Walking on the moon

THANO Day (Day 5 in Swahili) was a long day at Mt. Kilimanjaro.  We walked from Mawenzi camp (4300m) all the way to Kibo Hut camp (4700m). We hiked on high Alpine zone for about 9 km across the open, long and windswept area called “The saddle” that separates Mawenzi and Kibo.

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Walking across the saddle. Mawenzi peak in the background.

 

The route was so dry; there was nothing but rocks and sand. I felt like I was walking super slowly on the surface of the moon.

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Lunch box

 

 

The first part of the trail wasn’t steep. It was comfortable for us. At noon we stopped for a lunch break. Earlier that morning our cook Ernest packed lunch boxes for us and we carried them in our backpacks. We found a rock then we all sat and enjoyed our lunch in this lunar desert. We had a majestic view of the Kibo volcanic cone.

 

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Heading towards Kibo camp

We spent 8 hours on this trek, walking and looking ahead at Kibo the whole time. The last part leading up to Kibo Hut was steeper, at that point we started to feel the lack of oxygen and began feeling a little nervous about the challenge we had to confront that night reaching the summit. We arrived to base camp (4600 m) situated at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall at 3:30 pm.  It was windy and cold with a temperature of about -5 degrees celsius.

We could see the peak was very close! We had an early dinner and time to prepare ourselves for the final ascent. We checked our headlamps, cameras, gloves, balaclavas, and clothing layers. That night we went to bed at 6:30pm hoping to sleep a few hours since we started the ascent to summit at 11:00pm. This was the big night!

Did you know that Mt. Kilimanjaro is a volcano and could erupt again?

 

 

 

 

Categories: Adventure, Africa, Family, Hiking, Kilimanjaro, Mountaineering | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Chatting at 4300 m.

After another good night sleep at 3600 m. above sea level at Kikelewa camp, we had breakfast. Breakfast included chapatti (pancakes), coffee, eggs, mango and papaya.

As the trail became steeper and steeper than the last day, we entered the Alpine desert zone. There was no longer any vegetation around us. It was a tough trek but we hiked pole-pole (slowly, slowly). Our guides made sure we took enough water breaks. It took us around 5 hours to arrive to the next camp: Mawenzi Tarn Campsite, at 4300 m.

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Water break hiking from Kikelewa to Mawenzi

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Categories: Adventure, Africa, Family, Hiking, Kilimanjaro, Mountaineering, Porters, Swahili | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is it a white ocean?

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Sunrise at Second cave – Mount Kilimanjaro

On the third day (TATU Day in Swahili) of climbing Mount Kilimajaro, I opened the tent door and encountered the most amazing sunrise I had ever seen. The fluffy clouds looked like a floating white ocean. Continue reading

Categories: Africa, Family, Hiking, Kilimanjaro, Mountaineering | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Walking on clouds

Day Mbili  ( = Day 2 in Swahili).

After having a good rest at Simba camp – Mount Kilimanjaro; Ramadan, our waiter woke us up at 6:30 am with a nice cup of coffee served in our tent at 2650 meters. Another adventurous day was waiting for us.
Immediately after coffee in bed, Ramadan gave us a bowl with warm water in our tent for our “shower” and “cleaning”.

 

Once we had breakfast we started the 5 hour hike ascent up to the Second Cave, with our 2 – 1 liters of boiled water in our day backpacks.  Simba camp was at the edge of the moorland zone with long, dry grass and short bushes. Pine trees and other trees started to disappear through out the path on our way to Second cave camp, only a few shrubs were spotted along the way.  At this point we started to see the majestic natural surroundings of Mount Kilimanjaro. We admired its views of the east ice fields on the crater rim. We got so exited and nervous. The Kili summit seemed so far yet so close.

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Hiking from Simba (2626m.) to Second cave (3450m)

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Categories: Africa, Hiking, Kilimanjaro, Mountaineering, Swahili | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Siku Moja (Day One)

On Sunday July 1st, 2013 after a great, comfy sleep at a Hotel in the town of Moshi in Tanzania, we went to Rongai gate at the entrance of Kilimanjaro Park to start our family adventure. We walked through those gates with the hopes of conquering the roof of Africa.   Our driver, Simon, picked us up at 8:00 am. On our way to the gate, we made a stop in a small town and we ate “chapati” pancakes and coffee at a local diner. Nearby, we found a church where they were having a mass in Swahili so we stayed at the back trying not to disrupt the service. We prayed and put our trek into God’s hands.  After driving several kilometers on open dirt roads, we arrived at Rongai Gate around noon. The porters were there, waiting to be weighed with the equipment, food and camping gear.

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Signing in at Rongai Gate

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Categories: Africa, Family, Kilimanjaro, Mountaineering, Swahili | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Kili supPorters

Porters

Loaded porters on Kilimanjaro

The Porters are the hardest workers on the mountain. Porters transport the gear of the climbers including  supplies, food and their own equipment as well. They are the supporters on Mount Kilimanjaro. They made it a lot easier on our climbing experience. Continue reading

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Am I capable of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro?

If you are willing to do whatever it takes, then yes, you are capable!

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You need to be prepare, both physically and emotionally. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain on the African continent. There are no technical climbing skills required to reach the summit but you have to train and be prepared to hike a 100 kilometers in one week in cold temperatures at high altitudes. Continue reading

Categories: Acute mountain sickness, Africa, Kilimanjaro, Kyle Maynard, Mountaineering | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

What to pack for Kilimanjaro?

This post is about preparing the things that you will need to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa.

The first thing that you have to ‘pack’ is your mental and physical training.

Now it’s time for equipment.

  1. Hiking Boots: As I mentioned in my last post, your hiking boots are your best friends so this is the first thing that you have to pack, don’t forget to break them in at least 4 weeks in advance. Since your feet are going to be the ones taking you up and down the mountain, you have to spend time getting the right ones.
  2. Sandals: closed toe protection or open ones. Mine were open and thank God I had them with me. The last day descending the mountain, I had issues with my toes. They were so sensitive that I couldn’t t resist any thing that touched my toes. I did the downhill with my sandals.
  3. Socks: It’s very important to have clean socks we had wool socks and liners.
  4. Gaiters: These are essential. I recommend waterproof and high ones that cover and protect from dust, sand and rocks. They are also extra insulation for your lower legs. We got ours from MEC.
  5. Hiking poles: very recommended. Walking with poles can help you establish and maintain a consistent rhythm. They help you to maintain the balance and reduce the impact on your knees, ankles and feet when you are descending. We got Black Diamond extra light, 3 section telescoping with shocks. This is a good investment.
  6. Gloves: Inner (wool or silk) and for outer, waterproof and wind stoppers. Ours are from North Face.
Photo: Jeannette Barbosa

Photo: Jeannette Barbosa. Family approaching Mawenzi peak

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Categories: Kilimanjaro, Mountaineering, Packing list | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Breaking them in

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Serengeti National Park – Tanzania, Africa

One day at dinner time my daughters, my husband and I, planned our adventure trip; our imagination began to fly and we thought about different places in the world we could explore. It was music to our ears when my husband said: Let’s go to Africa, do a safari and climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

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Categories: Adventure, Africa, Family, Kilimanjaro, Mountaineering, Travel, Trip | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Welcome

I’m so excited to share about my family trips and our powerful experiences reaching the mountain summits with you all. I’m a mother of two young ladies, university students. My husband is a scientist who enjoys all outdoor activities very much.

My husband and I started to hike and climb mountains back home in Colombia when we were young. We use to put on our walking shoes and took a walk into nature reaching lakes and rivers for fishing, camping or climbing some mountains in the Andes range.

One of our biggest accomplishments was the “Sierra Nevada de Santa Martha” which was 13 days hiking and approaching the “Colon” summit (5775 m) This is where we learned about mountaineering.

Approaching base camp.

Approaching base camp at Mount Kilimanjaro. Tanzania – Africa

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Categories: Africa, Family, Hiking, Kilimanjaro, Mont blanc, Mountaineering | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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