Jul 13, 2015
Day 1 – The Journey Begins
Sunday, July 12
Last night was filled with energy and excitement as our 16 climbers prepared for the big day and enjoyed getting to know each other at the END Fund welcome dinner. Early this morning, our group packed up their bags and made the 1.5 hour drive to the Mount Kilimanjaro National Park Gate to sign in and make final preparations to start the climb.
Everyone was in good spirits and eager to start the trek. With registration complete, they began hiking through the Montane rainforest on a winding trail along a ridge to Machame Camp where they will stay overnight. Today they will hike a total of 6.8 miles (11 KM) over 5 to 7 hours to reach 9,800 FT (3,000 M).
We are excited for everyone on this journey and ever grateful for their hard work as they trek up Kilimanjaro and continue to raise awareness and funds to treat NTDs. Follow their daily progress here or on social media using #Summit2See.
Day 2 – A Walk Above the Clouds
Monday, July 13
After an early morning breakfast, the group left the rainforest to begin the hike above the clouds.
Today, they will cross a small valley, up a steep, rocky ridge covered with heath. The climbers will have great views of the Shira Plateau coming in from the west, Mount Meru rising through the clouds, and of course the ever present summit of Mount Kilimanjaro to the east.
They will hike a total of 5.9 miles (9 KM) over 4 to 6 hours to reach 9,840 to 12,630 FT (3,000-3,850M) before arriving at the Shira campsite.
At the campsite, the group will rest, eat dinner and get some much needed sleep.
Day 3 – Climb High, Sleep Low
Tuesday, July 14
Day three of the trek is a very important day for acclimatization. It is a part of the ‘climb high, sleep low’ principle, which will help the climbers prepare for their summit. As the toughest day so far, a few of the climbers may start to feel the symptoms of altitude sickness, but we’re hopeful that camping low tonight will help their bodies adjust with no problems.
The group had an early morning start in order to begin their climb to 4,600 M until they reach Lava Tower, a magnificent lava formation. There they will eat lunch, explore the area, and have a short rest to further acclimatize. It’s all downhill from there as the climbers descend 650 M to 3,950 M to spend the night in Barranco Camp, which is situated in a valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Wall. By the end of the day, the group will have hiked a total of 4.3 miles (7 KM) over 6 to 7 hours. At the campsite, the group will rest, eat dinner, and enjoy spectacular views for a memorable sunset.
Day 4 – From the Desert to the Glaciers
Wednesday, July 15
Today’s trek stared with a scramble up the Great Barranco Wall, which is a real ‘”love it or hate it’” moment. The group then traversed through the Alpine Desert over scree to the Karanga Valley, which is situated beneath the icefalls of the Heim, Kersten, and Decken Glaciers.
This trek was across a series of valleys so there were a lot of ups and downs until they crossed the Karanga Valley to reach the campsite. By the end of the day, the group hiked a total distance of 4.3 miles (7 KM) over 4 hours at an elevation of 12,960-12,890 FT (3,950-3,930 M).
Today was one of the shorter trekking days so the climbers reached Karanga campsite for lunch and had the afternoon to relax and explore the area.
Only one more full day remains before the hike to the summit begins!
Day 5 – Summit Eve
Thursday, July 16
Last night our climbers caught up on some much needed rest at Karanga Camp. Everyone is doing amazingly well today and prepared to summit!
After breakfast, the group left Karanga campsite behind to meet the junction connecting with the Mweka descent trail. From there they continued up the Barafu Hut and completed the southern circuit. Here they stopped for lunch before proceeding to Barafu High Camp, which is another hour up the mountain. Trekking a bit further up the mountain will make a big difference in the group’s summit attempt by taking an hour off of what is an already long and challenging climb. By the end of the evening, the group hiked a total distance of 3.7 miles (6 KM) over 3 hours at an elevation of 12,890-15,090 FT (3,390 – 4,600 M).
The group rested and slept this afternoon before fueling up on carbs for dinner. Then it’s back to bed for a few more hours of sleep before they head off into the night around midnight. Headlamps will light the way on this tough climb, mentally as much physically, but the benefit of being in a large, supportive group is that they will encourage each other along the way.
Day 6 – Reaching Africa’s Rooftop
Friday, July 17
The day has finally arrived, our team has reached Africa’s Rooftop!
They started off the final leg of the journey last night, with the climbers trekking to the summit between the Rebman and Ratzel glaciers. They headed in a north-westerly direction and ascended through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. This was the most mentally and physically challenging part of the trek yet. The group had a short rest at Stella Point before continuing on to Uhuru Peak, the highest point on Mt. Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.
From the summit, our climbers descended down to Mweka Hut Camp. This evening, they’ll enjoy their last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep. Elevation varied today between 15,090-19,3340-10,170 FT (4,600-5,895-3,100 M). By the end of the day, our climbers trekked 4.3 M (7 KM) to ascend and 14.3 M (23 KM) to descend over a total of 12-15 hours.
What a great achievement! The END Fund can’t thank our 16 climbers enough for their commitment to summit Kilimanjaro and raise awareness to see the END of NTDS.
Tomorrow the group will descend down to Mweka Park Gate where everybody will receive summit certificates. For this last portion of the journey the elevation will vary between 10,170-5,900 FT (3,100-1,800 M). Total distance hiked will be 5 M (8 KM) over 3-4 hours.
Day 7 – Summit Success
Saturday, July 18
The climbers are off the mountain and back in their hotel! They are all smiling and ready for long, well-deserved, hot showers. Tomorrow they will be participating in an NTD educational day where they will get to learn more about these diseases and watch sight-saving trichiasis surgeries. We are all so proud of their achievement and hope that their success has inspired others to learn more and join the fight to see the END to NTDs.