The Ancient Historian

Ancient history, mountaineering, cycling and other outside adventures

Archive for the month “September, 2011”

Back from Kili

I’m back home now, safe and sound, after an amazing two weeks in Tanzania. A full report to follow shortly. Suffice it to say for now it was just a great trip, we all summitted, our IMG guide was superb, we ate well, saw a lot and experienced a great mountain. It was a privilege to climb with Alan Arnette, especially, but the whole of our group was great company all along the way. The safari in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater was really neat, and to think I was not going to do it at first. It turned out to be perfect after a long hard week on the mountain.

 

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An enhanced NASA image of Kili

This is a nice profile of the mountain, actually a stratovolcano (great word) with two of its three still “dormant”, and the tallest free-standing mountain on earth. We’re  going to the highest point in the image; it’s really getting time to go. I am now reading US Army studies of high altitude acclimatization!

Fun facts about Kilimanjaro

Kili is an interesting mountain, a series of three volcanoes in fact. As usual Summitpost provides a nice overview. It is one of the most prominent mountains in the world, that is, the rise from base to summit is pretty big, and no rest house on top. According to a list of prominent peaks in the world, it ranks 4th, behind Everest, Aconcagua and Denali (three of the other seven summits), at 5882 meters, dominating the entirety of East Africa. In other words, there is a whole lot of up in this climb. The Barancco wall looks like it will be a bit of fun:

 the great Barranco Wall...

4 days and counting..fast

As I write this, happily with power on, there is a driving rain shower outside. It has been a wet one in Connecticut this Summer. All the more reason to be pumped up about heading to Tanzania on Sunday, where I begin my journey up Kilimajaro. I am really looking forward to being there, and to meeting Alan Arnette, finally. I had hope to be doing long rides this week, but the rain is certainly preventing that. Perhaps some work on the trainer. For now, I have been packing my duffles-things fit nicely into two duffles; I’ve done my gear check list. Alan, as usual, has posted a great Kili gear check list.

The itinerary is as follows. I am climbing with IMG.

DAY 1 : Depart from JFK in the evening. Certainly will have my thoughts on 9/11 victims.

Day 2 : Arrive about 7:30 PM local time. Overnight in Moshi

Day 3: Pretty much a free day to chill out, shop, sit by the pool and de-jetlag

Day 4: Pack up, ride to Machame gate. Start the Machame route, about 27 miles. HIke up to 10K.

Day 5: Up up thru the “zone of weird plants” to the Shira plateau, about 12K.

Day 6: Up to 14, 5oo, then sleep at 13K, at Barancco.

Day 7: Barancco wall, some steep scrambling, overnight in Karanga Valley, about 13K.

Day 8: Up to high camp, Barafu, 15K.

Day 9: Summit day! A long, cold one up to Uhuru Peak 19, 340. Descend via Mweka.

Alan will have his SPOT tracking on, and since I plan to be following in his coat tails, so you can follow me along the way up.

I am doing this to support Alan’s “Memories are Everything campaign for Alzheimer’s research. Consider making a donation to it!

Thanks for reading.

Leaving for Kilimajaro in a week

I am still without power as I write this, the storm that blew through last weekend proved too much for the power company alas. Thank goodness, no damage in my town. Meanwhile, my thoughts turn almost full time to flying to Tanzania, to meeting Alan Arnette and joining him up Kilimanjaro. He posted a nice blog today on his site about the climb, so no need to repeat what he said there. Tanzania, for me, is the most ancient of places, the place, or one of them , where early man arose. Olduvai Gorge, the “cradle of man” is nearby, to the west of this ancient Volcano, and further West, the Serengeti plain, Lake Victoria, and the Lake district-the sources of the Nile. The real place imagined (in some cases more than imagined I think) by ancient Egyptians and historians like Herodotus who in the fifth century BC wrote extensively about the sources of the Nile river. Tanzania, and Kili, then, carry a lot of meaning, and deep historical memory, for me. I haven’t thought about this for a very long time, but one of my fondest memories as a kid growing up in Chicago was going to Brookfield zoo and taking the small train around the the perimeter. It felt to me like being on safari. And I remember saying that I wanted to do a safari in East Africa one day. That come snow as a bonus after the climb, when well spend three days in the Serengeti. All of that as background to climbing Kili, one of the most prominent peaks in the world. I am certain it will take my breath away when I first catch a glimpse of it, and it may well as we start to climb.

My final gear check will happen to tomorrow, I expect a last minute dash to REI. I am hoping to get a few long rides in, and then rest the last few days before departing for JFK early on the 11th.

I’ll post up our itinerary soon.

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