Monday, 17 December 2012

Here's my new blog on Mt. Kilimanjaro

I have been posting my climbs of Mt. Kilimanjaro on my From Butiama and Beyond blog since 2008, but have now decided that my experiences of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro deserve their own blog. So this is the reason why I have launched Blog Kilimanjaro which will be dedicated to all types of subjects on Mt. Kilimanjaro, from my logs on my previous climbs (over the next weeks I will re-post all the information on Mt. Kilimanjaro from From Butiama and Beyond), logs on future climbs, various tips for climbers, and any other relevant news, including information on my annual charity climb: The Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Charity climb.

I hope readers will learn something from my experience of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro 7 times. And counting.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Yes, Mt. Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania and Hans Meyer is from Leipzig

Last year the best elements converge to enable me for put together an interesting blog post but I did not find out until much later. Maybe not of interest to everyone, but certainly of interest to people who read about Mt. Kilimanjaro.

I visited the German city of Leipzig in November 2011 and my visit had a lot to do with Mt. Kilimanjaro. I visited Benjamin Leers and Maurice Housni with whom in December 2011 I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro while they filmed a documentary that is about to be released. To promote the climb and the documentary, we were interviewed at a radio station. Mt. Kilimanjaro was on the subject of most conversations during those few days I was in Leipzig.

Several months after I returned to Tanzania I discovered that the genesis of the mountaineering chronology of Mt. Kilimanjaro is rooted in Leipzig. Hans Meyer (1858 - 1929) was the first European to reach the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro on 6th October 1889.
The monument at Marangu Gate on Mt. Kilimanjaro in honour of Hans Meyer.
He worked at his father's publishing house in Leipzig and later became a professor at the University of Leipzig. He was buried in Leipzig.

Meyer reached the summit with Austrian mountaineer Ludwig Purtscheller. Their climbing team included nine porters, a cook, and a guide called Yohani Kinyala Lauwo (1871 - 1996). Lauwo is described in some literature as the first person to reach the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Next to Hans Meyer's monument at Marangu Gate is a monument that honours Yohani Kinyala Lauwo and his team of porters who accompanied Hans Meyer to Mt. Kilimanjaro's summit. 

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The Kilimanjaro Uhuru Climb: day 2

On the second day of the Kilimanjaro Uhuru Climb to mark 50 years of Tanzania's independence,
Deo Semiono and Aneth Tillya.
we stopped briefly for a rest and I told John Semiono, left, of Zara Tanzania Adventures and Aneth Tillya from Leopard Tours Arusha, that they will be the most photogenic couple on this climb.

Looking good on a photograph has nothing to do with the ability to reach the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. They had both qualities and reached the summit a few days later.
As a group of porters approached Aboubakar Malipula (with back to camera), a cameraman from Clouds TV, took some low angle video footage.

When we resumed the trek towards Shira 2 camp, his colleague from Clouds TV and host of Kambi Popote, Anthony Nugaz, edged his way up the Seven Hills section, the most testing part of the day's trek.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

On my way to Kilimanjaro

Once again, I am ready for Kilimanjaro. The mountain, not the lager.
This morning I packed my climbing gear and some clothes in two bags and waited for the bodaboda (motorcycle taxi) to take me to the Musoma - Mwanza road for a bus trip to Mwanza and an onward connection to Moshi. It is amazing to see how much can be loaded on a motorcycle.

Post related to this one:

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The weather on Mt. Kilimanjaro

Inside my tent at Barranco Camp on Mt. Kilimanjaro, at an altitude 3,900m above sea level, it is 11°Centigrade.
Outside it is probably 5 degrees colder with a clear sky and a gentle wind.
posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, 3 June 2012

The weather in Moshi

Moshi is the Tanzanian city from where most Kilimanjaro climbs begin. It is regularly mentioned as one of the cleanest cities in Tanzania. It rests between 700 and 950m above sea level.

It is mostly cloudy in Moshi. The temperature is just above 26° Centigrade. There is a slight wind.

Mt. Kilimanjaro (in the background) is covered by thick rain clouds, and the ceiling is probably as low as 1,500m.

Posts related to this one:
posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, 2 June 2012

The weather in Moshi

It is 27° Centigrade in Moshi and cloudy. It is raining on Mt. Kilimanjaro.
posted from Bloggeroid

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

On my way to Kilimanjaro

I am just about to leave Butiama for yet another rendezvous at the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro. This time with 12 visitors from Tanzania Development Support in a charity climb to raise money for construction of a library and teachers' documentation center for Nyegina Secondary School.
There is no better excuse for wearing a t-shirt from my December 2011 "Kilimanjaro Uhuru Climb."
posted from Bloggeroid

The weather today

As I embark on my sixth climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro I will post my observations of the weather every day, network and weather permitting.
At Butiama it is a sunny day with a temperature of 28° Centigrade.
posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Getting ready for June's Kilimanjaro charity climb for Nyegina Secondary School

A lot of preparation goes into planning climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. For the individual climber pre-climb activity includes regular training to prepare for the rigour of hiking up Africa's highest mountain and the World's highest free standing mountain.
One important activity is to use the hiking boots one will wear during the climb prior to the climb. These pair of boots have taken me up to the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro a few times, but remain in storage between climbs.

This time, for the first time, I have worn them around to soften the leather for my next climb, the June 3 to 9 climb in aid of Nyegina Secondary School's library and teachers' documentation center.
They probably need some cleaning up also.

Related post:

Thursday, 3 May 2012

The next Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb is from 3 to 9 June 2012

In less than a month, I will be joining more than 20 individuals from Tanzania, South Africa, and the United States to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for charity.

Tanzania Development Support is sending a group of 11 from the United States to climb Africa's highest peak to raise funds for building a library and teachers' documentation center for Nyegina Secondary School. A teacher and two students from Nyegina will also participate in the climb.

Tanzania Development Support has raised funds in the past for various projects at Nyegina. For details on past activities and the Kilimanjaro climb and how to donate in support of Nyegina Secondary School, please visit their website at:

To donate in Tanzania, please use the following:

Account Name: Umoja wa Maendeleo ya Bukwaya
A/C Number: 01J1062002302
Bank: CRDB Bank

All climbers pay for all their climbing expenses, and all sums donated go directly to the project.

  Student dormitories under construction at Chief Edward Wanzagi Girls' Secondary School in Buturu, Mara region. More than $US20,000 was raised during the Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Charity Climb 2008, which contributed to the construction costs of these dormitories.
A consignment of cement donated after the Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb 2008 by Mr. Elifariji Lima of Exactline Engineering (Group) Limited is unloaded from a truck at Chief Edward Wanzagi Girls' Secondary School in Buturu, Mara region.
Eleven climbers from Tanzania Development Support will join the climb, in addition to a teacher and two students from Nyegina.

The South African contingent will be raising donations for the Red Cross in South Africa as well as for improving the working conditions of the porters on Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Andrea Wobmann is a member of the Kilimanjaro Club

The Kilimanjaro Club lists people I know who have scaled Mt. Kilimanjaro, including those who join me every year on the annual Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Charity Climb and those who join me for my non-charity climbs.
I have described Andrea as a force of nature. And she has not paid me to say this.

She joined me on last year's Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Charity Climb. We reached the summit, Uhuru Peak, on the morning of 26th September 2011.

The updated list is now:

    Point Reached*
    Summit Date
    Madaraka Nyerere
    Uhuru Peak
    24th August 2008
    Le Huyhn
    Uhuru Peak
    25th August 2008
    Markus Geiger
    Uhuru Peak
    Gerald Hando
    Uhuru Peak
    6 October 2009
    Notburga Maskini
    Stella Point
    6 October 2009
    Uhuru Peak
    13 December 2010
    Jaffar Amin
    Uhuru Peak
    13 December 2010
    Mary Kalikawe
    Uhuru Peak
    10 December 2010
    William Rutta
    Uhuru Peak
    10 December 2010
    Steve Kamau
    Uhuru Peak
    26 September 2011
    Jim Becket
    Uhuru Peak
    26 September 2011
    Andrea Wobmann
    Uhuru Peak
    26 September 2011
    *A climber is awarded a certificate for reaching one of three elevations: Uhuru Peak (5,895 AMSL), Stella Point (5,745 AMSL), or Gillman's Point (5,685 AMSL).

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Back to training

Wednesday 5 October 2011
I decided time is too short before the next onslaught on Mt. Kilimanjaro in December so I decided to resume my preparations and exercising.
My mountain bike, without the chain.
I decided to ride the 8-kilometre trail to Mwibanza farm and, lo and behold, the mountain bike gear settings I have used in the past suddenly became unfamiliar. The upshot is my conditioning is way above my average because of my recent climb.

I am toying with the idea of following a continuous exercise plan, Kilimanjaro or not.

On my way back, before reaching Butiama Secondary School, I broke the bicycle chain and walked the rest of the way home.

Friday, 16 March 2012

The Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Charity Climb 2011 (post 13 of 15)

Tuesday 27th September 2011
On a cloudless morning Millennium High Camp offers one of the best views of Kibo from the lower slopes. The porters and guides sang the Kilimanjaro farewell songs and we departed for the 8-hour trek past Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate.
The porters and guides sing the Kilimanjaro farewell songs
On the way I met two female porters who, after some persuasion by Yahoo, agreed to pose for my camera.
The female porters, a rare encounter on Mt. Kilimanjaro.

The forest section was not only traversed by beautiful people, but was also peppered with beautiful flowers.
August, Andrea, Zulfa, and Steve walked ahead with Innocent and Ludovick, the assistant guides, and had to wait for our arrival for more than two hours. They did not sign in their names until we arrived and I became the first one to sign and became eligible for the honour of buying drinks for the whole group, which I did at Springlands Hotel.
Someone called the ambulance, again. Apparently, one of us could not walk for an additional hour to Mweka Gate.
Yahoo said Jim Becket, 74, was the oldest person he had guided to Africa's rooftop, Uhuru Peak, at 5,895m above sea level.

Everyone agreed that Yahoo's guiding skills was the crucial factor in enabling the entire group to reach the peak. He was the group's 4-wheel drive.

And as Yahoo had promised days earlier, we all reached the peak.

Next: At the graduation

Related posts:

Thursday, 15 March 2012

The Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Charity Climb 2011 (post 12 of 15)

Monday 26th September 2011
The entire group of climbers heading to the summit was quite large, probably as much as 100 if you add those joining from the Marangu "Coca-Cola" route. At times we had 'traffic jams', slowing down to a standstill. Frequent stops has been a problem that I have yet to find a solution for. My heart cannot effectively handle the pressure of the frequent stoppages and the resumption of walking at high altitudes. My legs, thanks to the cycling exercise, are coping extremely well.

At a certain point during the night trek Jim Whitney, the cameraman and co-filmmaker, was behind me and when I asked him whether he wanted to walk ahead said he would remain behind because he preferred my pace. A few minutes later, when the group ahead stopped for a rest I sneaked through and walked ahead with Pantaleo, the cook with whom I camped at the Crater Camp on my first climb in 2008. Yahoo had asked Pantaleo to accompany us to the summit as one of the assistant guides.

I thought we made good progress through the night but the trek to Stella Point was not as smooth as I would have wanted. It wasn't extremely cold; I did not even wear the heavy pair of gloves.

Although ahead with Pantaleo, the rest of the group was not far behind and our arrival at Stella Point was separated, at most, by ten minutes. I am getting old.

Jim Whitney who walked ahead to film the group's arrival at Stella Point was surprised to see me and said: "How did this happen?" The only person missing was Zulfa who I learnt had remained behind with Yahoo, but was still very much in the running.
"How did this happen?" At Stella Point, Jim Whitney, right, films the approaching group.
A panoramic view from Stella Point.
Andrea is a force of nature. She does not appear to lack energy at any moment and has maintained both a physical and mental vitality that is rare among first-time climbers. When most people seem to be gasping for oxygen you will hear her humming some Swiss ballad.
At the summit.

At the summit, I thank Pantaleo, right, for leading me through.
The trek back to Barafu Camp remains, for me, physically painful. I have yet to find a technique for descending effortlessly on a fine soft sand surface. I prefer rough rocky terrain.

Next: Two women guides

Related posts:

Monday, 12 March 2012

The Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Charity Climb 2011 (post 11 of 15)

Sunday 25th September 2011
I have noted that the trek between Karanga and Barafu Camp is when I discover my physical strength. I feel pretty strong.
On the way to Barafu Yahoo, extreme left, watches over the group during a short break as a porter, right, walks past
During last night's briefing Yahoo, the lead guide, said he noted that we are all in pretty good shape and, with the pace he has set, he is certain we will all reach the peak. I wasn't convinced.
The rangers' hut at Barafu, Mt. Kilimanjaro's base camp.
I had planned with yahoo that we should leave Barafu Camp for the summit at thirty minutes past eleven, but we left well after midnight.

Next: Andrea is a force of nature

Related post:

The Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Charity Climb 2011 (post 10 of 15)

Saturday 24th September 2011
Innocent, the young assistant guide, appeared to me to be more interested in maintaining his "cool" demeanour - he has a preference for using the word "cool" in conversation - than in doing his work.
Morning at Barranco camp, before departing for Karanga Camp.
I pointed out at the bottom of the 'breakfast climb', the steep climb of the day from Barranco Camp towards Karanga, that one of the guides should stay close behind Jim Becket in case he needed support through the difficult sections. Innocent would do so for a while but he frequently had to be reminded by Hamisi, the other assistant guide with whom we climbed together during my first Kilimanjaro climb in 2007 - or by Yahoo.
On arrival at Karanga Camp we caught a glimpse of Kibo peak.
Yahoo's professionalism came out clearly today, particularly by the gentle pace he forced on the entire group, having taken the lead from Hamisi, who led us yesterday.

Next: I feel pretty strong

Related posts:

Sunday, 11 March 2012

The challenge

In late January I was in Morogoro to attend a non-title professional boxing match between Francis Cheka and Karama Nyilawila. Cheka won the match on points.

As I waited for the preliminary bouts to begin, the challenge in my mind was focused on the Uluguru Mountains in the background.

My interest in climbing mountains is not restricted to Mt. Kilimanjaro only. I kept mentally charting routes on the mountains and wondering how a climber could get to the peak. And where was the peak?

Sent from Samsung Mobile

Thursday, 8 March 2012

The Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Charity Climb (post 9 of 15)

Friday 23 September 2011
The trek from Shira 2 to Barranco Camp was interrupted by one interview with Jaffar in which, in response to a question, he said I am a celebrity journalist. When Jim Becket asked me to define one I said: "It is someone who has no formal training as a journalist but I happen to have a regular weekly column and when the stars are aligned favourably I manage to write some good articles."

We had a lunch stop just before reaching Lava Tower. It either rained or snowed most of the way.
The after-lunch smiles.
Snow at Lava Tower.
After lunch Steve Kamau began to bleed through the nose and I thought that was cause for serious concern. When we stopped for a short rest at Lava Tower, I sought Yahoo's assessment and he said they will monitor Steve's condition. If the condition worsens, he would have to descend. He did not bleed again.

At dinner, Innocent, one of the assistant guides, suggested to Steve that should the bleeding resume he should avoid blowing his nose but instead soak the flow with tissue.

Next: Yahoo, a true professional

Related posts:

Monday, 27 February 2012

The Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Charity Climb 2011 (post 8 of 15)

Thursday 22 September 2011
Kibo peak bared itself in the morning, before sunrise. It was freezing cold with frost on the ground.

The trek to the next camp, Shira 2, was uneventful. This trek on the Shira Plateau is by far the easiest on the Lemosho route.
Jim Becket is trying to engage all of us in conversation. I am having difficulties catching my breath and walking at the same time.

On arrival at Shira 2 it began to rain, alternating with a mild hailstorm for over an hour.

We had French fries on our lunch menu and everyone, including Zulfa who has difficulty eating some dishes, was excited and pleased.

Some sunshine broke through before sunset and revealed a spectacular view of the Shira Hills.

The short trek uphill for acclimatization was canceled by Yahoo because of unfavourable weather. I didn't complain. A rest was in order.

Next: some cause for serious concern

Related post:

Thursday, 23 February 2012

The Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Charity Climb 2011 (post 7 of 15)

Wednesday 21 September 2011
The pace was commendable and I went through the 'Seven Hills' section with much less effort compared to past climbs, but I felt a latent fatigue and some stress on my chest. Something didn't feel right. And yet, I was more worried for Jim Becket and Zulfa, who was not eating enough food and drinking enough water.
The protea flower is prevalent only on the 'Seven Hill' section on the Lemosho route
Jaffar appeared more confident and talked throughout most of the sections. Jim Whitney trailed behind to shoot scenes with his camera.

At a midway point on the 'Seven Hills' climb we stopped for lunch and I was later interviewed for Jim Becket's documentary.
As Jim Becket (left) stops to observe the valley below, Steve Kamau (right) steps up to a higher vantage point.
Everyone seemed to cope well.

Next: A glimpse of Kibo peak

Related posts:

Friday, 13 January 2012

The Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Charity Climb 2011 (post 6 of 15)

Tuesday 20 September 2011
This is it! The first day of the Mt. Kilimanjaro climb and, following a surprisingly regular occurrence every year, I was the last person in our group to leave my room, having stayed up working late into the early hours.

Again, I was the reason why the truck taking us to the drop-off point made two stops in Moshi town: for rental of additional gear, and for flu medication.

At Londrossi Gate of the Kilimanjaro National Park the place was crowded with visitors and porters. I had never seen such a large number of hikers.
The trek from the the drop-off point to Mti Mkubwa (Big Tree) Camp
After a four hour trek to Mti Mkubwa we found the camp crowded with tents.

Next: The Seven Hills' challenge

Related post:

Sunday, 8 January 2012

The Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Charity Climb 2011 (post 5 of 15)

Monday 19 September 2011
I was one of the first clients in the CRDB branch Bank in Moshi when it opened, having survived Moshi with only four thousand shillings yesterday because of an ATM card that is defective.

Jaffar Amin called to inform me of his arrival as I was having breakfast and I picked him up and we headed to the Springlands Hotel. I told him I was relieved he had managed to join the climb because Jim Becket's documentary depended on his presence.

At Springlands Hotel Jim had arrived with Jim Whitney, the cameraman and his son August who resembles one of the younger European princes. I don't know whether I get the impression from his haircut or whether it is his height. I hint some resemblance.

Andrea Wobmann was also present, rearing to go and with her constant jovial mood.

I attempted to stay up working late, as usual on the eve of a Kilimanjaro climb, but felt unwell from the flu-like symptoms induced by what I suspected was a night spent in a hotel room with a Gypsum ceiling.

Next: The climb begins

Related posts:

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Charity Climb 2011 (post 4 of 15)

Saturday 17 September 2011
I stayed up late typing on my laptop until 06:45 A.M. and then tried, without success, to sleep.

I boarded the afternoon flight from Mwanza to the Kilimanjaro International (KIA) Airport and arrived in Moshi in the late afternoon.

Jaffar Amin sent a message to inform me he was on the 09:00 A.M. Kampala Coach bus to Moshi via Nairobi to join this year's Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Charity Climb.

Next: An incident with Gypsum

Posts related to this one: