Ascent of Kilimanjaro on 2013-01-07

Climber: Paul Barish

Date:Monday, January 7, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Elevation:19341 ft / 5895 m

Ascent Trip Report

On January 1st 2013 we landed in Nairobi, Kenya and spent the night there. The next day we drove to Moshi, Tanzania which is about 7 hours away. We spent the night in Moshi and left for the Machame Gate at the base of the Machame route at 6000 feet after picking up our porters around town. It wasn’t until about 2pm before we could leave because since we were on "Africa time" our gear got there late. It was raining hard and we just watched the monkeys as we waited to begin the trek to Camp One at the Machame Huts. When we finally left the rain had lightened up a lot. We walked up the four wheel drive road for a little while and then broke off onto the trail. We hiked through the dense forest trail and you could see the scenery change every thousand feet or so in elevation that we went up. The rain eventually stopped and as we got higher we could look through the trees and see a small part of Africa's endless jungles. At some points we could see waterfalls and animals. By 6:30pm all of the members of our group were at Camp One at 10000 feet with beautiful views of Shira (a sub summit of Uhuru Peak)and Uhuru Peak (Mt. Kilimanjaro). By the time it was time to eat we were all starving so we sat down in the dining tent and ate several bowls of soup each. As we were getting ready to leave the tent the cook brought in a huge pot of curry vegetables and shortly after that a huge platter of slaw, French fries and fried fish. We knew from then on we were going to eat very well! The next day we began hiking at about 9am after watching porters divvy up gear to carry. We hiked extremely slowly to conserve our energy and enjoyed the views. The trees got sparser and more exotic looking. For most of the hike that day we were on a long and winding ridge. At about 11am the fog started to move in so quickly we could see it. We stopped many times to eat and drink and some of the members of the group were feeling the altitude and fatigue. Eventually the trail got much narrower and had some class 3 obstacles that were easily overcome. Around those class 3 moves there were several small waterfalls due to it being the very tail end of the wet season and all the snow melting on the upper mountain. With the fog and the waterfalls it was quite serine. It was about 4pm before everyone in our group arrived at Shira Camp at 12500 feet. At the edge of camp you could see the beautiful sunset behind Shira and Mt. Meru. It was at this time that one of the members in our group decided that he was not going to climb any higher and that he would go down the next day because of the altitude, I think he had a bad reaction to Diamox but I can’t prove it. Then, after another delicious meal we got in our tents and went to sleep. The next morning the rest of us knew we had a long and very instrumental day for the climb ahead of us. There were no more trees as we hiked on the trail with the Lava Towers at 15100 feet as our goal to acclimatize. Within our groups we were moving at different speeds and the faster of us took our lunch break about 200 feet below the towers but we made it there. That was the highest I had ever been and I felt great. I was hydrating constantly and kept a good consistent pace. I didn’t have a headache yet but I could slightly feel the altitude in my head. We had a long and beautiful descent to our camp 3 at 13000 feet called Baranco Camp which was named after the next days big obstacle, the Baranco Wall. After we got back to Baranco Camp I started to get a headache, it wasn’t a terrible headache but it was enough that I decided to take an hour long nap since we arrived long before the rest of the group. After my nap I felt back to 100 percent for dinner. The next day we began the hike by descending a little into a river bed before we went back up the Baranco Wall. The Baranco Wall is a prominent rock wall with a trail going over it, it has a good amount of class 3 sections and a few class 4 moves. It was one of the most exhilarating hiking experiences that I had on Kilimanjaro. The daily fog moved in shortly after we got to the top of the wall. From there we hiked a long distance with a series of steep and gradual ups and downs to a rest point called Karanga Camp where we would have lunch and then continue up to our last camp. Most groups stay the night at Karanga Camp but we skipped it so we could have an extra day in case of any bad weather. Just before we arrived at Karanga Camp there was a huge gorge that we needed to pass through so we hiked all the way down into it probably around 1000 feet and then back out on the other side to Karanga Camp. We ate lunch and I found out that another member of our group was turning back at Karanga Camp due to pain in a pre-existing injury and altitude. Karanga Camp was at 13500 feet above sea level. We left there and continued up the trail in the dense fog. There were huge cairins on the sides of the trail from 10 foot tall to just a few rocks in a pile. We navigated through that and eventually got to Barafu Camp at 15000 feet. This time when I was at 15000 feet I felt 100 percent normal and even strong. After we got situated in camp we talked about the plan, the slower of the group would leave for the summit at 10:30pm that night and the rest of us would leave shortly after midnight. We all ate dinner and got what sleep we could before the summit. I got up and was on the trail by 12:30 following a train of headlamps that I could see leading up towards the top. The higher we hiked the more excited I got, every step was higher than I had ever been before. I waited for the headache and mental fatigue to come but the only thing that happened to me was breathing a little harder than normal while hiking. I felt fantastic and was thrilled to finally be going to the summit. We met up with the other group just below Stella Point which is at the beginning of the crater. We all continued on to the summit at around 6am as the sun was rising. We all took pictures and soaked in the glorious place that we were. Some people got extremely sick and went down right after they got up. I took some video and then took some time to myself to think. After that I descended with a few others, we passed the people who descended early and then somehow we broke up and I was hiking down by myself. On the way down I had to stop several times to rest my ankles that hurt from previous injuries. I finally arrived back at Barafu Camp around 9 am and took a nap for a little while. At about 12 we all began to descend down to 9800 feet for our last camp. We descended for hours through a dried up river bed on the Maweka route. We arrive at Maweka Camp exhausted after climbing 4000 feet and descending more than 9000 feet. The next day we hiked down to the Maweka Gate. We celebrated with a Kilimanjaro beer and hung out with the porters. After everyone was down they cooked a delicious meal of pasta and assorted fruits with cold beverages. After a few rounds of hacky sack we donated some of our gear and leftover food to the porters as well as paid them for their work. Shortly after we got on a bus and drove back to Moshi to continue our celebration and begin the next part of our Africa adventure!
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Open Country, Stream Ford, Snow on Ground, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Guide, Porters, Tent Camp
Ascent Statistics
Descent Statistics

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