Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tanzania: 4 weeks to Kilimanjaro

In exactly 4 weeks, we start Day 1 of our 8-day Kilimanjaro climb. Who are the rest of the team members? My daughter Sunita, my sister Sabena, Robin's cousin Abbi, Sabena's two friends Donna L and Donna F.  Am I feeling prepared? Yes. Am I feeling nervous? Yes. Is the adrenaline starting to flow when I think about it? Yes.

A bit about +Mount Kilimanjaro: It is the highest free-standing mountain in the world at an elevation of 19,341 feet with three main peaks. It doesn't require mountain climbing experience because you can trek up the mountain but most people fail because their bodies cannot acclimatize fast enough for the elevation. So technically, if you can walk, you can climb the mountain. Reality? If you are not somewhat physically fit and you try to do it in too few days, chances are you will not succeed.

So I have been training for the last several months. I average about 60-70 kms per week and some of that includes a small bit of hill training and a lot of stairs. I hope that will be enough but we also factored that we would err on the side of caution and (eventual success) and plan for an 8 day/7 night climb rather than the 5 or 6 day climb. We are also taking the slightly longer, more expensive Rongai route where the elevation is a bit more gradual and we've got one acclimatization day where we won't be doing any climbing. We'll spend the day at the Mawenzi Tarn camp. Summit night will be long (12-14 hours) but it is the night before the full moon so it should be bright when we are climbing (we'll be wearing headlamps anyway). Then the last night of the decent, there will be a lunar eclipse so that will be quite spectacular I know.

Our itinerary is pretty full and we are all looking forward to the climb for which we will be rewarded with a wonderful safari in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Serengeti National Park, another UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Africa's 7 natural wonders at Ngorongoro Conservation Area including the Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara National Park

This is our itinerary for the trip:
Oct 9:  Arrive Toronto from Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton; Leave Toronto for Kili

Oct10:  Arrive in Kili

Oct. 11:  Rest and gear rental day

Oct 12:  Day 1 - RONGAI GATE (6,550 ft. / 2,000 m) to RONGAI 1 CAVES CAMP (9,285 ft./ 2,830 m) Walking Time: 3-4 hours of walking (plus rests); Distance: 7 kms.

Oct 13:  RONGAI 1 CAVES CAMP ~ RONGAI 2 CAVES CAMP (11,300 ft./ 3,450 m); Walking time: 4-5 hrs.;  Distance: approx. 6 kms

Oct 14:  RONGAI 2 CAVES CAMP ~ KIKELEWA CAVES CAMP (11,800 ft./ 3600 m); Walking time: 3-5 hrs.; Distance: approx.. 5kms

Oct 15:  Day 4 - KIKELEWA CAVES CAMP ~ MAWENZI TARN CAMP (14,160 ft./ 4,315 m; Time: 3-5 hrs; Distance: approx. 5kms

Oct 16:  Day 5 - acclimatization day at Mawenzi Tarn camp

Oct 17:  Day 6 - MAWENZI TARN CAMP ~ SCHOOL HUT (OUTWARD BOUND CAMP) (15,585 ft./ 4,750 m); Time: 7 hrs.; Distance: approx. 9kms

Oct 18: Day 7Summit night (and the night before the Full Moon); SCHOOL HUT (OUTWARD BOUND CAMP)  ~ UHURU PEAK (19,340 ft./ 5,895 m) ~ HOROMBO CAMP (10,200 ft./ 3,110 m); Arrive to Gilman's Point; Elevation 18,750 ft. / 5,712 m; Time 5-6 hours; Time: Summit to Uhuru Peak; Elevation 19,340 ft./ 5,895 m; Time: 1 1/2 - 2 hrs. Back down to Kibo Hut; Time: 3 hrs. down to Horombo camp; Elevation 10,200 ft./ 3,110 m; Time 3-4 hrs. Total time for this day: 12-14 hrs.

Oct 19: Day 8 - last day of climb (and night of LUNAR ECLIPSE!) HOROMBO CAMP ~ MARANGU GATE (5,900 ft./ 1,800 m. Elevation 5,900 ft / 1,800 m; Time: 5-6 hrs. Distance: 19k

Oct 19: DAY 1 - SAFARI: KARATU / NGORONGORO (we start on the afternoon of the decent)




Oct 23: Day 2: ZANZIBAR

Oct 24: Day 3: ZANZIBAR

Oct 25: Day 4: ZANZIBAR

Oct 26: Day 5: ZANZIBAR; Depart for Toronto

Oct 27: Depart for Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton

Will be posting more in the next 4 weeks but since there is no internet access on the mountain, my posts and pictures will have to wait till I gat back. I hope you'll be intrigued enough about the trip to read my blog posts.


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