My brother climbed mount Kilimanjaro and all I got was this t-shirt

The valley from Barrunca Hut, Kilimanjaro Ok, no tshirt, but he sent some some cool pictures. And a pretty good story :) . My “little” brother made the summit of one of the seven summits this past January. Below is his account of the journey (or at least part of it). Photo and text reprinted here with permission. Thanks bro!

We got back from the mountain around noon, local time today. Here’s a quick breakdown of the events:

Day 1: (3000m) Drive my land rover to the park gate, register, then drive to our trail head. This was a gnarly ride, somthing that would have shamed the Focus. Lots of mud, deep ruts, and a truck full of porters in front of us, mocking our driver if he stopped for a pit of mud or puddle. All in all, one hell of a ride, we went up to 45 degrees quite a bit but got there safely. After we got to the trail head, we put on our gaitors and packs, and walked about 3 hours in the rainforest to our frist camp. We didn’t see much wildlife along the way, but we did see a Colobus monkey and some African “rats with wings” (pigeons to those outside a metro area). When the last group of hikers arrived, the porters started clapping and singing, I couldn’t help think, “They must have checked the box for the TGI Friday’s birhtday experinience”. A muddy camp due to some rain, but dinner was delicious. Cucumber soup, followed by fried potatoes, vegtable sauce, plums, rice, and cabbage (a lot of cabbage grown around here, hence the tour books comment about “uninspired British cooking”)

Day 2: (3000m – 3400m) Hike from camp 1 to Shira 1. Shira was the first volcano of kilimanjaro. Now it’s a plateau, but when you’re in it you can look around and realize that you’re in a coldera (col). By far our most miserable day. We hiked for about 7 hours, it started raining, which we weren’t well prepared for, but the poncho made things ok for me. When we got into camp it was soaked, we ate another delicious dinner, but we didn’t eat much because we were so tired (carrot soup this time).

Day 3: Shira 1 to Shira 2. (3400m – 3800m) We woke up cold and damp, but the sky was clear and when the sun came out the temp shot up and we dried out all our stuff. This was one of our better mornings because we realized this was what it was going to be like, it’d be wet, but we could recover in the morning. We got some morning tea, some of our first views of the peak, and headed out. After a 3 hour hike we arrived at Shira 2, a great camp site overlooking most of the Shira plateau. Almost no rain this day, and we had the entire camp to ourselves (including the new toilets, which were basically long drop loos like the rest, but they were concrete). Leak soup with dinner, then to bed for a long day.

Day 4: Shira 2 to Barrunca Hut (3800m – 3950m) We didn’t gain much altitude at the end fo the day, but we went up to 4500m to alcimitize. A pretty rough hike, hit some rain as always, as well as our first altitude headaches (pretty minor). Because of the weather we didn’t go to the Lava tower, but we got some nice vistas the night before. We say Mt Meru from Shira 1, which glowed at night because Arusha is located behind it. No picutures because I was trying not to freeze my ass of on the way to the bathroom. We also saw some Echineacha trees on this hike. I forgot to mention until now, by day 2 we were out of the rainforest and into the moorlands (think small shrubs, flowers, and the occasional field mouse, which is kind of like a chipmunk except with a mouse tail). At this camp it was packed, we saw an old guy (refered to as Calgary from now on), who was probably about 65-70. We also some some lady go up to him and say “We’re all very impressed that you’re here”, we had a goo time with this, comments like “Because you’re so old”, and “Do you hear Death’s footsteps yet?” followed.

Day 5: Barrunca Wall (3950 -3930).

I’m out of internet time. Long story short, we made the summit, heading to Moshi tomorrow with our guide (Chombo) to buy stuff and eat lunch. Talk to you in a few days.

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Green Galoshes is a weblog written by Justin D. Henry. This entry was published on or around April 16, 2007.

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