Berg Adventures on Pinterest
Berg Adventures on Pinterest
Berg Adventures on RSS Feed
Berg Adventures on Facebook
Berg Adventures on Facebook

Follow us:

Title image - BAI takes you to:  Kilimanjaro
Why climb with Berg Adventures

Kilimanjaro Expedition Dispatch

March 7, 2008 – Success over the Baranco Wall

Samaso treesThe seventh of March was a very challenging and a very successful day for this ‘climb for kids’ team. We awoke to clear skies at the Lava Tower camp at 14, 900 feet. There are giant lava rocks strewn all around the camp, it looks like a moon landscape. Also in the view of course, right above us are the big glaciers of Kibo. Yesterday afternoon we had a meeting because it is a midway point in our climb and needed to assess where we were and talked about the challenges ahead. I can fully say there were beautifies and excitement in the stomachs of everyone after this meeting. The challenges are big on this trip. I can see that this is a group with their hearts in the right place, and they are aware of all the support back home. They are defiantly up for this challenge.

Joel SmyeAcclimatization is always a big factor. A lot of people don’t understand that the mountain is very arbitrary on the challenges it presents to people with their acclimatization. This trip, Joel Smye has not been doing very well, so we monitored him closely with the pulse oximeter and we check his vitals regularly. He was not acclimatizing. Last night we watched him very closely and I new that we would be putting him on oxygen this morning, which we did. Now, with a low pulse oximeter reading and high heart rate, you know your body has not adapted and you need to go down. We always have oxygen on Berg Adventure’s  Kili climbs. We call it ‘the one way O2’. Once it is administer we know that the person has to go down, were they are going to be ok at lower elevations.

We started Joel down in the morning and he was moving rather slowly and was very weak, but he had 5 Berg staff members and a guide with him. We also organized a rescue below to support the decent of the team all of the way off of the mountain were Joel would recoup at a lower elevation and thicker air pressure. As it turned out, we where able to get a helicopter in from Nairobi. Joel and the guys were met, not too much further down the mountain from camp and transported to the Kilimanjaro International Airport where Nicholas and an ambulance and doctors were waiting. From there, after being examined by the doctors, Joel was cleared to head to the Arusha hotel. We talked to him several times on the phone, as well as all of the people supporting the evacuation. The doctors said Joel was fine at the lower elevation, but needed some antibiotics in case his lungs where going to be effect. Also, most importantly he needed some rest.

Mark Smye, Joel's uncleHe was at the Arusha hotel by 6:30. The rest of the team, as the day went on, were constantly checking asking me and the other guides what the reports were. They had plenty on their minds, as they moved through one of the most beautiful days of the trip. Diane described our walk down into the mist as we began descending towards the Baranco River, as ‘magical’. We were walking amongst giant Samaso trees. The atmosphere was very magical, mysterious and beautiful.

Then we arrived at the base of what was a big point speculation for the group, the great Baranco Wall. At this point the Berg Adventure guides pulled out climbing helmets and helped adjust them onto all of the members of the team. We then started slowly up the steep ledge trail that lead 800 feet above to the top of the Baranco wall. Now, I know that Jim is afraid of heights, Diane and others were not comfortable with steep terrain, but I am really proud of how everyone did. It is a long slow climb, beautiful but nice to have it behind us. Jim and Brenda told me later, that every step of the way they were just reciting their 6 granddaughters names over and over as they climbed the challenging wall.

We had rain after that as we continued along to our camp at the Karanga River. We arrived tired in the early evening, Mark called his nephew Joel back at the Arusha hotel, they had a good chat. The rest of us went to bed, after what turned out to be one of our best meals. We got a fresh re-supply from the valley and enjoyed pork chops, nice fresh carrots, and roasted potatoes... [ lost transmission ]