M and Z's Grand Tour travel blog

Kili is still ahead

the view from our tent (Karanga Valley camp)

the sun setting above Africa

The top of Lava Tower (M, Z and Ozzy the guide)

High altitude vegetation

M and the support crew

Kili and some cairns in the foreground

we came and conquered

the receding glacier on the top

ghost of Kili (or climbers arriving at dawn)

load bearing porters en route to the top

Z contemplating the dirt

M, Jenny the tailor and her new dress!!!

My report is in English, Z's in Hungarian follows....

Back from Kili! We did it!! We got to the top - Uhuru peak - 5,895 meters, (19,000+ feet) and saw the sunrise on Kilimanjaro. I'm glad we did it and happy that I won't have to do it again. It was a lot harder than either of us imagined it would be. The climb on the final day was difficult, but harder still was doing an 8-day trek - what were we thinking?? First of all, the drawings of Kili as a snow capped mountain are way old, there is just a bit of the glacier left, most of the mountain is just dirt and gravel. Imagine trudging up through an endless pile of kitty litter and you've pretty much got the idea. I have never ever been so dirty in my life, a day later and I'm still finding dirt under my nails and in other bodily crevices. Gross! We'd wash our hands and then climb into our tent only to pick up all of the dirt we'd just remove. But I shouldn't dwell only on this facet of the trip. Eight days was long! Most people do it in 6-days. I think we may have fared better for the extra acclimatization days, but mentally it was harder on us. By the end we just wanted a shower.

There were just the 2 of us in the group, with 9 support people - a guide, assistant guide, cook, and 6 porters. Like in Peru, the porters carry everything, but unlike Peru, most of them carry things on their heads! Truly incredible to see these guys with tables, chairs, huge baskets of food on their heads walking up the mountain-side with their hands in their pockets. I wish I had that strong of a back and good balance. This was a very different experience from Peru and we had a difficult time not to compare the two. Climbing Kili is viewed as an activity, there was not the cultural or historical element which was central to our Peru experience. The guide was nice but didn't sit with us during dinner and basically assumed the role of an escort. That said, the hike wasn't too hard - we took the long route which meant that each day we only hiked about 3-4 hours, meaning that we were well rested for the summit day. We both took our altitude sickness medicine, and didn't have any problems with either the altitude or side of effects to the drugs. The area around Kili is very large and we basically circled the mountain slowly (pole pole) gaining altitude. Going through a rainforest, moorland and alpine desert. Each microclimate distinctive and striking in its own way. Summit day began at midnight from Barafu camp (4,600 meters) we arrived that morning around 10 a.m. had lunch and lounged about camp - it was perched among the rocks on this ridge making you feel as though you could walk right over the edge. Z took a lot of nice photos. We had some dinner and tried to sleep for a few hours before getting up at eleven and dressing in all of our layers for the ascent. It must be the New York competitiveness, because as we started we could see all of the headlamps of the people ahead of us. We just kept chipping away until we had passed all of them, including the group of "singing" South Africans who started an hour before us. Then it was just us and our guide and asst. guide - kind of scary and lonely to look ahead and see nothing but stars in the sky. At first the hike was not too bad, we even were warm enough to unzip our jackets, however we turned past a big rock at about 2:30 a.m. and were practically blown off the mountain. The rest of the time we had to battle against the bone-chilling wind. All I could do was focus on the feet of our guide in front of me to keep going - this is much harder than any marathon. At about 4:30 we reached a crossroads where our trail met another - at this point we were told that the summit was about 45 minutes away - meaning that we'd summit in the dark! Needless to say neither Z nor I were happy about that. So we tried to slow down as much as possible without stopping for fear of getting even colder than we were already. A group of Germans passed us at this time, and as we approached the summit, they had already been to the top and started down. We were the second group to the summit at 5:30 a.m. and had to huddle together for 45 minutes until the sun rose over the horizon. In the end, it was worth the wait, because the sunrise was beautiful and we had a clear view of the blue-white glaciers as they reflected the rose-colored sky against the dark earth. Simply breath-taking. We headed back down the mountain giving encouragement to those struggling up. What impressed me most was the number of people over 50 who were hiking Kili. There was this Zambian man, Melvin, who must have been at least 65 and probably never did much more than walk around the block, but decided to climb Kili and he did it - really showed what perseverance means.

Coming down from the top with the sun up made a big difference, not only was it so much warmer, but you could see where we had hiked. It was like skiing down a mountain of kitty litter - so much dust, if I had known that was what I had climbed up through I may never had reached the top. We got to camp, slept for 2 hours had some lunch and then had to hike down another 4 hours to the final campsite. We were both exhausted and in miserable moods. But when we got up the next morning we were packed and ready to go within the hour because we were so excited to get back to Springlands hotel and a hot shower!

Tomorrow we leave for a short 3-day safari and then off to Zanzibar. We'll try to send an update and with (hopefully) photos of many animals!

Mint annak idejen Kittenberger Kalman bacsi es Szechenyi Zsiga bacsi, a Kilimanjaro labatol irom ezeket a sorokat... Azok akik velem egyutt a 60-as 70-es evekben nottek fel meg talan emlekeznek a fennti nagy oregek klasszikus munkaira (Csui! es Kelet-Afrika vadaszmezoin). Maig megmaradt bennem a Csui-ban olvasott szuaheli mondat: MAdzsi huko! - ott a viz! Nos, orommel jelenthetem, hogy teszteltem, es valoban azt jelenti...

Tehat, tegnap 8 napos turazas utan visszatertunk a civilizacioba. Illetve, hogy az elejerol kezdjem, Bagamoyobol, kiralyok modjara betaxiztunk Dar-es-Salaamba (a helyi mikrobusz nem johetett szamitasba, mert azok csak akkor indulnak ha megteltek, nekunk viszont fel kilenckor indult a buszunk Moshi-ba), majd a Scandinavia Express kisse lepukkant allomasarol tovabbindultunk a Kilimanjaro fele. Ugyan a busz szinvonala nem utotte meg a torokorszagban megszokottat, de azert az eddigi afrika-tapasztalatokhoz kepest nagyon kellemes volt. Pluss ulesek, talan a Szikra moziban cirka 20 evvel ezelott hasznalt ulesekhez hasonlithatnam oket. Bar Tanzania azt hiszem annak idejen "barati " orszag volt, itt nem Ikaruszok jarjak a videket, attol tartok azert mert egyszeruen nem birnak a strapat. A par szaz kilometernyi ut ugy jo 9 orat tartott, nagyreszt betonon, de volt azert nehany terep-szakasz is. (a busz es a sofor jol birta) Utkozben megalltunk egy oazis-szeru farmon a szavanna kellos kozepen, lehettett nyarson kecsket venni, meg csirket is sult krumplival (mi passzoltunk).

Este 5 ora tajban a horizonton feltunt a "Kili" hosapkas csucsa, de sajnos egyaltalan nem ugy nezett ki mint a Hemingway-regeny boritojan - a teteje nem lapos...

MIndegy, bevettuk magunkat a Moshi szelen allo kis szallodankba (3 meter magas kofal, ontottvas kapu, kb 1.5 meter magas bejarattal), a busz allomastol kellemesen poros, 10 perces taxiutra.

Masnap megismertuk Ozzy-t a leendo vezetonket, es a "csapatot" (7 hordar + 1 szakacs), osszepakoltuk az expedicios cuccokat es lelkesen tanulmanyoztuk a terkepet.

Hetfon reggel 1/2 8kor talalkoztunk a tobbiekkel (meg egy amcsi srac csatlakozott hozzank, de o kicsit gyorsabban tervezte befejezni az utat, mindossze 6 napot adva maganak a mi 8-unkhoz kepest). Eloszor is mintegy 4 orat buszoztunk arkon bokron keresztul, uttalan utakon, iszonyu porfelhoben a nemzeti park bejarataig (deszka kunyho plusz 1db vador-szeru arc, sok pecsettel es nyomtatvannyal). Biztos minden rendben volt, mert gyorsan atmentunk a kapun es mar a hegy labanal is voltunk. Az altalunk valasztott "Lemosho" utvonal a leghosszabb, gyakorlatilag egy felkort ir le a hegy korul, nyugatrol kelet fele haladva. Az elso tabort mintegy 4 ora laza poroszkalas utan ertuk el - vegig az esoerdoben - allitolag jaguarokkal korulveve. Biztos, de mi csak majmokat es egy halom elefant (??) sz..rt lattunk...

A kovetkezo ket-3 napon a Shira fennsikon botorkaltunk keresztul, tobbe kevesbe magashegyi ovezetben, sivatagi jellegu tajon (volt viszont csomo vadvirag, ameddig a szem ellat). Aztan egyszer csak a viragok helyett egyre tobb ko es szikla tunt fel, es 4oo meter felett, mar csak egy-egy eltevedt kaktusz-szeru noveny maradt, jobbara mutatoban. Altalaban 5-6 orat gyalogoltunk naponta, viszonylag konnyeden, mert a nagy pakkot a hordarok viseltek. Mire beertunk a napi taborba, mart allt a satrunk (altalaban kicsit ferde reszen, igy reggelre rendszeresen a matrac aljan ebredtunk), es hamar jott a lavornyi meleg viz a mosdashoz (ennek ellenere 8 napig a mosdas leginkabb kezmosast jelentett...), majd a tea es pattogatott kukorica/keksz. Vacsi ugy 7 korul, aztan 8-kor mar nem volt mas hatra mint bebujni a (ketretegu) halozsakba (mert ejszakankent hiiidddeeg volt). A hatodik napon elertuk a 4.600 meteres lava tornyokat, ami egyben az utolso akklimatizacios allomas is volt. Az idonk vegig jo volt, altalaban napos reggel este keso delutan, napkozben pedig enyhen felhos. Az utolso tabort delutan 2 korul ertuk el, jo formaban (a diamox megtette a hatasat) - erdekes volt latni az elottunk csucsot tamadokat. Nagy reszuk vidaman csomagolt a lefele utra, de volt aki eleg ramatyul nezett ki... az utolso helyezett, egy 69 eves angol nagyi fel negykor ert vissza a taborba, kozel 14 ora maszas utan!!! de megcsinalta!

Utolso este vacsi 5kor volt, aztan mindenki lefekudt, a csucstamadas ugyanis ejfelkor indul. A felfele ut 6-7 ora, utana pedig 2-3 ora vissza a taborba (4600 meter), majd rovid piheno utan meg 4 ora lefele a bazis taborba.

11-kor keltettek, kis keksz, kis tea stb, feloltottuk minden meg tiszta (es nem tiszta) ruhankat, szamitva a csucson altalaban lengedezo szellore es -20 fokos homersekletre. Aznap este velunk egyutt mintegy 40 fo indult neki a csucsnak, egy reszuk elottunk. Az ejszaka tiszta, holdfenyes es szelcsendes (= viszonylag meleg) volt, jol lehetett latni az alottunk indultak maszo lampait felettunk. Jol felkeszult alpinistakhoz illoen, felutra mar atvettunk a vezetest, magunk mogott hagyva a del-afrikai egyetemi valogatottat, valamint nehany osztrak es nemet maszot. kb 4 es 1/2 oranyi meneteles utan (viszonylag meredek lejto, laza kavicsos talaj - egy lepes elore, fel visszacsuszas) mar a Stella pontnal voltunk, kozvetlenul a csucs alatt. Itt hirtelen az ido is lehult, a feltamado szel jo 10 fokkal lenyomta a higanyszalat. A kulacsomban a viz 10 perc alatt kasas lett, majd szilardra fagyott...

A csucs reggel 5 korul ertunk, vaksotetben. Ugy tunt vezetonk kisse elnezte vagy az orat vagy az iramot, mindenesetre napkeltere kellett volna felernunk. Igy nem volt mit tenni, 45 percet alldogaltunk a hidegben, varva a napfelkeltet. Vegul nagy nehezen az is eljott! Megerte varni, a napfelkelte tenyleg csodas volt. Remelem a kepek 10%-ot visszaadnak az elmenybol. Innen mar csak egy jo 3 oras lemaszas volt hatra a taborba, ami joval nehezebb volt mint a felfele ut. Vegul 9-re ertunk vissza, pihentunk ket orat, aztan meg 3 ora az alaptaborba. MOndanom sem kell, a vegere elegge kimerultek voltunk.


nagy elmeny volt, a nyolc nap talan kisse tul hosszu, viszont igy nem volt baj a magassaggal. A legnehezebb resz talan az allando por es a tisztalkodasi lehetosegek hianya volt (WC sem), de ezt tul lehet elni (nem mondom a tegnap esti furdes KIRALY volt...). HA valakinek lehetosege van erdemes megcsinalni, az maszas viszonlag egyszeru, a 6000 meteres csucsok kozul ez az egyetlen amelyik technikai maszas nelkul elerheto (ami viszont azt is jelenti, hogy nagyon sokan vannak a hegyen).

Holnap kezdodik a 3-napos szafari (Ngorongoro krater, Manyara to, szerengeti), aztan 18-an indulunk vissza Dar-es-Salaamba, onnan pedig masnap Zanzibarba. Folyt kov.

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