Day 8 – Getting of the mountain

Yesterday was tipping time. A special occasion for the guides and porters because it’s an important part of their salary. Of course we thought it through and gave good tips. But, as stated in the Kili guide, the guides pretended that the tip was not enough. What a hassle. But when they found out it was all they got (and all we had), they were happy and big friends again. I guess this is one of the more clear cultural differences. In the morning we also gave everybody something additional, like a sweater, socks, headlight or gloves. This really made the day. I haven’t seen the porters more happy during the trip! So I guess we did OK. A strange (for us) thing is that the porters and guide have absolutely no problems with asking for more gear, clothes or money. We had to remember ourselves that this is probably normal for them.

The last walk of the mountain was only 2 hours. At Mweka gate some administration had to be done by the guide and after that we wend of to Moshi, with our certificate that we made it all the way to Uhuru Peak 🙂

This will (probably) be my last post on our Kili adventure. Now we are going on a 5 day safari, after that diving at Zanzibar.

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This morning at 7:15 (local time) the five of us stood on Uhuru Peak, the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.

We started around midnight. Everybody was climbing with headlights, so before and after us a lot of little lights were queing on the route, like stars on the mountain.

It was cold, exhausting, but worth it! At Stella Point we had a small break, after which it was only 45 minutes to Uhuru Peak. During the walk to Uhuru Peak we saw the sunrise. Those last 45 minutes felt like much more. Each time a new climb appeared after a corner and all those smiling people coming down, while we were struggling up didn’t make it easier. But we made it 🙂

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Day 6 – 4600 meter camp

Today was a short day. We climbed from Karranga camp to Barafu camp at 4600 meters. It’s only 12 o’clock, but our program is eat and go to sleep, wake up at 5 for dinner and sleep again, and tea of course. Because around midnight we wake up, eat and start our final push for the summit. It feels good, we think we will make it.

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Day 5 – Pole pole

Pole pole is Swahili for slowly slowly. And that is what we are doing now. Going up goes slower than normal, if you don’t want to get out of breath. We only did a short hike today, maybe three and a half hours, so we left late. This was a good way to avoid the “traffic jams” on the Barranco wall.

After our daily hike it’s a lot of drinking tea, relaxing, drinking tea, eating popcorn, drinking tea, having dinner and drinking some more tea. So after this week that’s enough tea and popcorn for the rest of the year. And of course long nights (it’s winter here) with lot’s of sleep.

Another strange thing, the sun turns north instead of south. My entire feeling for direction is completely gone.


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Day 4 – Crowded

Today our route (Lemosho) joined with the Machame route, which we will follow from now, because Lemosho goes via Western Breach, which is more dangerous. When joining with Machama all of a sudden the route is crowded. Much more hikers and a huge amount of porters. The feeling of being alone on the mountain is gone.

Todays route took us way over 4600, the highest I’ve ever been. In the morning I had a small headache (stupid pillow, 12 hours in bed), but it did not get worse. Now it’s gone 🙂 We are growing more confident. The walking itself is no problem at all. It’s only the height, you just get less air, so you cannot go as fast as you are used to. That’s why we go up slow. Our guides say we will summit all five of us…. but that’s their job I guess.

Today we arrived at Barranco camp at 3985 meters. Tomorrow we go to Karranga at 4040, so we should be acclimatised at this height before our final push for the top.

Most people consider Big Tree (first camp on Lemosho) as the most beautiful camp. I don’t no why, each day the camps get better. Yesterday a wonderfull sunset, with beatiful clouds and colors. Today we have a huge wall on one side and a far view on the oher.

A totally different story is about the toilets in the camps. It’s nothing more than a 1 by 1 meter wooden shed, with a hole in the ground. Below the hole: the shit-pit. The deepest pit I’ve seen was three meters deep, but not empty. So some have already meters of shit in them. It works, but it smells.

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Day 3 – Feeling really good

I read and forgot about it. But the stars yesterday evening… what a wonderfull view. Of course everything around us was completely dark making all stars shine really bright! Like the sky has gone bling-bling.

Today the direct route from Shira 1 to Shira 2 at 3840 meters should only take two and a half hours. But we chose the route via Shira Cathedral, about 4 hours. This included (after a small addititional climb) a really spectacular view. We were on an edge with a far view on both sides. On the one side the valley with Moshi, comletely in the clouds. On the other side was Shira Valley, which we crossed today. A perfect view on a nice walking day.

When we almost reached the camp an american guy was brought down: height disease. I didn’t expect people to fall out this early, so I am happy I still feel good. From our group only Jasmijn does not feel to good, but we expect and hope she will feel better soon. It should help we are sleeping at this altitude for three nights.

The highest point of tomorrows hike is at 4530 meters, I wonder how that will feel….

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Day 2 – Finally we see the mountain

This morning the clouds were going away, but before it cleared up new clouds came in. So most of he walk was through the clouds, like yesterday, and until we reached the Shira 1 camp (3460 meter) we haven’t seen the mountain at all. We were joking if there even was a mountain. But while we were waiting for backpacks and tents the weather cleared up and we can finally see the top…. and what a perfect view it is!!! Blue sky, sun, a slendid view on the mountain with snow on he top.

We expected the porters to be at the camp earlier than us, but most are later. Most are unexperienced and being trained by guide Simon. We are accompanied by guide Abele.

O, and Maarten was the laughing stock of all porters, when he was covered by ants, after he put on his daypack again, which he put on an ants trail.

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