser, causing a stir as we quickly rolled up windows.
Then it was back to the hotel where Luis arranged a nice wine tasting before dinner.  Following another great meal the hotel staff came out with a cake to celebrate Gennadiy’s birthday,  and outdid themselves with a wonderful Tanzanian birthday song and dance.
The evening ended with a huge bonfire and libations.
Another safari to come,  I’ll be back after that.

RMI Guide Brent Okita

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Kilimanjaro: Team Arrives in Tanzania

Well it took until mid-morning, but we finally had our whole team, with gear, in one place.  Ten climbers and one RMI guide meeting at the hotel in Usa River on the outskirts of Arusha, Tanzania.  Folks are jet-lagged, but today was actually an easy day of discussing the plan of attack, conducting gear checks and getting things packed and ordered for going on the mountain.  That didn’t take the whole day, and so there was plenty of time for napping and strolling the gardens of the Arumeru River Lodge.  Kilimanjaro was visible from the viewing tower on the grounds and was looking magnificent with all of the recent snow up high.  We got together for dinner and talked climbing (naturally) but also chatted about running and biking and careers and pretty places. 
We’ll get on the road in the morning for Kilimanjaro. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

You guys rock!!! So fun to follow you on this.  THANK YOU!! Enjoy your climb.  We will praying and cheering from here.  Love ya

Posted by: Brenda Drezen on 8/9/2018 at 4:31 pm

Sounds like you had a great first day!  Excited to be able to follow your journey. Hope Jon is feeling better. Enjoy your adventure. ❤️ Kathy and Bill

Posted by: Kathy Bogert on 8/9/2018 at 3:47 pm

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