The Highest Peak in Africa

Mayor Richard Stewart and Council recognize our participation in the climb

NEW – Images from Africa

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At the foot of the mountain, before we started up.

Entrance Gate

Mandara Hut. Shelly and Yasumi

After reaching Mandara hut on the first day, a group of us took an optional additional hike to Maundi Crater.

Dinner at Mandara and it was Pat's birthday.

Blowing out the candles on the quickly whipped up cake.

Passing through the forest of giant heather bushes, or heather trees.

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Red Mitts displayed at Horombo.

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Getting higher and drier. Acclimatization day hike and return to Horombo.

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On our acclimatization day we posed on the rocks above Zebra rocks.

Giant Protea

Passing giant groundsels as we start out for Kibo, another 9 km up the trail.

Sign at Kibo Hut and Ric.

On Summit Night we got up at 22:00 hrs, formed a line and slowly slowly (pole pole - pronounced polee polee) climbed that hard grind to Gilman's Point and then crossed over to Uhuru Peak.

Moon shown shortly after we passed Gilman’s Point.

The full moon that had helped to light our way set in the west as the sun rose over Mawenzi another Kilimanjaro peak to the east.

We had incredible weather, clear skies the whole way from the rain forests to the peak.

On our way across to Uhuru, the wind pushed the temperature even lower.

Getting closer, that's Stella Point ahead. Mike in yellow.

Dave D. at the peak.

Dave S. at the top.

Birthday greetings from the top of the world. John, Robbie (porter/guide), Ric and Dave D.

Ron at the top.

Pat and Sally, guides and Canadian flag at the top.

Dave S. at glacier. Kersten Glacier or Furtwangler Glacier.

Back at Gilman’s Point for the steep descent to Kibo Hut.  Sort of skiing down the scree.

This view is of Mawenzi peak, another of Kilimanjaro’s peaks.

Quick lunch and pack up and hit the trail to Horombo, as others want to try to rest at Kibo.

Giant lobelia, you know your garden lobelia ? Well this is it’s big brother.

Sonie thanking and paying porters etc for their help.

The payments were divided up so most of us got to give some guides/porters/cooks money.

Chief Guide and organizer of his group, James with chief organizer of our group, Ric.

James and Ric.

Fuzzy picture of a chameleon, found by Dave S. on the way from Horombo to Marangu Gate.

Ron sporting the Chameleon on the over 20 Km long, last leg to the gate.

The little creature was passed on some women on their way up, who promised to let it go after photos.  Behind Ron is David, the porter.

The gate at the bottom of the trail. Ron, James (chief guide) and David (porter).

SAFARI

Greeter as we entered Lake Manyara National Park

Yasumi getting it all on video.

Bush buck.

These alkaline waters (pH 9.5) were said to be “the lovelest [lake] …in Africa” by Ernest Hemingway.

lake has 231 km2 of water, although we saw clear signs of silting. Culvert and road repairs will add more silt in the next rains but once stabilized, the new work should help.

Hornbill

After eating dust, our luxury lodge was a welcome oasis. Dave D., Marie and John.

Len and Sally

Donna, Keiko and Sonie.

The perfect end to great day, Ron pictured.

Look - over there - a baby elephant (Ric).

Warthog. We are now in Tarangire National Park.

We stayed in tents in Tarangire. But like the previous place, the lodge is built right at the edge of the escarpment. We can look down at life below in the Great Rift Valley.

A male, (females are grey) strutting his stuff.

Now entering the Serengeti

Thomson's Gazelle sprinting. More animals in the Serengeti, than we've seen before. It just keeps getting better and better.

Faker, faker. Superb starling putting on a broken wing show.

Hear no evil, see no evil, Speak no evil. Christina, Sally, Marie, John, Dave D.

A Grant's gazelle - a larger animal than Thomson's Gazelle.

Masai giraffe.

Watching each other's backs.

Interesting colouration. If you see a bunch together they are all exactly the same, right down the bluish marks on legs, shoulders and rump.

Leopard with Thomson's Gazelle. This is the mother, one of two almost grown cubs had this gazelle and ran up the tree with it. She took it away from him/her. The mother eats first. Father is not around. With lions the grown females make the kill, but the male eats first, then the females and then the cubs.

This may be the grown cub that first had the gazelle. The Gazelle's head is bent back so you can't see it.

One of our tents in the Serengeti.

We were told not to go out of our tents, at night, under any circumstances.

One of our Land Cruiser drivers who went along the trail to our tent, shortly after me, saw a cobra on the path.

Campfire before dinner with Yasumi and Mike.

One of these guys went to gather some nearby firewood and tripped and couldn’t get up, the grassland had lots of little hooks and barbs in it (like Velcro) and wouldn’t let him go with help.

Balloon adventure over the Serengeti. Get up at 04:30..or was it 04:00, to head out for the Balloon Safari.

Inflating the three balloons.

And we are off.

Back on terra firma. I will say that the balloon safari went much faster than anticipated. I'm told only 37 minutes. Also we didn't pass over migrating herds or other large concentrations of animals. We were told that the winds closer to the ground were going in an undesired direction, so we went higher where the winds went the right way, however those winds were stronger and we got a bit of a Speed Safari.

Toasting with champagne. Dave D., Mike and Dave S.

What followed was near impossible to beat.. A champagne breakfast in the middle of the Serengeti. Served by old British Empire style turbaned waiters.

Champagne or Mimosa (Champagne and orange juice) toast at the colonial British style breakfast. Food was excellent too. Sun was spreading across the plain and soon jackets came off.

Noticed with these wildebeest and zebra, a row of them will drink at the same time with all their heads down.

Stuck. We can't help him. Saw other zebras that were in trouble or already dead.

Stuck and we can’t help. Saw other zebras injured or already dead.

New life.

Len and Ron.

Some dirty fellows. The stream feeding the pond was dry.

Stream feeding this pond was dry, no flow, so you imagine how they smelled.

Leaving Serengeti.

Oldupai aka Olduvai. The Cradle of Mankind.

Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge. Pat, Peggy, Ron and Dave D.

Another incredible place. On the rim of Ngorongoro crater.

Young jackals. Sort of remind of coyotes.

Nasty character.

Uh..she's looking right at us. Now she's stalking towards us.

She's stopped. Now waiting for the other two females to catch up.

He's not taking his eyes off the big cats.

King of the Jungle

Vervet monkey.

We had earlier visited an orphanage.

With the children.

Climbing Kilimanjaro we were almost a week without shower or anything like that and it was dusty on the trails going up. Then when we slid, sort of skied and hiked down that very steep, very dusty 3,500 ft from Gilman's Point to Kibo Hut sending up great dust plumes, you wouldn't think we'd be this dusty again. Well, on the roads between parks through protected areas, the vehicles threw up dust and when they passed each other any open windows let a lot in. See next picture.

Bright dust filters. Don't know how effective they were.

This Land Cruiser had two flats in a short distance on the highway. Unable to get the jack to release - it was driven ahead which took out the back window. They were good vehicles but did have some problems after bashing over the rough back roads through the parks. One with a minor break fluid leak and another (think it was a different one) had an ignition or gas feed problem and could not hold speed on hills, stopping on the long ones. Another from this fleet (we weren't in it) broke an axle in a rough area between parks.

Our group gathered at the Ilboru Safari Lodge before departure for home. Flying east to Dar es Salaam and then west to Amsterdam. Changing planes in Amsterdam and flying on to Vancouver.

Our drivers, Jonesy, Duncan and Samwel.

Hugs good bye. Duncan and Sonie.

Jonesy and Yasumi.

At the Summit!

John, Robbie (guide), Ric, Dave D.

Our team reached the summit in groups.

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Back row – Marie and Dave S.  Front – Peggy (in green), Shelly, Christina and Mike.

Ron (center) flanked by David (porter/guide) and James (Chief Guide).

Pat and Sally at the peak.

Update!

We have received a brief note from Ric indicating that all in the climbing group have returned from the upper reaches of Kilimanjaro. We have few details but it sounds like a good number of the group managed to reach the final summit, and that all are in good health and spirits, save for a few uncomfortable blisters! Check back for more details as they emerge! 

 

At the Summit?

If your watching the moon tonight at 6:00 pm you might see a reflection of those at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro as they are expected to be there at 5:00 am Wednesday. Imagine how big the moon must look from the summit!

Update: Monday February 6th

We haven’t heard from our intrepid travellers since Nairobi, but according to the schedule they provided, they should be finishing up a day of acclimatization around Horombo. Tomorrow they set out on the next stage of their climb, heading to the camp at Kibo! We will update this page with pictures and dispatches as they become available! Our love and wishes go out to everyone on the journey!

Update: Nairobi

Message from Ric

Hi al!l We have arrived very in Nairobi and after a 5 hr drive from Nairobi to Arusha, Next to the mountain, we are all very tired!

Getting into the pool at the lodge was great everyone is feeling good, just very very tired.

We all have lots of pics and will try to email them to Gord tomorrow ( we have free internet at the lodge]

For you information: 6:00 pm PST Feb.1st = 5:00 am African time Feb.2nd

They are 11 hours, ahead of us or there about.

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