February 15 Climbing Through the Clouds
It’s a very sunny morning on February 15th and I’m calling you from the Karanga Camp. Kibo, the main summit of Kilimanjaro, with its glaciers coming down rises above us. It is a beautiful scene. All 43 members look really fresh and rested today, you can tell from those dispatches, yesterday was a big day but everybody looks great. As usual teams came in far apart. There is one thing you need to understand, this is a group of small teams with their own support within the support of a larger community. As we trek across Kilimanjaro at high altitude and prepare to climb higher we all go at our own pace. Everyone goes at their own pace within the larger community and that is what gives us success.
A lot of us came in after dark last night and it was amazingly beautiful in the clear night to look down at the lights of the city of Moshi. Someone said to one of the guides, "I live in Prince George, British Columbia and there are a 100,000 people there, how big is that city?" and the guide just laughed and said it’s much bigger, 4 times bigger at 400,000. It reminded me how little most people back home understand Tanzania and Kilimanjaro.
A lot of people think there are giraffes in the Serengeti up to the base of mountain and actually we will go to those great wild parks, Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire on our safari and see the wildlife in those great places. But here at the mountain it’s about the farming communities at the base of the mountain, the city of Moshi and the culture of the Chagga people. And here far above that it’s as if we are looking down from an airplane to see the city below, really an inspiring scene last night.
Today we’re moving higher as you know and Doc and part of the team are establishing the Millennium Camp which is down just a short distance from where I am standing now. That is down where the Park Wardens are, and that will be for the next three nights our base and support camp. But everyone else, all 43 members of the team at this point are moving higher to the Berg Adventures Camp on the mountain. Our dreams reach even higher to the summit of Kilimanjaro. We’ll give you a report as we move up.
Later in the Day...
It’s about 6pm on February 15th and I’m calling you from a really amazing place. We are about 15,800 feet (4815m) and just above the Barafu Camp, a really beautiful flat area. The sun is setting. We climbed through the clouds most of the day but now it’s very clear and I’m looking at an amazing place.
Just above us, at 1000 meters (3,300ft) or so I see where a big huge glacier meets the level rock ridge that is the crater rim of Kilimanjaro. At 19,000 feet (5790m) that is Stella Point. We are going to cross Stella Point tomorrow and we’ll literally be on Kilimanjaro, not Uhura Point (Freedom Point) which is the very highest peak but we’ll be on top of the volcano on Kilimanjaro and we plan to descend down into it to sleep. Crossing Stella Point tomorrow, that’s our goal!
We have people in both camps. Down at Millennium Camp I just spoke with them on the radio and Cherry and Sheena are down there with Doc. Not feeling the greatest about how the day was going and having some problems with acclimatization they went down to play it safe with Doc. They are still part of the team and I got to tell you that the trip they’ve made and the effort they put into it, the accomplishment those two have is really, really impressive and we are very proud of them.
Now up here there are still 41 of us that are planning to climb higher. We’re watching one another. Hodson is about to serve us dinner and we are going to go to bed early and tomorrow in the daylight we’ll be climbing up to the top of the volcano of Kilimanjaro and going down into the crater to get some rest. One more nights sleep before we climb to Uhuru, the very, very top the next day. We’ll all see how we do, it’s wide open for how high we go and when we get there. But don’t worry we’re together and taking care of ourselves. Cherry and Sheena are still part of the team and we’ll talk to them regularly. We’ll keep reporting to you tomorrow as we move higher.
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