A few photos of my Kili climb.

Old Jun 1st, 2009, 05:59 AM
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A few photos of my Kili climb.

Some of you guys are friends on Facebook so you've seen these, but for those of you
who aren't and know I never get around to writing trip reports or posting photos, I have a few up on FB of the Kili climb. I've got a few more to go but this is a good start, especially for me! Here's the link. I hope it works.

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...4&l=e229ab18c7
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Old Jun 1st, 2009, 07:38 AM
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Congratulations on the summit! What a great experience that must have been.

Chris
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Old Jun 1st, 2009, 08:01 AM
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Thanks!
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Old Jun 1st, 2009, 10:03 AM
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Between the photos and the questions I will pose, you've got yourself a report.

Was it harder, easer, or about what you thought?

How was the weather?

Do you think you'd ever do it again?

What tip(s) would you give for somebody else who might make the climb?

Thanks
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Old Jun 1st, 2009, 11:28 AM
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Congratulations! How exciting. Thanks for posting the pictures -- this is one of those things I dream about doing someday.

I have a few questions to add to Lynn's:

Have you done this kind of thing before? (multi-day trekking/climbing)

How did you train for your adventure?
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Old Jun 1st, 2009, 05:11 PM
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OK, Lynn and MDK...Here are my answers. Let me preface these by saying that it is a totally subjective experience. **Do not try this at home.**

MDK, I was scared to death, because I had never done multi-day trekking/climbing before other than back to back gorilla treks, and no week long camping trips, especially with folks I didn't know. And at altitudes which I hadn't been before.

I also didn't like finding out very late in the game that 3 of the 7 of us climbers canceled, which included the only other girl who was supposed to climb.

I got to Kenya and met up with the two other climbers, both Italian, both guys, and only one of the two spoke English.
Knowing Luca was Italian as well, but also spoke English, I thought this was going to make for a very interesting journey. So here it was...three Italian guys and an American girl.

We joined Luca at Campi Ya Kanzi for 2 days prior to the climb to rest up, and relax and do a little hiking. Luciano and Maurizio didn't have to worry about jet lag since they came from Europe but I, of course, had to get adjusted to the time difference. But it's always been easier for me on arriving there than departing.

I'd been panicking about the trek since I agreed to do it since I'd heard how tough it is. Living in Colorado, I took advantage of hiking and since I do it here anyway, I upped my training to several times a week, even in the cold of winter because I knew conditions on Kili at the higher altitude were going to be similar to that of CO.

We were lucky and had a wonderful week of weather. Yeah, it was cold and we did have snow flurries one day at Arrow camp, (per one of the pics) but living in CO prepared me for cold; teaching me to dress in layers. I bought a balaclava, shell pants and shell jacket, mittens (which are warmer than gloves) and I had bought a -20 sleeping bag just in case. (The only thing I hate worse than being cold is being COLD!)
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Old Jun 1st, 2009, 06:08 PM
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...continued...

I found out Maurizio had been a champion skier in Italy and Luciano was in pretty good shape too, and Luca had climbed it twice before so I thought I was going to slow the boys down.

Of course, the 3 of them were talking in Italian the whole time, so thank gawd I decided to bring my ipod. I'd lived in Italy for 3 years as a child and was fluent upon leaving but lost it when moving back to the states and not keeping up with it. So, the ipod went on my ears several times throughout the week.

I found out soon into the climb, that I could hang with the guys pretty easily. By the end of the second day, I actually started easing ahead of the guys along with Herman, one of the two guides. We still maintained a very slow pace (pole, pole) but just not as slow as the guys. I'd arrive at lunch camps 30-45 minutes earlier and at afternoon camps the same.

By the third day, the porters were calling me "legs of antelope" or "gazelle" because I wasn't far behind them in arriving to lunch camp or afternoon camp. They'd Hi-5 me and tell me 'good job' so it kinda encouraged me to keep going.

By the fifth day, I was getting to camps about 45-60 minutes earlier than the guys. I had no problems adjusting to the altitude increase, and to the colder temps. They were starting to feel the effects of it.

Like CO, if it was going to cloud up, it usually did by noon. But at altitude, you go from clouds to sun and back several times during the day. And the last couple of nights in the tent, my thermometer was reading 21 degrees and our camelback hoses would freeze which was a bitch the next day.

So, Lynn, the long answer to your question is that it was easier than what I thought it would be until the day before summiting when we had to climb the Breach. That was tough. Vertical as hell, and I actually thought we needed ropes at some points. But I wasn't going to quit...just did a little whining on the way to the top of the outcroppings. It was a glorious feeling once we got to the last one, up and over into the ice fields and to Summit Crater Camp.

During that climb, I did have to relinquish my backpack to one of the guides so I didn't get to hydrate properly which is the whole key to keeping altitude sickness at bay. When we got to Summit Crater camp (8 hours later) I had a killer headache and thought I wasn't going to be able to summit the next morning unless I got rid of it. I did take 2 advil and diamox to lessen my symptoms and the next morning, the 800 feet to the summit was a piece of cake by comparison. I was dancing on the last leg to the "roof of Africa" and had "Happy Feet" at that point.

Unfortunately, Luca and Maurizio succumbed to altitude sickness and couldn't summit which was a shame because we all came such a long way together and wanted to display our MWCT t-shirts in a photo for the foundation.

So, if anyone's going to do it...drink, drink, drink, and drink more water than you've ever drank in your life. And get your mindset right. Most of it is mental. Not summiting was never an option for me. I didn't go all that way and climb for 6.5 days to the summit to have to turn back. The 1.5 day trek back down is harder on your legs than going up. Knees are shot, toes are jammed to the front of your boots. We got back to CYK and all our calves and thighs were sore from the descent.

If there was a reason for me to do it again, I probably would. But I'm not getting any younger so I know I'd have to prepare even harder. Although I don't have to buy anything now since I've got all the stuff.

The guys at African Outdoor Expeditions were wonderful. I'd climb with them again, anyday. Victor and Herman, our guides were fantastic and took great care of us, as did our porters and cooks. We were one big happy family at the end, and it was sad having to say goodbye, especially after sharing such camaraderie.

Before I end this, I want to thank everyone on here who sponsored me and donated to the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust. I kept all of you in the back of my mind throughout the trek, knowing I was climbing for a good cause and knowing there were several of you who supported me and I wasn't going to let you down. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!!

Didn't mean to ramble..but it brought back happy, fun memories. Any more questions, am happy to answer 'em.

(I think this is the longest trip report I've done in years and I didn't even talk about the Botswana part!) LOL....
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Old Jun 1st, 2009, 06:46 PM
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Didn't think it was a ramble and really enjoyed reading about your experience. Thanks for posting it and your pictures from facebook.

joyce
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Old Jun 1st, 2009, 07:24 PM
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Sandy, a huge huge huge congratulations on your successful summit!!
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Old Jun 1st, 2009, 07:28 PM
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Looks like we cajoled you into the longest report of your life! Great job. When you got to the vertical part where you thought ropes were needed, wasn't that kind of frightening?

I bet your two friends felt really bad about not getting to the top.

So your calves and thighs had to recover in Botswana.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2009, 05:05 AM
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Thanks for the congrats, you guys.

Like I mentioned, there were many Africa forum fodorites and friends who reached into their pockets during these tough economic times to support me and the MWCT, so I really appreciate it.

Lynn, since we had 2 days of recovery at Ya Kanzi after the climb, our legs had a little time to get 'unsore'. So, by the time I got to Bots, I was feeling better.

What I didn't get used to, was riding around in a jeep for the next two weeks and not doing any walking but still eating like a pig like I did on the climb! It caught up with me at the end of my trip when I knew I'd gained a few lbs. from the inactivity, (except for the 'bumpy rides.') ;-)

And yeah,the vertical climb on the breach was a little 'intimidating.' At first, I was almost crawling, but Victor (our guide) said to stand up and trust your boots. I looked at him like he had a screw loose and said I trust my boots, it's this skree I don't trust. I finally did stand up but then when we got to the outcroppings, we literally had to use our hands to pull ourselves up on several parts.

Let's just say that when I looked behind and beneath me, it was a loooong drop down. One misstep and you'd be on your way.

And we had to start the climb at like 5 or 6 in the morning to get over the worst part before the sun came up and warmed up the rocks enough to loosen them (which was around 9 or 10 because we were on the western slope). We had helmuts attached to our packs, just in case we needed to put them on if that gives you any indication of how rocky it was.

When we reached the top of the breach, Luca mentioned to me that I said "Oh my gawd" about 100 times. I told him that I wanted to say something else (%$#@&%) but was choosing not to curse (which is hard enough for me as it is.)

Gotta say though, it was still a great experience! I'd been staring at Kili since 2003, when I first stayed at Luca's camp and knew I had to climb it one day. And I'm glad it was for a good cause. Makes it all the more worthwhile.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2009, 05:38 AM
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Sandy, thanks so much for the extra details (and for encouraging us to go to Campi ya Kanzi several years ago.)
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Old Jun 2nd, 2009, 07:18 AM
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Thanks for a great report. I will never climb Kili, but I will be at CYK next week for 2 days. For some reason I missed this when you were soliciting funds. Is it too late to contribute while I'm there ... in your name?
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Old Jun 2nd, 2009, 10:21 AM
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Thank you for answering all our questions! This is a great description of what it's really like... helps with my daydreaming immensely! We're all proud of you. That's a major accomplishment.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2009, 04:46 PM
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Oh man, safarimama, wish I was going with you! I hope Luca and Antonella are there while you are because they sometimes take off this time of the year. If they are there, please give them a hug and kiss from me. Antonella should have had her baby (3rd) by now too.
If they aren't there, Stefano should be. He left April 18 to hike a 27,000 ft mountain in the Himalayas (2nd highest there to Everest) but should be back now.

Thank you for wanting to donate. I didn't solicit funds on the forum due to the fact that I didn't think it was appropriate but contacted my fodorite friends through email.
When there, you can let the folks at CYK know you'd like to donate on my behalf-a late donation-or you can do it through the www.maasaitrust.org website. We need all the $$ we can get to get that clinic built.

Or if you want to email me to discuss further, my email is [email protected]

MDK...thanks. It was an accomplishment because we raised $22,000+ for the clinic. (I don't know the final totals because I think more money may have come in)

A couple more afterthoughts...

If I did the climb again or if I recommended the climb to someone, I would definitely say to do the morning summit like we did instead of leaving at midnight and trekking all night to get to the summit by morning. Yes, you have to camp higher but the temp difference between 16,000 and 18,500 wasn't that big of a deal. And so many people are doing the nighttime summit trek. When we were on the way to Uhuru point, from afar, we could see about 10-12 people leaving to go back down. When we got there, we had the summit to ourselves, just the way I wanted it.

And OMG, the STARS were UNREAL, especially at 18,500 ft. When night fell, yeah it got cold but you were so close to the sky the stars looked softball-sized and almost within your grasp to reach up and pull one down. That is one memory that will remain imprinted in my mind forever.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2009, 04:52 PM
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Good comment on the stars. You were closer. Great job on the climb and the fundraising Divewop!
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Old Jun 2nd, 2009, 08:24 PM
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I will donate to the clinic in your name on the spot. Also went to "Friends of Seattle Public Library" sale and picked up 100 childrens books that are approriate for African kids. I basically read them all!!! I'm bringing as many as I can weight-wise, checking a bag just for that.

I'm hoping to meet everyone; we'll see!
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