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Kilimanjaro – Back in Moshi

8:14 pm Filed under: Travel

We had an extra day in Moshi after we got back, of course we settled down to sample all of the local beers. Tusker was my favorite.

Kenyan Beer - Safari Kenyan Beer - Kilimanjaro Kenyan Beer - Serengetti Kenyan Beer - TuskerKenyan Beer - Ndovu

Kiwi and Eloise had got pally with Remi who ran the show at the hotel, we found out she had actually reassigned Killian to our group to make sure we had a great trip. She took us for a little tour around Moshi to get some curios and sample some local food.

A truck name Precious Kenyan kebab

All the security guys around the hotel were Masai, they were all nice chilled guys. Apparently you can’t just wear a table cloth and call yourself a Masai, there’s a code you have to live by, all Masai never back out of a fight, and never quit a fight till they have won or are dead.

 Masai Masai The owner of the hotel and Remi in the middle

Kilimanjaro – Day 4 Barafu (4600m), Summit & Day 5 Mweka (3100m)

6:42 pm Filed under: General

From Karanga to Barafu is only a few hours of easy walking, more dusty winding trails rather than climbing over rocks.  We were supposed to sleep away the afternoon in preparation for our 10pm start for the summit attempt, but at 4,600 meters there’s no way I could sleep.

We tried to play head to head Tetris on our DS’s but I couldn’t think so Zett wiped the floor with me (we’re usually quite evenly matched), so we sort of just layed there snoozing and tripping till it was time to eat, then layed there again till it was time to go.

Mt Kilimanjaro Visible evidence of the difference in air pressure, we bought these in Pretoria

The first part of the summit climb is a pretty steep and loose gravel path, I see now why you need gators, your feet sink quite a ways into the gravel and would fill your boots without them. It felt like you only get 60% worth of each step, so it was pretty slow going.

At around 4,800m Eloise really started to struggle, she was a real trooper though, she’d struggled every day since the second day and was still pushing herself. At this point though she needed some help, so William started helping her along.

It was freezing up there in the middle of the night, you had to balance out what you wore so you didn’t sweat while you were walking.  It was really uncomfortable to stop for more that a minute, so Zett and I took good old reliable Oswald and went ahead at a nice steady pace. We only met back up with Kiwi and Eloise up on the summit itself.

At one point I heard a loud crack, as if a rock had hit me in the head light, this small thing highlighted how screwed up everyone’s head space was. I ask everyone if they heard it and all I got back was weird stares, and confused looks, it was as if everyone was stoned out of there minds and in there own little world. 

I only found out once we were back a the hotel that it was one of the batteries in my headlight exploded from the cold and altitude, lucky for me it didn’t stop it working.

Mt Kilimanjaro summit at dawn Mt Kilimanjaro summit at dawn

The really tough gravel part finishes at Stella Point, from here the trail flattens out to nice hard pack trails. Here we rested for a little bit, had a little food and got cold, Ozzy said “Only 200m to go” after an hour or so we realised he meant 200m vertical assent not of trail left to walk.

I struggled my arse off on this last bit, it seemed so stupid to find it so hard to walk up such a flat easy trail, but I couldn’t get enough air in. It was around -20 degrees at this point, just on dawn, if you pant too much the freezing air actually hurts your lungs so you’re stuck in nasty catch 22.

Mt Kilimanjaro summit Mt Kilimanjaro summit

The summit was surprisingly not too crowded, once we stopped for a minute we realised why… It was f’n freezing!!

Even with your fleece glove inners on, your hands instantly froze up when you took them out of your pockets, trying to take a photo was a real task. We were only there for a few minutes when Kiwi turned up, in pretty good shape also. To our suprise a few moments later we saw Eloise plodding up the trail, porter under each arm head slumped down.. but still walking!

A massive effort, but we still had to walk all the way down,.. I had a cracking head ache and was feeling quite nauseous as this point (as well as still tripping balls), Killian said the only way to feel better is to get lower so we headed back down.

Mt Kilimanjaro Mt Kilimanjaro

Now that the sun was up things started to warm up quite quickly and we could see what we had been walking up all night. Not unlike what I imagine the surface of the moon would be like, grey gravely sand and rocks as far a the eye could see. We developed a weird half skiing style to get down the loose sand and gravel trails.

I felt like I was remotely controlling my body from a control room behind my eyes, like I said before I’d been tripping since before we headed off, now that I was really exhausted it was worse.  I didn’t start to get my senses back till after our much needed 2 hour power nap back at Barafu camp.

We still had to drag our sore and tired legs all the way down to Mweka camp before we could really rest, everyone slept REALLY well that night.

 Mt Kilimanjaro Mt Kilimanjaro

The last day was a really nice gradual trail through some beautiful forest, and it was done.

 Pota Shitta, the porters lugged this around for us the whole time Mweka Camp, with the whole crew The path down Porters having a much needed wash

Kilimanjaro – Day 2 Baranco Camp (3950m) & Day 3 Karanga Hut (3930m)

4:58 am Filed under: Travel

As mentioned previously, the altitude really messes with your head (well it does with me) so the journal slimmed down to dot points which I’ll try and elaborate on now.

Quote: “Too high for journal, dot points only”

  • Porridge & white eggs – I never eat porridge, but up there that warm slimy goop is pretty good start to the day. For some reason the yokes in Tanzanian eggs is really pale, almost white.
  • Sleep/Dreams & Bubbles of sanity – Same as when we travelled South America, I can’t really sleep properly at anything over 3,000m above sea level, I kind of snooze with really crazy dreams.
  • Day 2 –3 different zones – As we gained altitude we passed through really specific zones of foliage till eventually there was nothing, it looked like the surface of the moon or the mountains of Mordor.
    • Jungle.
    • Mossy saplings and grass.
    • Arid with weird cactus things.

Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route  Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route   Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route  

  • Headache, Water – I got a really bad headache on the 3rd day (the first signs of mountain sickness), Kilian told me to drink the wora (water) I had been drinking shit loads so I upped the amount of electrolyte I was putting in and that seemed to fix it.
  • Julia, the German – Zett and I went for a wander around the other camps and ended up meeting this interesting German woman, who had done some interesting travels.
  • Kilian stories, good/bad – Our guide had some amazing stories, and he wasn’t shy on sharing some full on one.
    • Western breach – rock fall – killed dude in the back, another 4 porters and 2 clients killed before trail closed.
    • Rained for 6 days, they still made it.
  • Dependable Oswald (Ozzy) – We nick named him Ozzy, he inadvertently became our personal guide as we kept a steady pace when Eloise and Kiwi were resting. He didn’t say much but he was always there.
  • Tent always on an angle – There’s not exactly huge cleared areas for camping at each of the camps, and it works on a first come first serve basis so depending on how fast your first couple of porters are your tent is never level. Some nights were worse than the others but they always set the tents with you pointing up hill so it wasn’t that bad.

 Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route  Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route  Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route

  • Hakuna matata – Is Swahili for no worries (mate, cobba bloke), the porters you passed on the trail seemed to enjoy the fact that we’d greet them in Swahili. At the pre-summit camp the Porters sang this cool song with that as it’s main lyric.
  • Porter smell, a cross between B.O. and I’ve shit myself! – There’s not a lot of spare water up on the mountain, so the porters have to carry water to most camps, we got a shallow basin of luke warm water to both wash up in each morning before breakfast and before dinner at night.  obviously the porters don’t have this luxury, they also sleep 6 in a 2 man tent for warmth and lug 20kg of gear each up the hill each day, so they get a fair old pong up.
  • Kilian sayings – He had a funny English accent.
    • Pora (Porter)
    • Wora (Water)
    • Really….pause…. Shit (When something was bad)
    • Eat da food, Drink the wora, take the slow pace (the mantra he drummed into us to get us to the top)

 Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route Karanga hut Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route Frost on the tents in the morning

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