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The climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro
 
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Day Six - On To The Mountain

   

Lava Tower To Arrow Glacier Camp

 

2/24/10: Waking up in Africa! This journey is so unique to me, so special. To climb up on this mountain, with the caliber of people I am with, and powered by my faith, I awake after a very good night’s rest. The Diamox was doing its job! Thank God. I was now sleeping like a baby, and breathing like a champ. All is well on Day Six.

After our morning tea and coffee ritual, then washing, I poked my head out of the tent. A common site was to find Marek taking some sort of photo, this morning would be no exception. Though I zoomed in on him, he was quite a ways up the ridge with his camera on a tripod getting some beautiful morning shots of our mountain. I call it “Our” mountain now because we were right at the base of the beast. We are part of it now. It was really sinking in, we are going up this thing, and we aren’t taking the coca cola route, we are going right up the Western Breach of this baby, like we own it! So now Mount Kilimanjaro, you are “OUR” mountain!

Under the Watchful Eye of Mount Meru

Did you ever wonder what it was like to climb to the top of Mount Meru, on your birthday no less? Well Barry Dalil-Clayton has, and he did it just the days before beginning this climb. Barry and Sachin made it to the top of Mount Meru, and it seems they will make the top of Kilimanjaro too! Check out their website for photos from the Meru Climb.

The morning is crisp, light but sure. I am beginning to seriously get used to this. I mean, breakfast and warm washing bowl served to us in our tent, a hot appetizing breakfast being prepared as the sun comes rises in our mind, because it rises between us and this mountain. We will be in the shade most of the morning, as we are in the "West."

Beautiful day.

Moshi lies somewhere beneath that soft blanket, as is the vast expanse of the African plains. It makes me wonder what travelers first thought when the were gifted a morning cloud clearing, and they saw this mountain.
Our camp sits still as Marek takes a photo.

In the image below (left) you can see the direction we will be hiking. If one looks hard enough, it is possible to see the trail up the other side ridge. Somewhere up there lay Arrow Glacier camp. First, we would have to hike over this rock field, down through a valley and stream, actually two mountain streams, and up and over the far ridge. It was a lot longer than this photo makes it look, and it is uphill. Below Right is the result of a turn to the right and a amazed eye. Feels like someone is watching us, like Mt. Meru maybe? It feels like we are higher in altitude at this point, maybe I will check Bruno's GPS log on his site. Well I checked and we were higher, Meru is 14,980 feet, or 4,566 meters. Our camp 15, 229 feet or 4,642 meters. We were 73 meters above Meru. It looks just about right, now looking at this photo. Meru would be our younger brother from now on.

Above (left) the team sets out, heading for the Arrow Glacier just over that ridge. Be aware, the ridge you see in the photo is farther away than it appears in this photo. First we needed to descend in between the ridges and cross a couple of creeks. These were fresh, cold mountain snow and glacier runoff. The top of the streams were still frozen, as the water hurried below.
Looking back at Lava Tower, you can see the white dots to the right hand side, which are the porters preparing to move our camp.
Welcome to Arrow Glacier camp, located at the base of the Western Breach, and our trial head to the top tomorrow. Yikes!!! Surely there is this easy "trekking" trail up this thing that Joshua has not told us about. I can not imagine that we would be allowed to go right up the face of that incline. No, not us!

The outhouses you see in the photos are not really outhouses anymore. I did not check all of them so I do not know this for a fact but the lavatories in the center of the glacier were non-functioning. They were all in seriously damaged condition from avalanches. Interesting, do they have avalanche's here? I wonder if I could ask an even more idiotic question? Just looking at the boulders laying around here is an indication of what periodically rolls down this breach.

Spying this glacier, I inquired as to if I was allowed to walk on it. Once given the "go ahead" I ran out onto it an began filming.


With my back to the mountain, I look to my right at camp being set up for the night.

Looking away from the mountain, I see off the edge of Africa, into a shore, splashing with clouds.


Hello, peace!


I had to lay on the glacier of course!

This was fun, and relaxing. I enjoyed the moment, and the rest before our next acclimatization hike. "Just let me rest one more minute..."

We took a side acclimatization hike up to 5,000 meters, according to Bruno's GPS. When we made it, we looked back down at our camp, which lay at about 2 o'clock on the Arrow Glacier below. You can see the damaged outhouses as they dot the snow.

Joshua says, "This is the trail for tomorrow. Tomorrow, we will continue up this western face, following that ridge...

We all turn to look. Yikes, I do not see a trail anywhere, guess I should watch for the stacked rocks.

The picture you see here is basically straight up, it is hard to imagine that was could make it up this. This my friends, is the Western Breach trail. See it tomorrow, or not because we are beginning with our headlamps on at 3 AM.

Back to camp for a hot meal before we hopefully turn in early. We will need every ounce of energy to hike the over 2,000 feet of mountain face.

It turns out that following our 5,000 meter acclimitiztion hike, Bruno has developed AMS, or altitude sickness. The only remedy is... to go straight down the mountain. This was not good news for him. His wife Nathalie did stay and continued on up the mountain, but this ascent was over for Bruno. I kind of figured that because I saw joshua coming out of Bruno's tent carrying an oxygen bottle. As Joshua informed me the other night when I begged him for a hit off that bottle he said, "When the oxygen comes out, the person ALWAYS goes down the mountain. Well the oxygen came out, and Bruno has "left the building!"

Marek was on a mission, and Richard, Frank and I were going to help. We needed to mark off 5 equal sections of rotation on Marek's Camera Tripod. Then we would need to calculate three different angle positions. The goal was to use an 8-second timed shutter speed and take 5 pictures across the sky at each of the 3 elevations. Then back home Marek will stitch the photos together using Photoshop for a panoramic photo of the Kilimanjaro sky. He told me that one does not exist that he knows of, so hopefully his will be the first.

Good night Tanzania, Moshi, and Mount Kilimanjaro. The Temperature is dropping!!!

Goodnight from Africa!

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