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

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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

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