Ascent of Kilimanjaro on 1995-06-21

Climber: Brian Friedrich

Others in Party:Simon Schosser
Date:Wednesday, June 21, 1995
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
    Elevation:5895 m / 19341 ft

Ascent Trip Report

Summit day. The actual route on the main mountain mass begins as an easy-angled scree and sand track. We move very, very slowly. Ahead of us we see numerous headlights wavering ever upwards and then the odd light or so heading back down. The path soon begins to switchback significantly (about 20m across with what feels like a 2-3m elevation gain) as the angle steepens. This process is fantastically exhausting--both mentally and physically. Between 5050 and 5100m the exersion becomes almost unbearable--this is the mental crux of the route. Our rest periods are about one every 15-20 minutes (but lasting only 2-3 minutes each due primarily to the cold). I must continually remind myself that although the slope of loose rock seems unending, it is not. At about 5550m I pass through a mental barrier and for the first time in hours agony yields as the sky brightens ever so slightly on the eastern horizon and Gilman’s Point (the first point reached on the crater rim) looms just above. We reach Gilman’s, 5685m, about two minutes before the sun gently lifts itself above the sea of clouds that lap against the mountain 3500m below our feet (0620)--it is perfect timing. We spend about 15 minutes here and then turning around see the true summit 150m higher and almost 1.5km away--it’s time to move once more. The route takes us around the crater rim past or over several pinnacles toward the large Rebmann and Wedge Glaciers. I have never before seen such odd ice formations and the view of Mawenzi at our backs can only be described as surreal--it looks like a medieval castle shrouded in morning fog. The altitude has slowed the pace still further. After nearly 2 hours of walking and, at times, considerable discomfort we arrive at our destination--Uhuru Peak.

Note: At the time, hiring a guide and porters was mandatory to ascend the mountain. We paid the porters off (simply paid them for their services in advance) so they would not accompany us, but with the guide there was no choice. Turned out that he was a friendly fellow and a good travel companion in any case.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:4025 m / 13205 ft
    Trailhead:Marangu Gate  1870 m / 6136 ft
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Guide, Hut Camp
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:4 Days 
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:36 Hours 

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