Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Africa - itinerary, Kilimanjaro climb info

Just a general itinerary for my 3 week expedition:

Dec 23 - 24 - Fly: Houston - Newark - London - Arrive Nairobi around 9:30pm, overnight
Dec 25 - Shuttle from Nairobi, border crossing to Tanzania, on to Moshi, Tanzania ("base camp" for the Kilimanjaro trek)
Dec 26 - meeting with the Kili group, transferring the porter project duffel
Dec 27 to Jan 2 - hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro, hoping to summit on New Years Day.
Jan 3 to Jan 8 - camping safari to the Ngorongoro Crater (Tanzania)
Jan 8 - Jan 10? - beaching it on Zanzibar
Jan 11 - transit back to Nairobi
Jan 12 - 13 - flying back home: Nairobi - London - Newark - Houston

I'm doing the Kilimanjaro climb and Ngorongoro Crater safari through BootsnAll and  I'm on the boots boards all the time, with my some 2000 posts.  This trip idea came up sometime in the beginning of the year, and I was like..hmmmm..heck yeah, I'd do it!!!  I've been planning for this trip for about 6 months now, stocking up my paychecks to pay for the trip, hiking and rock climbing to keep in shape...and now it's right around the corner.  So hard to believe.

I'm still not ready mentally for the Kili hike.  It's just one of those things that...well, there's only so much preparation you can do while living at about 500 ft in altitude!!!

To give you an idea, here's the Kilimanjaro hike details for the Machame route:

Day 1: Machame Gate to Machame Hut (9,300’)

Hike time: 7.5 hrs, Elevation change: 1200 M 
Estimated distance: 10km, Final elevation: 3100 M

Early pick-up at hotel and a hour drive to Machame gate (5,400’) where trekking formalities take about 30 minutes. From the gate, we begin our trek following an easy track for the first hour through the dense forest. The path continues to follow the ridge, rising steadily with several steep sections. The gradient eases slightly as the forest merges into heather covered ground we will reach Machame Hut in 10 km (6.2 miles) after a 1,200-meter (3,936’) ascent and 5-7 hours of walking.

Day 2: Machame Hut to Shira Hut (12,300’)

Hike time: 7 hrs, Elevation change: 800 M  
Estimated distance: 6km, Final elevation: 3800 M

From the Machame Hut we cross the stream onto its west bank and follow the path up the steep rocky ridge crises-crossing a few times before reaching Shira Hut at the base of a semi-circular wall of rocks. We will have ascended 900 meters (3,000’) in 5-7 hours and about 6 km (3.72 miles) of walking.

Day 3: Shira Hut to Barranco Hut (12,800’)

Hike time: 5 hrs, Elevation change: 100 M  
Estimated distance: ?, Final elevation: 3900 M

From Shira Hut hike to Lava Tower (15,000’) and then proceed to Barranco via the Great Barranco Wall. This route offers panoramic views of Kibo through Karanga Valley as we hike high and sleep low, dropping back down to Barranco after lunch. Today’s hike will take most of the day Barranco campsite located on elevation of 3950m.

Day 4: Barranco Hut to Karanga Valley (14,800’)

Hike time: 3.5 hrs, Elevation change: 100 M  
Estimated distance: 4km, Maximum elevation: 4590 M 
Final elevation: 4000 M

From Barranco Hut we climb up through the edge of great Barranco 95percentage of that day walking will be on elevation of 4250m. We will break our day at Karanga valley campsite at elevation of 4,000m walking time is 4 to 5 hrs on this day.

Day 5: Karanga Valley to Barafu Hut (4,600m)

Hike time: 3.5 hrs, Elevation change: 600 M  
Estimated distance: 4km, Final elevation: 4600 M  
Today involves gaining a little more elevation, acclimatizing and resting for the summit attempt the next morning. This day will take us 4 to 6 hrs of walking.

Day 6: High Camp to the Summit and then Mweka Camp (10,500’)


Summit time: 7 hrs, Elevation change: 1300 M  
Estimated distance: 5km, Final elevation: 5895 M  
Descent time: 5 hrs, Elevation change: -2800M  
Estimated distance: 12km, Final elevation: 3100 M  
We will start trekking early before sunrise (1-2 am) as the walk today will take 10-14 hours. We will avoid the mist that sets in later in the day; the scree and snow will still be safely frozen. The 1,100-meter (3,600’) ascent in just over 3 km (1.86 miles) will take us about 6-8 hours. After a brief stay at the summit of the highest point in Africa, Uhuru Peak, at over 5,898 meters (19,340'), we descend via the Barafu Route roughly 2,500 meters (8,200’) in 12 km (7.44 miles) in about 4-7 hours to Mweka Camp.

Day 7: Mweka Hut to Mweka Gate (6,000’)

Descent time: 4 hrs, Elevation change: -1250M  
Estimated distance: 10km, Final elevation: 1828 M  
Today we descend about 1400 meters (4,592’) through the forest on a jungle path for about 10 km (6.2 miles) in 3-4 hours to reach Mweka Gate. We have a big party at the end, with food and drinks with the whole crew.

Now, you probably think I'm crazy.  Sometimes I think the same :p  If I *die* on this trip, it'll for sure be on Day 6 of the hike.  Hopefully that won't happen ;)'

I seriously can't believe it's just a few days ahead of me, an expedition of a lifetime.  At least in my lifetime, that is.  Oh gawd, I'm so not ready...


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