Kilimanjaro Facts

Height - 19340 ft / 5895 m
First Ascent - 5 October 1889
Location - Tanzania, Africa
Annual Visitors - approx. 15,000
% Successful Summits - about 40%

Friday, March 12, 2010

Photos at last!

Here are several links to our photos:

Chuck's photos (Jalbum)
Kellie's photos (Snapfish)
Mike's climb photos (Picasa)
Mike's safari photos (Picasa)
Jim's photos (Picasa)
Ted's photos (Picasa)
Lisa's photos (Picasa)
Jon's photos

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

home at last

60 hours after being dropped off at the Kilimanjaro airport we finally arrived at PDX Tuesday evening. What a great adventure! Thanks to everyone for making it such a memorable experience.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

55 hours later we're in Atlanta on the plane to Portland. We finally got a break with a mostly empty plane. Pinch me. Is it really almost over?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Escaped from Tanzania. In Amsterdam. Booked to Portland via Atlanta. Arrive Delta 1287 Tues evening.
Back at JRO. It's a zoo with 2 flights going out. We all have tickets 2 AMS bags 2 PDX. Once in AMS we'll figure out the next step.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

stuck in Tanzania

OK here's the scoop... the inbound flight to JRO slammed into the runway too hard and set off a whole bunch of onboard alarms. As a result they need to inspect the entire plane for damage and make repairs. JRO is primitive at best (looses power frequently) so the pilot called off the inspection until daylight (they were using flashlights).

Since there's basically one plane out per night everyone left after we boarded. It took a while to recall groundcrew and customs agents to let us unload. Even longer to get buses from Arusha (1 hour away) at 3am. They wouldn't let us spent the night at airport due to malaria risk from mosqituoes so pushed us all into the parking lot where we waited for 2 hours with the mosqitues to be ferried to several hotels.

In the process Kellie's duffle flew off the top of the bus and is now in the hands of someone else. Spent a couple hours arguing with bus driver that he didn't tie it down properly and get him to go back and look - no luck. Stuff happens, but KLM dropped the ball on communication. No announcement were made; everything is second hand information. The latest rumor (at least printed at the hotel lobby) is we're being kicked out of our rooms at 4pm, shuttled at 5pm and then maybe the plane leaves at 9-10pm to Amsterdam. From there it's up in the air how we get home but KLM is working on that.

I guess we needed more adventure. Everyone made it up Kili, we spotted the Big 5 and no one was ate by lions. A delay, lost luggage and African craziness is in order... Lisa made it out on a different flight and is probably on her way to Portland now. Ed and Ben are still here for another week. So Kellie, Linda, Dona, Jane, Mike, Ted and myself are here in limbo. Everyone is safe (minus lost duffle) and in good spirits. I have my phone charging and will try to update the blog when we get moving again.
Bad news. After 2 hours trying 2 fix plane they r kicking us off 2 spend the night somewhere. No idea when we'll be home.
Glad we found out how deadly the black mamba is after camping 4 2 weeks. Boarding the plane home. It's been a wonderful trip and we've all had a good time.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Last day in Africa. Plane leaves in 14ish hours. Making our way back to airport. Going 2 c snake pits and stop at markets along the way.
Finished with safari. Saw the big 5; elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, rhino, and much more. Have plenty of photos to post once I'm home. Last night in Africa.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Twice last night we heard lions trying 2 cull a Mazama from the herd. Woke up this morning with all accounted 4. Heading back 2 Ngorongoro 2day.
Back from evening drive. Saw more hippos soaking, 2 impala locking horns, baboons, monkeys, lots of birds and a lone lioness 2 miles from camp.
Spent the morning looking 4 game. Saw numerous hippos in ponds, cape buffalo grazing and a pride of lions resting 20' off the road.
Spent the morning looking 4 non migratory game. Saw numerous hippo in ponds, cape buffalo grazing and a pride of lions resting 20' off the road.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Passed through Ngorongoro on our way to Serenieti. Drove through thousands of wilderbeast zebra n gazelle. Herds as far as the eye can see!
Ate hornbill 4 breakfast with Hadza. Kellie had more marriage proposales. 2 hour African Massage aka washed out bumpy road back 2 paved road. Now at Ngorongoro.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Yesterday visited two Datoga tribe families. One herds like Masai the other works metal. Had a bbq last night. Up early 2 join the Hadaze while they hunt.
Had to trade Mike's pants for a goat at a nearby Masai village so we could have something to eat tonight.
Where in the world is Chuck? I have no idea but our coordinates are S 3 deg 30.660 min E 35 deg 22.301 min. Comment with a link 2 google maps if u figure out.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tues toured Tarangire national park. Saw elephants giraffes impala and lots of colorful east african birds. Going 2 c the Hazabe today.

Monday, February 22, 2010

We're off Kili and back at the hotel in Moshi. Getting cleaned and packed for a 6 day safari tour. Halfway through a perfect trip.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

All 13 successfully summitted. Perfect climb. Partly cloudy no wind. Descending worlds longest scree slope 10100 feet.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Scrambled 2 the top of lava tower then moved 2 arrow camp in the rain. Waiting out the storm again. If pattern holds should have clear skies tonight.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hiked to Arrow Glacier @ 16200 this morning. Saw the route through the Western Breech. Another rainstorm this afternoon, not as bad as yesterday so far.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

E-mail errors

Sounds like some of my messages are not getting delivered in full. If something doesn't make sense or seem in context, or if it refers to a photo that isn't there, or if it ends without my signature, assume that is the case. Sorry, can't be helped.

We were hit by an intense storm this afternoon, with hail, rain and lightening. We are coping now with 6" of melting hail in our camp. Not sure yet if our summit try on Saturday will be effected, but we all hope for a sunny morning tomorrow to dry us out.

More news tomorrow. Maybe.


Sent from my I-Phone...

Jim Ronning
Storm mostly over. Digging out now. Camp coming back to life. Felt like I was home in portland it was coming down so hard.
Storm subsiding. 3 in hail in 1 hour. Too heavy to talk in tents Lighting strikes all over the place. Rain sleet now. Hunkering down. Insane!
Just arrived at Lava Tower Camp 15200. Sunny n warm. Several groups here. Had lunch. Then got hammered by hail thunder n lighting.
At 14600 where the Machame route joins. Higher than Rainier. Alpine desert now. Kili is in n out of clouds. Up up we go.

Thursday, 18 FEB, 2010

We arrived here at Lava Tower Camp, at 15,100', about 1330 hrs. after a five hour walk through the Alpine Desert climate zone of Kibo. As you can see, the weather is good, but we have snow less than 1000' above us.

We will remain here for about 36 hours, sleeping twice, and spending our daylight hours acclimatizing by hiking, climbing Lava Tower, and bouldering.

We hope to have good cell service while we are here, so expect photos and updates to the blog site. Meanwhile, everyone seems to be doing quite well. Judging from the lunch of fish, chicken, noodle soup, and cheese sanwiches we all wolfed down like jackals, appetites are good.

Until next, kwaheri.

Sent from my I-Phone...

Jim Ronning

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Kellie, Esiah, Chuck did a short exercise hike to Moir Hut hitting 13750. Nobody there. Small rainstorm on the way back n at camp.

Shira 2 camp, 12,600'

Sent from my I-Phone...

Jim Ronning

Wednesday, 17 FEB, Shira 2 camp

Arrived here at mid day, 12,600' elevation. Raining lightly, but everyone doing well. Can anyone Google Kili weather and post a forecast to the blog site for us? Cell service is so spotty we haven't been able to get one, but we are camped next to a weather data collection site. More as conditions allow.


Sent from my I-Phone...

Jim Ronning


View of Kilimanjaro from Shira Camp, at 11,300'

We arrived here today at 1530, after a seven hour trek from Big Tree Camp. Weather has been favorable, and the group seems to be traveling and acclimatizing well. The route today was consistently uphill, traversing through rain forest, which gradually transitioned to dryer pines, and then, abruptly, changed to moorland as we entered a new climatic zone, characterized by tall, heather-like shrubs. Here on the Shira Plateau, the vegetation consists mainly of sparse and low growing sub-alpine species, such as heather.

Thunder accompanied our arrival at Shira Camp, but the rain held off and gradually the clouds cleared away to offer us this view of our objective, still four days away.

Cell service should be more reliable from now on, and I will try to post updates at the end of each day. I have also started to post simultaneously to the blog site, so check there for photos and updates as well.

Sent from my I-Phone...

Jim Ronning
Just rolled into Shira 2 at 12800. Change in plans. Not going 2 Moir Hut. Go 2 Lava Tower tomorrow. Weather station here. Google 4 link n post.
At Shira 1 dust bowl. First views of Kili. Long day 4 Donovan n Chuck who did the 1st day again 2 get GPS track. Missed seeing elephants @ trailhead by 20min.
Just rolled into Shira 2 at 12800. Change in plans not going 2 M hut. Lava tower tomorrow. Weather station here. Google it to see.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In n out of service. Messages sent might be not in order. All is well. Almost to shira 1 camp.

Tuesday, 16 FEB

11,350' on Lemoshu route, higher than Hood and hot as hell. Cell phone service very spotty, check blog site for photos. Gotta go...

Freddie says "twende!" (let's go!)

Sent from my I-Phone...

Jim Ronning
At Mti Mkuewa camp at 9200 ft camping in style. Serious offroading 2 get to trailhead. Saw 2 monkeys on trail. Great 2 b out of the heat.

Mess tent at Big Tree Camp, 9000'

Sent from my I-Phone...

Jim Ronning

On the trail to Shira Point

Sent from my I-Phone...

Jim Ronning
Aasgard Summit Mgmt. Svcs.
T: 503.201.5030
F: 503.538.6210
CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This electronic mail transmission and any accompanying attachments contain information belonging to the sender which may be confidential and legally privileged. This information is intended only for the use of the individual or entity to whom this electronic mail transmission was sent as indicated above. If you are not the intended recipient, any disclosure, copying, distribution, or action taken in reliance on the contents of the information contained in this transmission is strictly prohibited. If you have received this transmission in error, please notify the sender immediately and destroy all copies of this transmission and all attachments. Thank you.

Big Tree Camp, 9000' on Lemoshu route

Sent from my I-Phone...

Jim Ronning

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Last group arrived safe so we are all here. Visited a remote Masai village on Sat. Sun we go hiking in the foothills. Everyone having a great time.

speed post

At an internet cafe making a quick update so sorry for typos...

Everyone is here and having a good time. We leave for the mountain tomorrow morning. I'll continue to post short updates as long as I have battery life and a signal. With any luck there will be a summit photo next Sunday. Anyway, here's a quick summary of the last 3 days...


Linda, Kellie, Ted, Donovan and I spent the morning and early afternoon exploring Moshi. We started at the Sokoni (market) downtown. It was a vibrant collection of colorful vegetables, fruits, grains, meat and fish. Everyone was dressed in the tradional colorful African clothing which help make it an overload of colors. Truly amazing to see. We did snap a few photos which I post when I get a chance. We then had lunch at a local Indian owned hotel where I tried Ugani (like polentia but white). That afternoon we drove up to the foothills of Kili and explored a village (Fukenia) near where Donovan lived. Very lush with an amazing diversity of plants, trees, flowers (phots will be posted. That night we had drinks on the roof top bar of a downtown hotel (Kindoroko) hoping for views of Kili which was in the clouds. Then pizza at and Indian owned Italian restaurant. Indians came to Tanzania to help build the railroad and later stayed on as business owners. That night Lisa, Donna, Jane, Jim, Jon, Mike joined us.


This morning we were offered our first cloud free view of kili as we ate breakfast at the hotel. We started by exploring another sokoni near the hotel. This was an outdoor one similar to a Sat market in Portland but much bigger and with a larger variety. We then crammed onto a dalla dalla (bush taxi) to drive out to a very remote Masai villege (see link to the rigth about the Masai). They rarely see Westerns if at all and they were as curious about us as we were about them. Things eventually warmed and they were eager to show us around the villege, a collection of a few very primitve buildings and the corals they keep their livestock in. We handed out school supplies to the childern who were so excited. When we would take a photo they were so curious to see what the camera did and what the photo looked like. By the end of an hour we had half the villege following us aound. Kellie was of special interest with long blonde hair and had many Masai suitors.


We headed back up to the foothills where Donovan had lived. We saw the house where he lived and offered a hostel type enivornment to travelers. We then hiked around foothils for about 2-3 hours seeing many Chagga (see link to the right), touring a school a church and several homes. Tonight we'll have our preclimb meeting and check out equipment. Tomorrow we head off the Londorossi Gate to start the climb.

That it's for now, gotta go...
jw.. jw... (up up up)

Friday, February 12, 2010

1am Sat. Group 2 just arrived safe. Ed and Ben arrive tomorrow. The 5 of us already here explored Moshi and a small village in the foothills of Kili.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Long trip. All safe with luggage. Excited. Tired. Heading the hotel.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Area Map

Here is an area map from Google of where we will be. Kilimanjaro is marked with the red pin. The town of Moshi where the airport and hotel are located is just to the south. Serengeti National Park and Ngorogoro Conservation Area where we will be on safari are to the west.

Almost time...

It's almost time to go, less than 24 hours before I catch my plane so I figured I'd make a final post from home. Donovan is already in Tanzania and reports that the weather in Moshi is hot - 80 degrees and sunny. While in Moshi we will be staying at the Keys Hotel Mbokomu. It has Internet services so I should be able to make a few more blog posts once I arrive.

My search for a way to recharge my cell phone without plugging into something has turned up fruitless. In the past I've used a AA battery pack from Energizer that could recharge cell phones and MP3 players. Unfortunately I've changed my phone since then requiring a different plug and no one seems to carry these any more. As such, my ability to make posts while on the mountain and on safari will be limited by how long my battery lasts. I hope that by leaving the hotel with a fully charged battery and making sparing use of my phone I can stretch the battery life the whole trip.

With that in mind I want to emphasize that no news is good news. If there are no posts it could be because I have no service, a dead battery or I'm too busy having fun to make a post.

Anyway, I'm almost packed, super excited about this trip and can't wait to get started on my next adventure!

P.S. I added a photo gallery to the left. Right now it just has some "teaser photos" from previous Embark Adventures expeditions. I'll try to add some of our photos as technology allows.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A couple of videos...

Here are a couple of videos produced by Embark Adventures that give a good idea of what we'll be doing. The first is the actual climb through the Western Breach and the second is the safari.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro: A conversation with Mark Curran
The Thrill of Safari: A conversation with John Leary


Welcome to my blog for the Mazama Kilimanjaro 2010 Outing. This is a 13 member Mazama Outing to summit Kilimanjaro via the Lemosho/Western Breach route. The team is being led by Mazama and former Tanzanian resident, Donovan Pacholl and his company Embark Adventures.

Four of us will begin our adventure next week on Feb 10th as we fly to Moshi, Tanzania. The rest of the group will arrive over the next few days while we adjust to the time change and explore the local culture. We will begin our climb on Feb 15th and with luck we'll all be standing at 19,340 feet on the summit on Sunday, February 21st. After the climb and a night of celebration back in Moshi, most of us will be going on a six day safari to Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater. We'll be viewing and camping among the wildlife, returning to Moshi for our flight home on Feb 28th.

My plan is to update this blog with frequent text updates and perhaps some photos while we are on our expedition. Until the action begins, I've populated this site with some information about Kilimanjaro and Tanzania. To the left you will find links to our expedition itinerary, dispatches from Embark and other guide services, a weather link and some teaser photos. A great starting point is NOVA's Volcano Above the Clouds. It is a 53 minute video you can watch over the internet (be sure to click on the full screen button). It's basically the route we'll be taking to the summit and is a very well done documentary. The Wikipedia and National Geographic links provide great articles on Tanzania and the cultures we'll encounter.