Entries from Kilimanjaro
January 23, 2018
Posted by: Casey Grom
Hi everybody. This is Casey Grom checking from the Kilimanjaro trip. Just wanted to let you know that all is going well here in Tanzania. We made about an hour and a half drive to the base of Kilimanjaro. Once we arrived at the gate, it took a little while to get all our gear sorted and weighed and allotted to the porters that we’re going to have helping us on this climb. It took about an hour waiting there and getting registered and taking care of all our permits and stuff. We then were able to hit the trail. We left at about 11 a.m. and we walked literally right from the park gates right into the thick forest that surrounds the base of Kilimanjaro. We spent the entire day thankfully protected from the sun, in the trees and nice cool weather. We made it to camp with just a few sprinkles of rain falling on us. Now that we’re here up at about 10,000 feet, the sky is clear and it’s a beautiful evening and the team is doing great. Our plan is to get a good night’s sleep here, and then hopefully get up early in the morning and punch out just above the tree line and up onto Shira Plateau. All is well; the team is doing great and we’re off to bed. We’ll check in and hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to get my cellphone to connect and get a few photos out to you guys. Alright, that’s it for now. Thanks for following.
RMI Guide Casey Grom calls in from Kilimanjaro.
On The Map
All is well here in Tanzania as most of the team arrived late last night after some very long flights. It was a short and uneventful ride to our Lodge that is tucked in between Arusha and Moshi and not so far from the base of Kilimanjaro. The team had a quick but delicious dinner and headed for bed as the jet lag is in full effect. Thankfully all our bags and essential gear made it too.
Today we had our first official team meeting after breakfast. We did a round of introductions and then discussed the program for the coming days ahead, along with a review of all the necessary gear.
We spent the second half of the day getting our gear organized, packing up, and exploring the grounds of our Lodge, as it’s an incredibly peaceful lodge with monkeys and Dik Dik roaming the grounds. The weather was nice today and we even managed to see Kili off in the distance.
We finished the evening with another delicious meal and enjoyable conversations and are now off to bed to get a good nights rest before heading to Kilimanjaro bright and early tomorrow morning.
Wishing my beautiful wife Darla and my beautiful daughter Lauren the best of luck of a fun-filled adventure love you guys .
Posted by: Ron Seehafer on 1/23/2018 at 11:16 am
A shout out to my husband, Randy! You are in my every thought and prayer for a safe and fun adventure! Looks like the team is strong! One step at a time and you will reach your goal and another dream! I love you!
Posted by: Lisa DeBoer on 1/22/2018 at 11:12 am
Things continued to be exciting here on our final day in Africa. We started the day early with hopes of seeing a few more animals but the constant rain has most of them running for cover. We did manage to see a few more Lions, elephants, and giraffes, but those smaller cats never showed themselves.
Most of the roads were either a muddy mess or completely covered in water. It made for quite the exciting ride especially after finding our main route impassable due to a bridge being flooded. Thankfully our safari driver knew of another safe way out.
It’s been a memorable experience for everyone and it’s going to be sad to part ways with such a great bunch of folks. But now it’s time to head home and share the stories.
That’s all for this trip.
RMI Guide Casey Grom and the Kili/Safari crew
After a bit of four-wheeling and stellar driving we made our way to Tarangire National Park, which is known for its abundant elephants, in fact, it has more per square mile than any place on earth. However, with all of the rain Tanzania has been receiving lately, there weren’t nearly as many gathered around the river that flows through Tarangire, but we still saw a few. Some as close as a few feet away.
There were plenty of other animals as usual, and we got really close to a few big and young giraffes, which was amazing. We ended our day at a remote and off-grid camp called Tarangire Balloon Camp. It’s a tented camp that lies inside the park with medium-size, screened-in rooms that allow the night sounds of Africa in.
Tomorrow we’ll have an early departure to increase our chances of seeing cheetahs and leopards, as they have still eluded us.
RMI Guide Casey Grom and the Safari crew!
Day 2 on Safari had us visiting the world famous Ngorongoro Crater. The crater is what remains of a once massive volcano that erupted and collapsed on itself, leaving behind a giant caldera that’s almost exactly 100 square miles. In the 2 million years since then, hundreds of animals have taken up residence and have created one of the best Safari options in Africa.
We hit the road early with hopes of catching a few more animals before the heat sent them in search for shade. Shortly after descending down into the crater we came upon several lions with 6 really cute cubs. We continued driving around trying not to stop at all the zebra, wildebeest, and Cape buffalo that were nearly in the way.
There were many sightings today of hyenas, jackals, ostrich, and countless other birds.
One of the highlights was seeing 3 Black Rhinos which have become very rare.
We wrapped up the day with a visit to a Maasai village not far from the craters rim. The Maasai people are a nomadic tribe that exist almost entirely off of their cattle. The team spent time asking questions and enjoyed being shown around their small and simple village.
We have just finished another wonderful meal here at the Plantation Lodge and are looking forward to what tomorrow may bring as we head to Tarangire National Park.
RMI Guide Casey Grom and the Safari crew
Today was the first day of safari for us and we headed east to visit the beautiful Lake Manyara, which is know for its tree climbing lions, pink flamingos, and abundant species of birds. Unfortunately we missed those famous lions, but everyone enjoyed the day cruising around in our safari vehicles.
It’s pretty hot here in Africa, so I’m sure that kept many of the animals hiding in the shade. However we did manage to see a few wildebeest, zebras, Cape buffalo, giraffe, hippos, baboons, impalas and many birds. It was a pretty nice introduction to the incredible wildlife diversity that Africa has and the team is looking forward to seeing more tomorrow.
Yesterday we had a wonderful albeit long day climbing to the summit of Kilimanjaro.
The team woke at the enjoyable hour of 11:30 to thankfully clear skies after a very cloudy evening that had us wondering what lay ahead. We had a quick midnight breakfast of porridge, tea and coffee before hitting the trail at 12:30.
We climbed in hour increments with 10-15 breaks in between, which we’ve been doing every day thus far. The weather was very calm allowing us to take our time and not feel too cold which we were very thankful for. The climb took about 7 1/2 hours to reach the top, and thankfully the sun had risen shortly before reaching the top to help warm us and boost morale after climbing through the night. Once there, we hugged each other, enjoyed the view and took plenty of pictures while we waited in line to get our photos of the sign that adorns the summit.
It was a true test of endurance for most of the crew, and I’m really proud of everyone. We descended back to high camp, had a quick lunch, repacked and continued further down the mountain to our final camp on the mountain, where we had dinner and then headed to bed for some well deserved sleep.
Today we woke at 7:00 feeling good, had breakfast, then enjoyed a goodbye song and dance from our gracious crew of porters, cooks, and local guides numbering 50. We finished the little celebration by handing out their well deserved tips and then hit the trail one last time.
It took a little over three hours to reach the park gate where the team had lunch then hopped aboard our awaiting bus for the ride back to the lodge.
Finally we are all safe and sound, and a little cleaner after an amazing seven-day journey up and down Kilimanjaro.
The team is currently relaxing and looking forward to Safari which starts tomorrow!
RMI Guide Casey Grom and a happy Kilimanjaro crew
January 13, 2018
Posted by: Casey Grom
Hi everybody. Casey Grom checking in from the Kilimanjaro expedition. Just wanted to let you know that everything’s going great today. We finally woke to a clear sky and we’re able to hike almost all day in full sunshine, which was a real treat considering all the clouds and rains and sprinkles that we’ve had this whole week. Everybody’s in great spirits right now. We left our Karanga Camp, which is about 13,000 feet, and slowly made our way up hill up on to a ridge line where our high camp is. It’s called Barafu, and it sits about 15,000 feet. Everybody did fantastic today. They are doing well up here at the new altitude. We just had another amazing meal provided by our cook, Tosha. He’s been taking great care of us. We just had our little summit talk when we went over the game plan for tonight. What time we’re leaving and what to wear, what to bring, all that good stuff. If the weather continues like it is, the game plan is to get up around 11:30, have something to eat, and then start walking about 12:30 tonight. It should take us somewhere between about six and eight hours to reach the summit. If all goes according to plan, I’ve got a SAT phone that I’ve been checking in on and I’m going to do my best to let all the team members give a call home. If you’re following the blog sometime around 7 a.m. Tanzanian time, that’s anywhere from about eight to eleven hour difference ahead of the U.S., we’re going to give you a call. If you see a strange number on your phone, realize it may be us calling to say hello from the summit of Kilimanjaro. Anyway, that’s all for now. Wish us luck. We’re going to head to bed and try to get a couple hours of sleep before we we take off. Thanks.
RMI Guide Casey Grom calls in from Kilimanjaro's High Camp.
On The Map
Jay and Mary…hope you guys are having a climb of a lifetime! Have fun and be safe!
Posted by: Swayts on 1/14/2018 at 5:08 pm
This might be a little late but at the summit, reach for the stars and shake Grandpa’s hand. He would be so proud of you just as all of us are. Again be safe there’s lots of love back home.
Posted by: Caralee (Alex’s mom) on 1/14/2018 at 10:50 am
January 12, 2018
Posted by: Casey Grom
Hello, everybody. This is Casey Grom checking in from the Kilimanjaro Expedition. It is day four and finally we woke to a little bit of nice weather. There was a little bit of sunshine and some broken clouds. Before the clouds came back in, we finished our little camp luckily without having to wear Gore-tex today. That was super exciting for everybody. Today our first obstacle, which was the technical crux of this whole climb is the Barranco Wall and it was only about 20 minutes outside of camp where we start the ascent up the 1,000-foot rock wall. Luckily for us and everybody else, it is a nice broken pitch system that meanders and weaves it’s way up this wall. It’s still trekking but in a few places where we got to use our hands and baby steps through the trail. Today is a reasonably short day, only about four hours on the trail before we pulled into camp, which was once again fully set up and waiting on us. So we’re being spoiled here by our staff and and taken well care of. Currently the sky has cleared and I am looking up and seeing stars in all directions, so fingers crossed that it will stay this way and we have full sun tomorrow. On another note, we got to celebrate one of our team member’s birthdays up here. Happy birthday Scott! Everybody’s in good spirits and looking forward to moving up to high camp tomorrow. That’s all for tonight, and I will check in again tomorrow when we reach our high camp. Thanks a lot.
RMI Guide Casey Grom calls in from Karanga Camp on Kilimanjaro.
On The Map
Comments from your Team at WhispeKool:
Christian Bromme: Thanks for the updates!
Amy Marquez: Awesome! Looks beautiful over there!
Derek Faul: That’s awesome, what an experience!
Cindi Bent: Wow what a fantastic opportunity, I bet the scenery is breathtaking!
Posted by: Lisa Leyva on 1/12/2018 at 11:15 am
Hey Tom, G, Alex, & Justin,
I been thinking about how amazing this trip must be for you all, I hope you are meditating and focusing on what your next journey will be. I am sending my love and pray for your safe return.
We cant wait to see you all soon! keep each other safe.
Love you all and sending a virtual hug!
Lisa Leyva aka “Mrs. Mialto” (Alex) hehe!
Posted by: Lisa Leyva on 1/12/2018 at 10:46 am
January 10, 2018
Posted by: Casey Grom
Hey, Everybody! Casey Grom checking in again here on day 3 Kilimanjaro. Well, today was very similar to yesterday we started off and mostly clear skies we got about two 2 1/2 hours up the trail before the rains came back in. Luckily today’s rains were bit shorter than yesterday’s. We we’re able to get all of our Gore-Tex on and umbrellas out and expedite our selves here to camp, which was pretty necessary considering all our stuff was already a little bit damp. Things are going pretty well. I’m sitting in my tent right now, I’m not sure if you can hear the rain coming down? It’s still raining hard. Our crew has been fantastic, the porters that is. They have been able to get on the trail ahead of us, and get to our camp by the time we get there, and we’ve been able to have everything already set up and ready for us to dive into and get out of the rain! So a little bit like yesterday and we are hoping tomorrow will be dry. They are taking great care of it here, and we’re all doing well. We’re just a little tired of the rain right now, but we’re going to take a little break, we’re going to have some soup to warm ourselves up. It sounds like we’re going to have a little cribbage tournament here in a little bit.
That’s all for now.
RMI Guide Casey Grom & Team
Casey Grom Calling in from Shira Plateau on Kilimanjaro
Wow! We looked at the blog for day 4! It does look like you will be at the top of the world. All is going Aok & no one is sick. We are having exceptional warm weather in the valley. Sumit or Bust! Ken, Kathy & Ayla.
Posted by: Ken and Kathy on 1/13/2018 at 6:27 am