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Pole pole

POLE POLE- Kil­i­man­jaro climb August 2014

Writ­ten by: Ben Mal­i­ty (trip leader)

This was the last trip of the sea­son and all six clients made to the top. The group arrived on the 9th August 2014 but in two sep­a­rate flights. George with his kids arrived from Nairo­bi while the oth­er three arrived with KLM. First night at our pri­vate camp was very spe­cial place to be. Dri­ving in dark­ness from the air­port, Michael said, Ben, what are we going to see?” Noth­ing!” I answered in a jok­ing way. It is very dark but we could see some lights in the vil­lages and in the park before camp, we saw a water­buck and three rab­bits. So per­haps I was wrong as we did see something!

The morn­ing of the 10th the group were intro­duced to each oth­er and met prop­er­ly. The sounds of ani­mals dur­ing the night and to be able to see them in the day time was amaz­ing. As the Trip Leader, I did the trip brief­ing and it seemed like every­one felt hap­py to be with such knowl­edge­able guides. The best part of the brief­ing was explain­ing the his­to­ry of the Tan­za­nia that lots of peo­ple do not know, clients are always hap­py to hear more about my beau­ti­ful coun­try. The group also learned some of the Kiswahili words that we could use along the trail.

The group had a chance to hike to the water­falls to the base of Mount Meru. Not only did we dis­cuss the his­to­ry of the water­falls but they learned a lot about the tribe that live near that moun­tain (Meru tribe). If that was not enough we then had sundowner’s which was out­stand­ing because we had troop of baboons in every angle very close to us and the cape buf­faloes on the oth­er side. Michael said, what a spec­tac­u­lar day!” 

Climb­ing Kil­i­man­jaro from day one was very nice as you learn a lot from the guides and porters. Most porters did not speak Eng­lish but you could tell that they were hap­py work­ing with Moun­tain Mad­ness. Hik­ing in the Mon­tane For­est was all the time good to hear and see mon­keys and birds. It was so nice to see ani­mal tracks at Shi­ra plateau. These were tracks of elands, cape buf­faloes, jack­als and moun­tain duiker.

The west­ern breach was the best part of the climb as you see the best part of the moun­tain. The rock for­ma­tion and the land­scape below were amaz­ing. It was the best way to get to the sum­mit and the group liked it after they saw peo­ple from the oth­er side of the moun­tain the way they looked like.

The ash pit or Reauch Crater was an amaz­ing place to go. The group want­ed to go there but felt lazy after sleep­ing and decid­ed to go around the glac­i­ers for nice pic­tures. That was not a prob­lem at all because I decid­ed to go by myself. I went all the way up and down to the sec­ond rim of that inner crater. I was hap­py to see the sul­phur that was wet and you could see the smoke out of the sul­phur. It was an excel­lent place to see though it fumed sul­phur so you have to be care­ful not to be there too long oth­er­wise you will get a slight headache. I was tempt­ed to walk to the third inner crater but was scared because I was alone and it was very cloudy part of the time. I wish the rest of the clients had decid­ed to come with me! It is the place that very few peo­ple get the chance to see. Come with Moun­tain Mad­ness and you will be able to go there and see.

The Furt­wan­gler Glac­i­er near our camp is melt­ing quick­ly. It was sad to see how it gets small­er every time I go there. I hope more peo­ple will come to see that before it disappears.

Crater Camp was cold but the hot water bot­tles that were giv­en to the clients made the big dif­fer­ence. All slept well and sum­mit quick­ly on the fol­low­ing day. Peo­ple who start­ed from the oth­er routes at mid­night did not look good at all. They were tired and froze the whole night while we had a short climb to the sum­mit (1 hour). The suc­cess rate was 100% because of the route we took plus the knowl­edge of the guides. Pole pole” means slow­ly in Kiswahili is the key of suc­cess on the moun­tain. The group had two youngest ones, Thomas (14yrs) and Nico­la (15yrs) and all made to the top of Kil­i­man­jaro (19,340ft). For sure it was a strong group and am hap­py that all made to the top.