Ascent of Loolmalasin on 2016-01-12

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Greg Slayden -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Duane Gilliland
Pete Ellis
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
    Elevation:11969 ft / 3648 m

Ascent Trip Report

After our Mt Kenya ascent Greg and I take the late eve NBO / JRO flight back into Tanzania and overnight in Arusha, Ilboru Lodge.

Mon 11 Jan: To Ngorongoro
Joseph from Trekili collects us late am and drives us to Mto-wa-bu where we join Pete Ellis and Duane Gilliland who have been climbing 3 ultra summits in NW Tanzania and we catch up on each others doings. Their southernmost peak, Hanang has a long laborious ridge with two tops, total ascent 1800m, 24km 10hr round trip. Kitumbeine is 750m ascent from office/ranger post (2170m), 9km, 4hr RT. 50m bushwhack to summit. Gelai (worryingly) has buffalo near the summit and has a comms mast 20m from the top and a patch of the local stinging nettle Washawasha which is not popular with bare legged Masai guides! (Good track then 150m overgrown trail to summit). Ascent 1000m, 14km 6hr RT.

After a late lunch the four of us are driven by Landcruiser to Ngorongoro park. We are signed in at the entrance with plenty of time before the gates are locked at 6pm. We stop at the south rim for a fine view of the famous crater, with black dots representing some of the larger animals; wildebeest and Cape buffalo. Turning sharp R we make a brisk drive anticlockwise around the rim before crossing a large expanse of high grassland with Masai with their colourful robes, cattle and thatched round houses. Our home for two nights is Ninokonoka village (S3.02667° E35.68512°). I was expecting some kind of formal campsite but it's a collection of small chalets with grassy areas where our tents are set up: the same ones we used on Kilimanjaro but now we have just a team of two: Geoff the cook and Zubere the driver. It's a pleasant spot with a quite close view of our peak. Good meal and leisurely evening.

Tue 12: Loolmalasin
A grey morning but our peak is clear. We follow the good dirt road to Bulati village then the Landcruiser has to work a little harder to cross a gully and drive us across grassland to near the top edge of the village (S2.99842° E35.80423°, 2599m).

No armed ranger today, unlike Ian, Pauline and Richard's ascent last week. There seem to be no predators up here, although we've passed plenty of zebra as well as wildebeest and Thompson gazelle on the half hour drive.

0815, our young Masai guides Alex and Pascal lead the way, following a good track which skirts east around the mountainside. The whet-my-lips call of quail is commonly heard in the deeper grass; another bird familiar from home is stonechat. At S3.00821° E35.82669° we fork right on a good trail leading south up a dry valley, with nice woodland. Several times we cross columns of ants and a little time is spent removing the aggrieved insects from inside my clothing.

At S3.02948° E35.83099° we fork R again on a smaller reentrant (trail) through tussocky grassland, now above the treeline, with a few conglomerate outcrops. We take a steep line to gain the rocky northern foresummit. It would have been easier to have kept a little left on an gentler line - which is the route we took on the way down.

The final approach to the summit is on gentle flowery grassland, pleasant except that it starts raining. We're up in 4 hours and after a brief rainy picnic at the summit rockpile (S3.04883° E35.82069°, 3653m) we head down, keeping R of the rocky foresummit to pick up a small trail which rejoins our upward route, which we follow down, with the rain clearing away.

We're down at 1515, 7hr total. Zubere soon has us back at camp. Meanwhile two of the guys have managed to retrieve my camera which had fallen out of a pocket into the long-drop this morning. Good thing it's waterproof...

A lazy afternoon of chat and popcorn.

Wed 13: Ngorongoro crater
Next morning we enjoy a 3 hour game drive in the crater. It's mostly grassland with minimal tree cover so there are no giraffe, still less leopard. However plenty of wildebeest, buffalo, gazelle and zebra and a good variety of birds. Best is the roadside standoff between 5 lions and 3 elephant; also hippos and a single black rhino before we finally take the steep road out of the crater and head back to Arusha.

Tomorrow we plan to start our Mt Meru ascent.

Species noted over two days (hill, crater)
Golden jackal
Thompson's gazelle
Augur buzzard
Forget me not
Tropical boubou
Aginia abyssinica=lengai =mattress tree Engenipus=perfume (aromatic shrub)
(numerous other plants photographed)
Cape buffalo
Egyptian goose
Spur winged goose
Helmeted guineafowl
Abdim stork
Spotted Hyena
Cattle egret
Grant's gazelle
Crowned crane
Sacred ibis
Grey heron
Redbilled oxpecker
Blacksmith plover
Kori bustard
Lion (5)
Black kite
Black rhino
Malabou stork
Masai finch (blue n brown)
House sparrow
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3541 ft / 1079 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3541 ft / 1079 m
    Grade/Class:YDS 1/2
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
    Gear Used:
    Weather:Cool; rain at summit
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3508 ft / 1069 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 3442 ft / 1049 m; Extra: 66 ft / 20m
    Loss on way in:66 ft / 20 m
    Start Trailhead:Bulati  8527 ft / 2599 m
    Time:4 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3475 ft / 1059 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 3442 ft / 1049 m; Extra: 33 ft / 10m
    Gain on way out:33 ft / 10 m
    End Trailhead:Bulati  8527 ft / 2599 m
    Time:3 Hours 
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rob Woodall
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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