Kilimanjaro (Africa Part 4)

Trip Start Aug 15, 2007
Trip End Dec 30, 2008

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Tusker Travel (key's hotel)

Flag of Tanzania  ,
Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ed Viesturs, the 1st American to summit each of the world's 14 peaks above 8000 meters, said:  "Mountains are not conquered and should be treated with respect and humility. If we take what the mountain gives, have patience, desire, and are prepared - they may permit us to reach their highest peaks."

Sid Sharfi, the FL-based accountant / philosopher (who happens to be my Dad), said:  "You want to travel to weird countries & climb Kilimanjaro? What the hell is that? You need to quit this b.s. and get a job and act like an adult. What did I do to deserve this?"

I guess they're both right, but Ed wins for now. For real climbers like my good friend Andy Colyer, Kilimanjaro is child's play - for the average amongst us, it is a serious endeavor. (Highest point in Africa at 19,350 ft)

Luckily the mountain smiled upon us. My Peace Corps buddy Dave Heneckes, his fellow Fighting Irish-man Glenn Kosse, and I rejoiced at the peak on Feb 29, 2008. Words cannot describe our euphoria. YAWP!!! CHECK OUT THE FOTOS BELOW (after the writer's note for those interested in details about the climb)
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A special thanks to several of you whose encouragement and support helped me get to the summit (Colyer, Harrison, Bobowski, Keith, Koehler). Needed all the help I could get!

Post Script: A month in Africa down, return trip stateside includes a free stopover in Amsterdam courtesy of KLM. March Madness awaits...

Climb Summary:  This was one of the hardest things I've ever done. Not as difficult physically as running a marathon but very very very challenging - 7 long consecutive days of hiking, sleeping in a tent for 6 cold wet nites, and pushing to the summit - which (after 5 long day hikes) requires one to start at midnite and climb 4000 vertical feet at high altitude in the coldest conditions (single digits with windchill below zero for 5-8 hours) I've ever experienced. The last push is 20 hours of hiking in a 24 hour period when you're already tired and cold. Total of 30+ miles and 17,000 ft (over 3 miles) in vertical elevation gain.

This grind is well worth the amazing sense of achievement - which is only outdone by the tantalizing panoramic views from the top of neighboring maintains and hanging glaciers - just amazing.

Machame Route
Day 1 - 6.5 miles - 3500 ft elev gain (6400 to 9900 ft) - 4.75 hrs walking excl breaks.
Day 2 - 2600 feet (9900 to 12500) 5 hours.
Day 3 - 10k up 2500 to 15k and down to 12500 to sleep. Hike hi Sleep low. camp very cold - 8 hour hike.. 
Day 4 - Barrranco Wall total 3 hour hike short day - to sleep at 13500. Barranco Wall very fun climb on acclimatization day!
Day 5 - to Barafu Camp at 15.5k - take off point for Summit
Day 6 - leave at midnite for walk up to Uhuru Peak at 19350 feet.
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akbar on

Re: But...
trip down was sweet but like tom petty said 'coming down is the hardest thing'.

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