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Author Topic: Why summit Kilimanjaro in the dark?  (Read 10453 times)

Buddha

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Why summit Kilimanjaro in the dark?
« on: Nov 2 2004, 04:01 »

Nice pictures Mike!  :)

Can I ask everyone that summited Mt. Kilimanjaro why more then 50% of them seem to be summited by night instead of during daytime? I mean, as a climber I would enjoy a dayshot of the summitpicture instead of a nightshot. Also, you would see a lot more of Africa, wouldn't you?

// Buddha
« Last Edit: Nov 3 2004, 15:40 by 7summits »
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Re: Why summit Kilimanjaro in the dark?
« Reply #1 on: Nov 2 2004, 05:32 »

Can I ask everyone that summited Mt. Kilimanjaro why more then 50% of them seem to be summited by night instead of during daytime? I mean, as a climber I would enjoy a dayshot of the summitpicture instead of a nightshot. Also, you would see a lot more of Africa, wouldn't you?
Several reasons:
- it's great to see the sunrise from the summit as you can see on MikeW's picture. If you are still on your way it is much harder to enjoy it.
- you want to be up the volcanic sand slopes leading up to the crater rim when they are still cold/frozen, making you slide down less
- Bad timing by guides, you are supposed to arrive at sunrise, but if you are fitter than expected you might go faster  8)

Thanks MikeW  8)
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Buddha

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Re: Why summit Kilimanjaro in the dark?
« Reply #2 on: Nov 2 2004, 05:34 »

Thanks Harry for that explanation. So, with that reply I also assume that you spend some time up at the summit to take in all the beauty of the surroundings and the situation? How long do you stay up there before starting to descend?
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7summits

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Re: Why summit Kilimanjaro in the dark?
« Reply #3 on: Nov 2 2004, 05:41 »

Thanks Harry for that explanation. So, with that reply I also assume that you spend some time up at the summit to take in all the beauty of the surroundings and the situation? How long do you stay up there before starting to descend?
Depends on how acclimatized you are. If you are feeling great, you might stay up to half an hour or more, walking around, taking pics, checking out the icefields near the summit and seeing the sunrise over Africa, great stuff.
But if you took a 5-day normal route climb you will probably stay for one minute and not even remember it afterwards (if you survive).

Morale: take your time on Kili, even if you have to pay per day (longer trip is more expensive). It is worth it as it is a great place and reachable for everybody with some patience and mental strenght and it deserves to be enjoyed.
 8)
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MikeW

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Re: Why summit Kilimanjaro in the dark?
« Reply #4 on: Nov 2 2004, 20:13 »

Hey Buddha!

They make us start at night because some (slow) people takes 12 to 16 hours to climb to the summit and go back down to Mweka camp at 3000m. So if you start at midnight, like some on our group did, they arrived at Mweka at 3h00PM.

But the problem that we had (me and 3 other climbers), we had to sit down for 30 minutes close to the summit before the sunrise arrived because we were too fast even if we started around 1h30AM. But the sunrise on the summit was truly spectacular.

I stayed at least 45 minutes on the summit taking pictures and talking to friends. I could have stayed a while longer even sleeping there I'm sure. I did take a 7 day trip over the Machame route with a night at Karanga valley between Barranco and High camp, it defintely helps the acclimatization process.

MikeW
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Corsair

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Re: Why summit Kilimanjaro in the dark?
« Reply #5 on: Dec 11 2004, 20:54 »

For me it did not make any sense to ascend in the middle of the night. We had a flexible guide who, after some convincing, agreed on letting us make a daylight ascent. We started at 06:15 and I was at Uhuru peak 2 h 50 min later. All the other climbers started at 00:00 and had to put up with a lot of rain, snow and sleet during the dark hours. The skies cleared up like magic when the sun arose. For me it was perfect to walk up when the sun was rising - beautiful!
I met four Tanzanian climbers on the summit and spent about an hour plus playing around on the nearby glaciers.

The process of talking the guide into ascending in the morning was not easy though. ALL the other guides claimed it impossible to climb during the sunny hours. According to a majority of them, the sun and the wind would cause altitude sickness  ( ::) Yeah, right). Even more interesting was their claims that sulphurous fumes would go wild when the sun came up, and that would for sure suffocate us  :) The strong heat would also be a deadly problem...Hmmm, IS the temperature higher on 5500m+ than in Moshi for ex?  :)
More stories were invented along the way. ANYTHING in order to stop us from climbing. Anyway, our guide had seen us making good speed towards Kibo hut and agreed on going with us and basically told the others to be quiet. It was quite a funny scene.

I'll try to find some time to write a trip report and put up some photos later.

I don't know if anyone is interested in the more technical nearby peak Mawenzi, but, for all of you who may be: It is closed for climbing at the moment.
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Marry

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Re: Why summit Kilimanjaro in the dark?
« Reply #6 on: Jan 4 2005, 23:19 »

I think I agree with Corsair. I've read a lot of horror stories of people who summited in the dark. Some were even send down without a guide and got lost on the mountain.
I'm planning to go as soon as I have the money and I'm thinking of spending an extra night in the crater. Does anybody have some experience with camping up there? Would you recommend it?
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janets

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Re: Why summit Kilimanjaro in the dark?
« Reply #7 on: Feb 10 2005, 09:39 »

The previous time we climbed I did not know it was possible to camp near the summit! After struggling all night I was astounded to find people at the summit who camped only 90 minutes from the top.

After doing some research I am even more upset that we were not told about that option! I have seen no practical reasons to climb at night (other than silly excuses).

My husband and I are now planning a new climb via the Western Breach and really looking forward to see the mountain during daylight hours.

Maybe I am seriously missing something, but I don't understand why so many people are still doing the midnight ascent? Is it just lack of knowledge or what? 
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Re: Why summit Kilimanjaro in the dark?
« Reply #8 on: Feb 10 2005, 12:27 »

Hey Janet,

There are several reasons:
- most touroperators do not sell privatized trips, so you cannot choose anything besides the standard too quick 5 days Marangu (coca cola) route on fixed dates.

- Most people pay thousands of dollars to get to Tanzania, but then want to save on an extra day on the mountain as you pay extra per day. In order to be able to sleep in the crater you need at least a 7 day trip, 8 is recommended.

- This is because of the altitude. If you were to sleep in the crater after only 3 or 4 days of climbing you would become ill with Altitude disease for sure, which could kill you. All highest camps on all other routes are 1000-1200m (3000-4000ft) lower in altitude, which makes it safer to climb from there to the summit if you are not fully acclimatised.

- Also there are extra costs (now about ($100 each) as the porters need to go higher and carry all the stuff into the crater).

- sleeping in the crater is only an option in the Western Breach variation of the Lemosho, Machame or Umbwe routes. This variation is not technical but more than the standard routes, so not ecerybody can do this and will like it. It requires some scrambling, can be icy and there is more danger of falling rocks. So this variation is simply not good for everybody, where the standard routes can be done with anybody in good shape and some time.

But all reasons for summiting at sunrise in previous posts are valid as well. You still leave in the dark even when sleeping in the crater and will be on the summit at sunrise. You just start higher, therefore can leave later.


We offer all alternatives and even a comparison of the routes on the Kilimanjaro routes page, so everybody can decide what would be best.

But sadly most people simply choose the cheapest option to fulfill their dream, which means that over 80% will go on the quickest and most crowded Marangu route with little chance of summiting and even smaller chance of enjoying it.
 O0
« Last Edit: Feb 10 2005, 12:31 by 7summits »
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"He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary." -- Friedrich Nietzsche
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