2 Months until the Snows of Kilimanjaro (OT)

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Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 18, 2013 - 04:40pm PT
Haven't been very active lately, so I thought I would let my fellow Tacoites know what we have been up to!

A couple years ago, a friend of our had returned from Macchu Picchu and was regaling us with the tales of his trip. He then said "OK, I want to do Kilmanjaro next!"

My lovely finacee and I looked at each other, shrugged and both said "Sure! When?"

We set a date for two years, and have been sticking to the timetable for that. Unfortunately, our friend decided a couple months ago to take his savings and go travel the world, but we managed to find a couple that were willing to shell out the $ for the trip at the end of September.

We will be on Kilimanjaro for 6 days and 5 nights, ascending via the Rongai route and descending the Machame. Then we are off to a 3 day safari into Tanzania National Park. I don't think I will ever make it over there again, so I would really kick myself if we didn't go on safari. We chose a camping option for the climb, and hotels for the safari.

We are pretty much done on the gear collection, and will be getting all our wonderful shots next week. Flights are booked, and the remainder of the bill will be paid this week so that we can apply for our entry visas. Went to the doc and stocked up on a travel pharmacy - Cipro, Diamox, epi pens and malaria pills.

Starting to get pretty excited, and a little nervous at the same time - my previous best height has been 14, and our main altitude training area is off limits right now due to a large wildfire that is still dying down. So we may be taking trips over to the Eastern Sierra to get into thinner air over the next 2 months.

Curious to see how many folks here have made the trip, and what their experiences were like. How about it?
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jul 18, 2013 - 04:48pm PT
the crux of the trip is 22 hours in a small metal tube...Can you say,,, Sleeping pills!?
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jul 18, 2013 - 04:49pm PT
My advice is to do what you're planning to do - lots of altitude. When you
get on it take it easy, but you already know that. Oh, and don't eat no
yellow snow!

You won't have to worry about this but it is a hoot. One of my old mates
was having a go at Mt Kenya with his wife. They were camped by themselves
right at treeline. Sometime in the night they awoke to what they thought
was an earthaquake. Then they realized a herd of elephants had wandered
into their campsite! They cowered in abject terror for quite a while. In
the morning there were tracks all around their tent to within 3 feet!
The elephants clearly knew the tent was there. They say elephants are
really smart so maybe they just didn't want to piss off a Scot. Although
as I recall it woulda been the Sassenach wife they wouldn't want to piss off.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jul 18, 2013 - 04:53pm PT
Kili still has snow?


I'd skip the trudge, rent a Rover, and camp where the action is.
(silly tourons go to check out animals at exactly the wrong time of day)



edit; interesting cross posting Reilly
A friend camped in the Serengeti and the hyena sounded so scary he took a dump 3' from his tent because he wouldn't go farther. I asked him, "Do you really think that little bit of cloth is gonna help?"
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Jul 18, 2013 - 04:58pm PT
Vegasclimber - Have a most excellent experience! Looking forward to your TR!
goatboy smellz

climber
Nederland-GulfBreeze
Jul 18, 2013 - 05:11pm PT
Definitely jump around in the snow, something to tell your kids, it may not be there in 16 years.

http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Scientists:_Snow_on_Mt._Kilimanjaro_to_melt_in_twenty_years
TrundleBum

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Jul 18, 2013 - 07:27pm PT

Godspeed on a wonderful adventure of a life time !
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jul 18, 2013 - 07:29pm PT
Ambien for the flight there and two for the way back. Climbed Kenya in 2005 and had a great time.....enjoy!
Saugy

Mountain climber
BC
Jul 18, 2013 - 07:33pm PT
Ya,Africa! I'll be there as well, but a couple of months after you Vegas. Gonna try for Mt. Kenya, if the weather permits..also some climbing in S.A. beforehand..

Best of luck to you for your journey!

P.S. Mountain bikes..perhaps not a proper mode of travel on the African plains!

http://youtu.be/S2oymHHyV1M
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jul 18, 2013 - 07:35pm PT
Mountain bikers......meals on wheels for the local cats.
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Jul 18, 2013 - 07:37pm PT
Nice!

Need a house sitter in Vegas? :)
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jul 18, 2013 - 07:39pm PT
Name the critter that takes that mtn biker out lol!
BJ

climber
Jul 18, 2013 - 09:11pm PT
Don't hear alot about the Rongai Route. I did the Machame Route, and really enjoyed the high traverse under the south side
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Jul 18, 2013 - 09:51pm PT
Can you check the west ridge for me? I think my guide left his leopard tied up there.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jul 18, 2013 - 09:52pm PT
Originally the RONGAI was the RON GUY...;-D
Manimal

climber
SLT, Ca
Jul 19, 2013 - 07:46am PT
- Ngorogoro Crater. Don't miss it!! Most amazing geologic/ zoological experience.

From Moshe It's less driving than the Serengeti and the biodiversity density is unbelievable. If its a dry year it's the only place worth going on Safari. If it has been wet and the timing is right, the Serengeti is mind blowing otherwise it's just a vast expanse.
Manimal

climber
SLT, Ca
Jul 19, 2013 - 07:50am PT
Oh yeah, as for the mountain, don't sweat it. Go slow. Haba na haba hujaza kibaba. Pole pole! Don't drink anything that hasn't been purified or boiled. Any altitude you get here will most likely do you no help by the time you get there other than getting in shape and knowing what it feels like, unless your at altitude until the last minute before you leave.
Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 19, 2013 - 09:03am PT
Nice responses, all!

The Rongai route is one of the lesser traveled routes on the mountain, and also one of the easiest. I chose it primarily due to less traffic, and the fact that we are using tents and not sleeping in huts. Not as scenic, but we will get to see plenty of scenery on the way down.

We will be going to the crater as part of our safari, I didn't want to miss that for sure!

I know that any altitude training that we do isn't going to help with the altitude part, as it wears off so fast. My main concern is getting my gal up into some higher places, the last time we went to Charleston peak she was getting a slight headache at about 10, but she hadn't ever been that high up before. We would like to do Whitney, but with the permit situation like it is we probably won't be able to make that happen. Can't get any more days off and that would be a three day event for us with drive times.
BJ

climber
Jul 19, 2013 - 09:50am PT
research and choose your altitude and malaria meds with care
bookworm

Social climber
Falls Church, VA
Jul 19, 2013 - 02:01pm PT
did the rongai 7-day last july...i think the extra day definitely helped the three in our party who had zero experience (i.e. the two big gay texans did not even realize it would be cold on the mountain until a week before; they showed up with the very best cold weather gear available from a shopping spree at the local bass pro shop)

the hike to the mountain is, literally and figuratively, a stroll in the park...the pace was, for me, frustratingly slow but designed to maximize client success...summit day was an ass-kicker but, again, the guides want to ensure you summit and set an appropriate pace...the hardest part is actually the extended hike to uhuru peak--an optional three hour round trip

i'm sure it's not too late to reserve oxygen...i did not use diomox and suffered retinal edema, losing about 50% of my vision...diomox, some steroids, and oxygen helped me see well enough for the long hike out from base camp and sleeping with oxygen and lower elevation restored my vision completely...so, if i had it to do over again, i would take diomox...if you're that concerned about your girl, i suggest you reserve the oxygen bottle--better safe than sorry...i was surpised at some of the people who made it to the summit (old and out of shape) and some who didn't (young and in superb shape)

take LOTS of cash...do not use credit at all, even in the african airport...also, they will not accept $100 bills printed before 2000...carry all 20s...i took $500 and would probably take another $200-300 because I was pinching pennies on the way home (i found later i was waaaaaaaaay too generous with my tipping)

i also suggest a solar charger...i didn't actually need it, but the guides were loving me when they found out they could charge their cell phones

also, take any old gear you don't want...the porters will be happy to have your hand-me-downs (even the rattiest pair of sneakers), which will lighten your load on the trip home...old pocket knives, hats, socks, t-shirts, etc., anything

have fun!
TrundleBum

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Jul 19, 2013 - 02:37pm PT

<--- envious

Be safe, keep the stoke !
Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 20, 2013 - 01:26am PT
Bookworm, thanks for your input, it's appreciated.

We actually are taking the extra day, but I need to check on it. Our trip list says its at day 2, but the website says day 4. Day 4 makes a lot more sense to me with the listed altitudes.

I will have tips laid out before we go, but I plan on tipping well. The standard tips for these guys are way less then I can afford and I will make them happy. I already read about the money issues, but I'm glad to hear my plan is correct.

I am taking my Guide 10 charger with me, mainly to have a backup set of batteries for the cameras. I have a European phone for Germany, but I'm not planning on having a phone with me on this trip - we will be way out of range most of the trip anyways.

Christina and I will both have Diamox, and I think we will be ok with that. She wasn't debilitated when we were at 12, just a slight headache. And, that was a one day run without any prior acclimitization. No way of telling until we get there though. Thanks for sharing your experience, sounds like it was a bit scary for you! Glad you came out of it ok. I will be taking my medical diagnostic stuff with me (BP cuff etc) so I can keep an eye on things.

I'm just stoked that I will get to attempt this. If you told me 5 years ago that I would take a trip like this, I would have laughed my ass off. It's taken a lot of saving and a serious job change to make this happen, but it's going to be well worth it I think.
BJ

climber
Jul 20, 2013 - 09:50am PT
Please say that you're not using Larium
Porkchop_express

Trad climber
Springdale, UT
Jul 20, 2013 - 10:34am PT
Hey! This is exciting! I am heading over to climb Kili with a group of fellow Type 1 diabetic climbers at the end of August! We are taking the Machame route up and back. I've never been out of the country so this will be a very new experience for me, but I am planning on cutting together a short video of the trip.

Good luck!

Steve
little Z

Trad climber
un cafetal en Naranjo
Jul 20, 2013 - 10:39am PT
have fun VC, should be the trip of a lifetime.

Watch out for the Hartebeest if you decide to get on bikes (looked like a Red Hartebeest that attacked the biker in the video. You'd have to contend with Coke's Hartebeest near Kilimanjaro, in addition to many other critters with nasty, pointy teeth)

don't forget to post that TR when you get back

(say hi to Christina for me)
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Jul 20, 2013 - 07:25pm PT
hey there, say, vegasclimber... wow, sorry so late, to cheer you on to your adventure... been so busy, :))


will be praying and in your corner...
man oh man, what a journey...

can't wait to hear the shares, later...
Cam Burns

Social climber
CO
Jul 21, 2013 - 08:51pm PT
Rongai?

Lots of elephant poop, which is pretty cool.

Have fun.

Camster
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jul 21, 2013 - 09:02pm PT
the plane cabin pressure will be around 10,000 on the flight..So ya got that goin fer acclimatization ..;-D
Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 16, 2013 - 12:14pm PT
Hey all, thought I would post an update!

We are close to a month out, and all we have left is to get our visas. I got my shots three days ago and my arms are still aching :-| stupid needles.

We haven't been able to get much hiking in, but what we have been doing has all been 8k and up, and are doing fine. My fiancee has been working out in the gym regularly the last 6 months and is now out hiking me haha.
Had to hike up Trail Canyon on Charleston a couple weekends in a row to do PSAR and keep people out of the wildfire area, and then spent two more weekends up there teaching Wilderness First Aid classes.

Next weekend we will be heading up to Charleston Peak as a day trip, as they finally re-opened the North Loop trail. Should be a good hike.

Only gear I have left to get is a Patagucci merino shirt and R1 pants. I was hoping they would be on summer sale, but the shirts got sold out right away. Such is life I guess. Ammon has graciously offered me a 50% off coupon but I will need to go to Reno to shop at the nearest store - not sure if I can swing that yet.

Had some trouble with the boot selection. I ordered a pair of La Sportiva Trango S Evo's, and they just weren't a good fit for me. Then I bought a pair of Asolo Fugitive GTXs and just couldn't get them to break in - had blisters on my heels which never happens as I have been wearing boots for years. I would love to just wear my side-zip combat boots, but no way am I going to trust those zippers on a hike like this - and they aren't waterproof.

Ended up taking the Asolos back and got the Salomon Quest 4D GTX, and finally found a good boot. Super comfortable and great support - almost too good. The only issue that I have is that my left ankle is mostly scar tissue, and the boot forces it into a normal orientation which makes it ache a bit. I can deal with that though.

Only down side is that the other couple that is coming with us elected to go to Tanzania to scuba dive rather then go on the safari, which cost us some money. But the trekking company is trying to get another couple to go with us so that we can get the price back down.

Speaking of the trekking company, so far I have been really happy with Zara. They have been awesome about communication and helping us get everything together. We aren't usually the type of people that hire guides or go on guided tours, but I have to say it's kind of nice to have everything set for us and not have to lug a full pack every day.

I know a few people that have posted on the thread have been up there - would love to see some trip pictures if you would like to share. Onward!
Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 22, 2013 - 09:40pm PT
Final monies paid, visa applications in the mail. Just figured out the tips, at standard rates it's going to be about $400 pp. Ouch! Guide, two assistants, and 4 porters per person, cook, waiter. I feel like a putz with all this support staff crap. Too usd to doing things on my own I guess.

Went to California for my birthday weekend and the weather change made my arthritis flare so bad that I am just now starting to walk normally again. NOT a good sign but I will push through it, pain is temporary and anytime I think about it, I think of guys like Sean and my buddy Cosmic who deal with so much more and tell myself to harden the f*#k up.

Have to admit though, starting to get a little nervous. Never in my life thought I'd be doing something like this!
Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 5, 2013 - 08:06pm PT
2 weeks to go!

Final gear is prepared, and putting together checklists to make sure we won't forget anything. Medical stuff is all done, and the visas are in the passport.

Already have my first purchase planned, which is to get a panga. They won't let me bring a knife through Customs, but if I buy and carry there it's just dandy. Go figure.

The airplane ride back is 18 frigging hours on one leg, with a stop in Rome. If I had known that earlier, I would have elected to stay over a day or two to at least see part of it...such is life.

Berg Heil!

Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Sep 5, 2013 - 08:10pm PT
Rome is okay.


Anzio is right near the Da Vinci airport and is a cool beach scene.

Some minor bouldering on the sea cliffs north of the harbor, under the ruins of Tiberius' beach house.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Sep 5, 2013 - 10:26pm PT
Already have my first purchase planned, which is to get a panga. They won't let me bring a knife through Customs, but if I buy and carry there it's just dandy.

What, they're gonna let you carry a boat through customs? What good is
that gonna do you on Kilimanjaro? Whatever, have a great trip! Oh, and
don't eat no yellow snow, cause that's where the porters go.
ag.Fox

Trad climber
Reno, NV
Sep 6, 2013 - 08:48am PT
Have a blast Travis! Glad you got the good boot fit.
Call me when you get back, I'm itchin for Zion already :-)
Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 6, 2013 - 07:56pm PT
Me too Jon! Looking forward to it, very much.

A panga is a boat type, forgot about that. In this case, it's the standard African bush knife/machete. Apparently I might get hassled if I have a knife in my checked baggage during Customs, but I can carry one in country. Go figure.
sullly

Trad climber
Sep 6, 2013 - 08:12pm PT
Your thread title made me revisit the similarly titled Hemingway short story. Unlike its protagonist, you will not drink your way into a gangrenous, laughing hyena ending.
Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 14, 2013 - 10:14pm PT
Thanks, Sully. I also re read the tale, and do not plan to go out that way either!

We are starting to pack, and are departing Friday afternoon. Even though it isn't really "climbing" content, I am going to try my hand at writing a TR for the first time when we return.

Did our last shopping trip today, so we are dialed in with the gear and essentials. I wasnt too satisfied when I asked about our guides' medical training when I asked - "oh, they carry pulse oximeters" - so I have beefed up my medical kit a bit more to make sure we have anything we might need. I will deal with the couple extra pounds for the peace of mind. Couldn't get any dex but I don't see needing it, but have a short scrip for Prednisone in case things go really bad.

I am taking a note for Matthew with me to be placed at the summit, and a pinch of my "Paul's Ball" so he can go along as well.

This will probably be my last post until we get back, so until then I wish everyone safe travels and adventures. Berg heil!
perswig

climber
Sep 15, 2013 - 03:35am PT
I am taking a note for Matthew with me to be placed at the summit, and a pinch of my "Paul's Ball" so he can go along as well.

Don't know you from Adam's off ox, Vegas, but you're a good man.
Dale
Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 10, 2013 - 12:05am PT
The actual TR is probably going to take a while, so I wanted to post this up. This is myself and our head guide, Rogati. Doubt I would have made it the last 1000 feet or so without his encouragement.

One of the hardest mental and physical challenges of my life. I was kinda surprised that physically I recovered in about 3 days, and would actually be willing to climb it again.

The only down side is that my fiancee had to turn back at about 18,000. She was starting to show some really bad signs of altitude sickness, basically she was falling asleep on her feet and was getting disoriented. I was fine for the most part, other then a serious lack of breath.

More will come once we get all the pics edited, and I manage to find the words that will do the mountain justice.

Uhuru Peak, Tanzania. 820AM, 9/27/2013
Uhuru Peak, Tanzania. 820AM, 9/27/2013
Credit: Vegasclimber
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Oct 10, 2013 - 05:40am PT
Looking forward to the TR!
Burch3y

Mountain climber
San Diego
Oct 10, 2013 - 08:06am PT
Nice work! Now it's time for some non-walk-ups!
Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 10, 2013 - 08:47am PT
Kiss my ass, Burch :P

Walk up or not, 19k+ is no joke. Not to mention the expense lol. Go climb it and tell me what a walk up it is :p

Besides, I don't like that snow/ice/technical stuff you consider fun, I'm not that sadistic :D
Burch3y

Mountain climber
San Diego
Oct 10, 2013 - 08:57am PT
Haha, no offense intended, my man! I did Izta/Orizaba to test my head at higher elevations - it went very well, so I feel more comfy getting on something more committed now. As far as the expense, you aren't kidding - too rich for my blood.

EDIT: If you want a MUCH cheaper trip, check out the Mexican volcanoes next. Too pretty.





Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 10, 2013 - 10:29am PT
Those are some awesome shots for sure. We may end up doing Kili again so that my fiancee can take another shot at the summit, but it will be way cheaper as I may be doing some work over there for the guide company that we used.

I'd like to do Blanc and the Eiger, but it will have to wait until we (hopefully) move to Europe in a few years.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Oct 10, 2013 - 01:15pm PT
Moving to Money Carlo, are we?

Zut!
Magic Ed

Trad climber
Nuevo Leon, Mexico
Oct 10, 2013 - 02:45pm PT
Now you can really appreciate Rusty Baillie's feat: He climbed Kili and Mt. Kenya in a day!!!

Did you get to the Ngorongoro Crater??
Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 10, 2013 - 04:36pm PT
I sure did Ed! Amazing place. Lake Manaya and Tarangiri Ntl park as well.
Saugy

Mountain climber
BC
Oct 11, 2013 - 07:07pm PT
Congratulations, VC.. Look forward to the TR

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