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Author Topic: Kili: My thoughts  (Read 5987 times)

earth-walker

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Kili: My thoughts
« on: Aug 23 2006, 06:28 »

Hey all, I just got back from my Tanzania trip.  I want to share some thoughts on the mountain and safari.

My route:
1 Londorossi to Big Tree Camp
2 Big Tree to Shira 2 Camp
3 Shira 2 to Moir Hut with Lent Mountain hike
4 Moir Hut to Barranco with Lava Tower hike
5 Barranco to Karranga
6 Karranga to Barafu
7 Barafu to Uruhu to Crater Camp with ash pit hike
8 Crater Camp to Mweka Gate


TEN THINGS ABOUT THE CLIMB/SAFARI

1.  Bring a pee bottle, more than 32 oz. capacity.  I got this advice a few days before I left and it was the best information I received.  Use the bottle to pee in so you don't have to exit the tent 2-3 times in the middle of the night; dump it in the morning.  You will love me for this tidbit - I promise.

2.  Skip the forest camps if possible.  They are small, crowded, ugly and nothing special.  For the Lemosho Route, that means skipping Big Tree (go from Londorossi to Shira 1) and Mweka (descend in one day or return to Barafu).  Acclimatization may be an issue on the ascent, however.

3.  Midnight ascent - why?  Unless you want to be at the summit at sunrise, there is no need to ascend at midnight in the dark and freezing cold.  I left at 8AM wearing my normal gear (no parka) summited at noon-ish (yes, I know noon isn't the best for photos).  But, I was totally alone at the top, with my guide, for 30 minutes, setting up my tripod for photos and doing panoramic 360 stitch photos. The ground/skree was not hard to climb in the sun.  In fact, probably easier than doing it in the dark given I can see it.
 
4.  Crater - not to be missed.  Once you summit, even if you aren't doing crater camp, go down the route that brings you next to the glacier and crater.  It's an easy descent on skree and being able to touch the glacier ice is magnificent.  The ash pit hike is cool too.  Do it.

5.  Barranco Camp was the prettiest.  The hike to and from Barranco, up the wall, was the most scenic, in my opinion.

6.  Nalgene bottles are unnecessary if you have a camelback.  I had a 2L bladder and it was plenty.  You can have it refilled during the day if needed.  I never used my 2 Nalgenes, and donated them to my porters.

7.  Bring more comfort food, less health bars.  I had a ton of bars/gels/powders that I didnt use and ended up giving them to my porters.  I'd bring no more than 2 per climbing day.  They give you a lot of food up there.  Instead, I wished I'd brought some junk food because the same tastes get tiresome.  I would have loved a pack of gum, Sprees, potato chips, Doritos, Combos, crackers, etc.

8.  Difficulty of climb is exagerrated.  I consider myself to be slightly above average in fitness.  This mountain was only mildly difficult.  I'd rate it a 5 or 6 of 10, and I carried 16-18kg everyday except descent.  I met a couple of Colorado hikers afterwards and they agreed that it was terribly easy - easier than any day hike they do.  The only day I felt tired (although admittedly I was VERY tired) was descent from Crater(Stella) to Mweka Gate (5750m to 1800m), which I did in 6 hours. My training regimen is posted in another thread.

9.  If you are an active person, the safari may bore you (I was).  I spent one day each at Manyara, Ngorongoro and Serengeti.  And I was satisfied.  It was a zoo-like atmosphere in Manyara and Ngorongoro (lots of cars parked bumper to bumper to view one animal).  I thought the Serengeti was more authentic - wide open space, harder to see animals, but I appreciated it more.  However, if you truly want to see something special (a hunt), you need to spend more time in one spot.

10.  On safari, you need at least 12x optical zoom if you expect to get decent photos.

« Last Edit: Aug 23 2006, 23:02 by walktheearth »
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m.c. reinhardt

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Re: Kili: My thoughts
« Reply #1 on: Aug 23 2006, 10:27 »

Walktheearth

Thanks for the info and recommendations.
Two questions for you or anyone else who can answer.
1.  What is the altitude gain from Londorossi to Shira 1?  On your recommendation, I would like to skip the Forest Camps but do not want to jeopardize my acclimatization program.
2.  I am still a bit naive on current mountaineering lingo.  What is a camelback?  I want to be sure that it will hold enough water as I do drink a lot of water even on day hikes.
Based on your recommendation, I may spend my entire safari (4 days) on the Serengeti.  I still need to do some research for my safari.
Thanks again!  I'd love to see some pix, especially your summit photos.  Congrats on your summit of Kili!

MC  :)

p.s. Which mountain will you be climbing next?
« Last Edit: Aug 23 2006, 11:04 by mc »
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Re: Kili: My thoughts
« Reply #2 on: Aug 23 2006, 11:43 »

Hi Walkthe Earth,

congratulations on your climb, can't wait to see the 360 panoramic! Thanks for your advice, though oit will be different for each climber, it will help people.

MC: the height gain is about from 900m (ground level, Moshi) to 3500m, which will be too much for most, unless coming from another mountain. A camelback is a so-called bladder system, where you can keep x litres of water in a sealed pouch, with a small tube coming pout. You put in in your pac k and can drink without stopping. Pro: ease, much water available, cons: sometimes gets dirty, strange taste.

It is not possible to spend 4 days on Serengeti unless you fly there with a local flights. You need to drive to and from (one very long and bumpy/dusty day if done in one day), which will take you past or though Manyara & the Crater. Most people think the Crater was the best, others liked the Serengeti more. I recommend them both, as they have different atmospheres. But maybe one more tip: do not go in August to Tanzania if you are looking for solitude :-)

Cheers,
Harry
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earth-walker

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Re: Kili: My thoughts
« Reply #3 on: Aug 23 2006, 23:21 »

On the safari, I was not suggesting to skip places.  I'm still happy I went to three areas in three days.  I didn't feel rushed.  The Ngorongoro Crater is still worth visiting because you are ensured that you will see most of the animals.  The Serengeti is an unknown, so if you skip Ngorongoro then you may not see some animals at all and go home unsatisfied. 

Of course, everyone will have a different opinion.  My guide said he liked Manyara the most and didn't like the Serengeti which was opposite of my thoughts.  He said because the Serengeti was too big and sometimes you don't see anything.  But that was exactly what appealed to me.  In an early morning drive (5:30am), while it was still dark, we came upon 20 hyenas who had chased a lioness up a tree and stole her catch.  The hyenas were going nuts.  I felt so lucky to have witnessed this scene, totally alone.

My guide said that of the 11 years he's been doing this, he's only seen a hunt/kill seven times.  All of these instances occurred when he had clients who spent several days in one spot and they decided to follow an animal for an extended period of time.  Although it would have been extraordinary to witness a kill, I personally wouldn't wait hours and hours for the possibility of it.

I flew out of Seronera to Arusha.  It was a small 17-seat plane that flew at low altitude and made three stops in the north Serengeti, the north east Serengeti, and Lake Manyara, before landing in Arusha.  The views were quite nice.

Lastly, I did the climb and safari solo.  I got to make all the decisions.  On the mountain, I decided the pace, when to stop, when to eat, what to eat, and to change the itinerary if necessary (the decision to summit before crater camp and to descend in one day was made on the spot).  On the safari, I never had to jostle for position in the vehicle.  I could say, move up a foot, lets stay or lets leave.  Those are the advantages.  The disadvantage is that I got bored at the campsites and had to ask people to take my photos.
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earth-walker

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Re: Kili: My thoughts
« Reply #4 on: Aug 23 2006, 23:27 »

One more issue - a serious one.

It was rumored that while I was on the mountain, two climbers died in and around Barafu.  It seemed to be common knowledge amongst the guides/porters (I heard it from two different companies).  It seems plausible that deaths are hidden by the park service and that the real number is higher than the reported average 10 deaths per year.
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m.c. reinhardt

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Re: Kili: My thoughts
« Reply #5 on: Aug 24 2006, 04:09 »

Harry
Thank you for answering my questions.  The jury is still out on the camelback.  Definite pros and cons (the strange taste thing is not too appealing.)
I am still interested in spending four days on the Serengeti (I will count on my "good luck" with spotting wildlife!)  I guess I would have to take a local flight to the Serengeti and then fly to different sections.  Or would it be better to fly in and then rent a jeep for the four days?  Lastly, would the end of June be extremely busy or do I need to go in May to avoid the heavy crowds?

Walktheearth
Thanks again for your thoughts...very informative.

MC  :)
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earth-walker

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Re: Kili: My thoughts
« Reply #6 on: Aug 25 2006, 00:13 »

I'd go with a Camelbak... with Nalgene you have to pull the bottle from your backpack, twist open, stop walking, drink, then close it and put it back in the backpack.  So much easier to sip from the bladder tube.  And the plastic taste isn't strong; I don't notice it anymore.  What truly tastes bad is iodine-treated water.
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Andreas

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Re: Kili: My thoughts
« Reply #7 on: Aug 27 2006, 19:14 »


MC: the height gain is about from 900m (ground level, Moshi) to 3500m, which will be too much for most, unless coming from another mountain. . 


If you order an extra aclimatization day I have noticed that that day usually will be spend around 3800-4200 meters according to wich route you take.
On the other hand, if you would have spend a week around  Addis Abeba in Ethiopia, wich is 2200-3000 meters above water, before "climbing" Kili, would you then be more acclimatized? Or is that altitude not high enoug to skip an extra acclimatization day?

But maybe one more tip: do not go in August to Tanzania if you are looking for solitude :-)

Is August the most crowded month? I see some companys offer discount if you go in the rain seson, and I read in the FAQ that it is nothing wrong about climbing in the rain season. If I`m an poorly photograph and used to bad weather, would it be a good idea to go early June?

7.  Bring more comfort food, less health bars.  I had a ton of bars/gels/powders that I didnt use and ended up giving them to my porters.  I'd bring no more than 2 per climbing day.  They give you a lot of food up there.  Instead, I wished I'd brought some junk food because the same tastes get tiresome.  I would have loved a pack of gum, Sprees, potato chips, Doritos, Combos, crackers, etc.

Are there any restrictions on what you can bring into the country? Some countrys refuse you to bring milk-products. The best "comfort food" I know is chocolate. But I guess that would melt long time before the climbing begins? Are the any local food you would advice people to buy and bring with them?
« Last Edit: Aug 27 2006, 19:35 by Andreas »
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