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#20944 - 01/23/12 05:00 PM Kilimanjaro Trip Report (Jan. 8-17, 2012)
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Hello folks. Back from a fabulous trip to Kili. Best vacation ever. We did the Lemosho route, lots of acclimatization, with a day time summit. Here are pictures:

First sight of Kili when hiking toward Shira 1 camp.



Sunrise from Shira 1 camp (all the sunrises were amazing)



Kili getting bigger as we approach Shira 2




Giant Senecio on the way to Shira 2 Camp



Shira 2 Camp





Arrow Camp/Western Breach (acclimatization hike)



Leaving Lava Camp



Barranco Valley







Barranco Wall



Kissing Rock on Barranco Wall



Karanga Camp



On the way to Barafu and Crossover Camps





My tent at Crossover Camp



Mount Mawenzi as the sun rises



Climbing to the summit....



Glaciers near summit



Stella Point!



First sight of summit



Crater/Ash pit



Summit!!! (Yes, they did replace the old sign)



Last view of Kili on the way down....


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#20946 - 01/23/12 05:09 PM Re: Kilimanjaro Trip Report (Jan. 8-17, 2012) [Re: Akichow]
2600fromatari Offline


Registered: 10/18/10
Posts: 451
Loc: San Diego
Beautiful pictures. The glacier looks a lot larger than I expected. I remember being disappointed with some of the recent pictures compared to its former glory.

Who did you use for the guide Akichow?

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#20948 - 01/23/12 05:23 PM Re: Kilimanjaro Trip Report (Jan. 8-17, 2012) [Re: 2600fromatari]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
I used Thompson Treks. They are big, they are highly professional, and they are very expensive. I knew all that going in, and was and remain happy with my choice, but the group was on the large size (I think 6-8 clients is probably optimal). We did all summit, several of us joyously.

I am glad I did the long Lemosho route this time, as I needed all that acclimatization. I would consider, as an alternative, doing Rongai in a smaller group (i.e., the type of trek I understand that Kurt Wedberg organizes).

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#20950 - 01/23/12 06:03 PM Re: Kilimanjaro Trip Report (Jan. 8-17, 2012) [Re: Akichow]
wazzu Offline


Registered: 06/20/10
Posts: 319
Loc: Orange County, CA
AWESOME!!!! So happy to hear you made the summit and home in great shape. Great photos & TR.

I'm guessing your four legged hiking buddy was excited to see you. wink

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#20955 - 01/24/12 02:40 AM Re: Kilimanjaro Trip Report (Jan. 8-17, 2012) [Re: Akichow]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1247
Loc: Atlanta
Congratulations Karen! That has to be an extremely satisfying accomplishment after pouring so much time, effort and money into the trip. Sounds like you definitely made the right call with guides. Looking forward to hearing some details about the adventure.

So, you've now got 19K' under your belt. What's next? You gotta go for 20K-plus - Aconcagua?

Congrats again!

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#20956 - 01/24/12 03:13 AM Re: Kilimanjaro Trip Report (Jan. 8-17, 2012) [Re: Bulldog34]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Wazzu, yes, I got a very warm welcome back from Sasha! She is owed a special hike weekend....

Bulldog, yup, I have to admit that Aconcagua did run through my head a few times the last few weeks. But too technical for me. I do think I am going to give Shasta another shot this Spring ... and playing with Kearsarge Pass-Whitney, or Langley for this summer. Thinking of Bhutan or Everest area trek when I next have the funds, which may be a while.... Any suggestions?

The big surprise was how good I felt at the summit. Indeed, I had an appetite, and we enjoyed a picnic of corned beef, vegetable pastries, cheese, bread, cookies, fruit, etc. Shortly after the summit, my oxygen saturation measured 91, and my resting pulse was 62. Based on the pattern of prior measurements, I give 50 percent of the credit to the relatively gentle ascent profile, and 50 percent of the credit to, yes, Diamox. I had some substantially less-good readings earlierin the trip before I upped my Diamox dosage (initially at 62.5 mg once a day before sleep, which was not sufficient).

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#20957 - 01/24/12 03:36 AM Re: Kilimanjaro Trip Report (Jan. 8-17, 2012) [Re: Akichow]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Here are some safari pictures....

This big fella was not even in a national park. He was off the "highway" just outside of Arusha.



These guys marked a Land Rover (yes, I have pictures) and then kept moving.



So many zebras....



Wildebeest



Why did the Ostrich cross the road?



Turns out that warthogs are really cute. It's not just Lion King.



This girl came right up to my (open) car window and plopped down for a nap outside my door. Apparently, they see Land Rovers as shade providers.




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#20959 - 01/24/12 03:42 AM Re: Kilimanjaro Trip Report (Jan. 8-17, 2012) [Re: Akichow]
Bob R Offline


Registered: 10/27/09
Posts: 129
Loc: Ridgecrest, California
Nice report. But I was very saddened to see that the old summit sign on Uhuru Peak was replaced. I don't know why they do such things. Should the 103 year-old Whitney hut be torn down, and a nice modern structure put up in its place?

Here is what it looked like last February.

Your route and ours (Umbwe route) crossed, in the vicinity of Arrow Camp and Lava Rock.

154 Everyone

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#20960 - 01/24/12 03:47 AM Re: Kilimanjaro Trip Report (Jan. 8-17, 2012) [Re: Bob R]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Yes, I was disappointed to see the new sign. In my mind's eye, my goal that I had visualized was the old sign. But this means that at least some of the tourist money generated by park fees is going back into the park (apparently an issue about which the porters and guides are concerned).

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#20961 - 01/24/12 04:31 AM Re: Kilimanjaro Trip Report (Jan. 8-17, 2012) [Re: Akichow]
MooseTracks Offline


Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 582
Loc: Bishop, CA, United States
Originally Posted By: Akichow
Wazzu, yes, I got a very warm welcome back from Sasha! She is owed a special hike weekend....

Bulldog, yup, I have to admit that Aconcagua did run through my head a few times the last few weeks. But too technical for me. I do think I am going to give Shasta another shot this Spring ... and playing with Kearsarge Pass-Whitney, or Langley for this summer. Thinking of Bhutan or Everest area trek when I next have the funds, which may be a while.... Any suggestions?

The big surprise was how good I felt at the summit. Indeed, I had an appetite, and we enjoyed a picnic of corned beef, vegetable pastries, cheese, bread, cookies, fruit, etc. Shortly after the summit, my oxygen saturation measured 91, and my resting pulse was 62. Based on the pattern of prior measurements, I give 50 percent of the credit to the relatively gentle ascent profile, and 50 percent of the credit to, yes, Diamox. I had some substantially less-good readings earlierin the trip before I upped my Diamox dosage (initially at 62.5 mg once a day before sleep, which was not sufficient).


Congratulations, Karen! What a wonderful adventure, and great pics, too! Sounds like you managed yourself really well, especially with those readings up high. Amazing!

Don't count yourself out of something like Aconcagua. Never say never! This life road winds and twists in myterious (well, sometimes not so mysterious! smile ) ways. Kearsarge Pass would actually be a great place to solidify some of those technical snow skills in the spring!

Congrats, again,
L
_________________________
Facebook

Flickr Pics

Think outside the Zone.

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#20963 - 01/24/12 04:54 AM Re: Kilimanjaro Trip Report (Jan. 8-17, 2012) [Re: MooseTracks]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
When you lead a trek up Aconcagua, sign me up!

smile

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#20969 - 01/24/12 05:56 AM Re: Kilimanjaro Trip Report (Jan. 8-17, 2012) [Re: Akichow]
CMC2 Offline


Registered: 11/04/09
Posts: 160
Loc: CO
Highly recommend a Bhutan trek. Very few outsiders are permitted to enter each year so there are few foreign travelers in the country. I went in 1998 so things might have changed slightly.

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#20982 - 01/24/12 03:49 PM Re: Kilimanjaro Trip Report (Jan. 8-17, 2012) [Re: CMC2]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Thanks for the recommendation! Ever since I watched some BBC program, I've been intrigued by Bhutan.

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#20983 - 01/24/12 03:58 PM Re: Kilimanjaro Trip Report (Jan. 8-17, 2012) [Re: Akichow]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Aha, with Steve's help, I figured out the problem. Here are the rest of the safari pictures.

More lions




So many amazing sunrises...









Love the hippos...





So long, folks!




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#20994 - 01/25/12 07:12 AM Re: Kilimanjaro Trip Report (Jan. 8-17, 2012) [Re: Akichow]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1247
Loc: Atlanta
Great photos Karen - that had to be the adventure of a lifetime! I've been wondering about what challenges you faced while you were at such a high elevation. I know you were well-prepared for just about anything, but any moments where the trip slipped from "Damn, this is fun!" to "Oh s__t! What was I thinking?!" How was the sleeping and appetite at 18K'? Did the Diamox and O2 regimen work out OK? Have to break out the Dex at any point? From your various posts, it appears there were a lot of altitude casualties on the mountain with other guides. I'd say you made a great choice in guide services.

As for breaking that 20K' threshold, with the notable exception of Denali (with some real technical aspects as well as notoriously ill-tempered weather), you'll have to head for the Andes or Asia. Even an Everest Base Camp trek wouldn't get you to 20K', I don't believe. Therefore, as Laura mentioned, get those winter technical skills going! You're now in truly big-girl territory! Way to go!

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#20997 - 01/25/12 10:01 AM Re: Kilimanjaro Trip Report (Jan. 8-17, 2012) [Re: Bulldog34]
Brent N Offline


Registered: 01/20/11
Posts: 277
Loc: Orange County, CA
Loved the TR. Congratulations on a spectacular feat.

Brent N

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#20999 - 01/25/12 10:53 AM Re: Kilimanjaro Trip Report (Jan. 8-17, 2012) [Re: Akichow]
Tommyb Offline


Registered: 10/18/10
Posts: 54
Loc: Ca
Originally Posted By: Akichow
When you lead a trek up Aconcagua, sign me up!

smile


yep me too!
_________________________
Tommy B
Bicksler7.com

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#21008 - 01/25/12 05:19 PM Re: Kilimanjaro Trip Report (Jan. 8-17, 2012) [Re: Bulldog34]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Bulldog,

These are the exact questions that I have been pondering. So I am delighted to respond. I loved the trip, and did not find it overtaxing, but there were a few challenges, and at one point, when I was underdosing Diamox, I do think I veered into AMS territory (despite the good acclimatization route), and thought I might have to quit. A few points.

1. While I was not the fittest person in the group, I had by far the easiest time on the mountain, and also the most fun. I believe this is because I was the only person who hiked weekly (and backpacked) in the 8-10 weeks before the trip. The others relied heavily on the gym, stair climbing, biking, and other activities to train. Different muscles, different rhythm than hiking, etc. They were adapting to a type of activity that I do all the time. (I found Mission Peak, in Fremont, to be a terrific winter training hike for Kili.)

2. The other reason I think I had the most fun is because, although my mountaineering experience is limited, I have picked up some skills that helped me conserve energy. I used a rest step extensively on summit day, and I also did some pressure breathing here and there. I showed others the techniques, but people feel silly I guess, so only 1 or 2 folks took me up on these suggestions. Be that as it may, at the end of summit day, I was still full of energy, while everyone else crashed in their tents. (While Kili is strenuous, in my opinion, climbing Shasta from Helen Lake to the Thumb is even more so.)

3. Yes, there WAS a moment where I thought I might not be able to summit. It occurred the day before the summit day, when I was hiking from Barafu to Crossover Camp (i.e., 16,000'). This is a short hike that only gains about 800-1000 feet, and is done in perhaps an hour. I had skipped the morning dose of Diamox (in the Eastern Sierras, I only take 62.5 mg once a day, before dinner), reasoning that Diamox does its best work at night. I felt fine so long as we were moving (probably because I was breathing at an elevated rate due to exertion). However, whenever we stopped, a headache would start. Before the lunch break at Barafu, the headache was manageable -- I would pressure breathe, and just walk around. After the lunch break though, we did a climb that had some scramble to it, and each time we would pause, I would get a horrible pulsing headache. I could not stop visualizing what was going on in my brain, and the potential for HACE -- just felt like something in there would explode. It was scary. So when we got to camp, instead of resting, I spent an hour walking around the camp. Nonetheless, that night, my 02 blood saturation was the lowest in the group (74 percent), and my heartrate was elevated (105 or so). After talking with the head guide, I upped my Diamox to 62.5 mg every six hours through the summit. I did not experience another headache, not a mild one, not a severe one, none. Following the summit, my 02 blood saturation was 91 percent, and my resting heart rate had gone down to 62. Sure, some of that was the process of coming down from 19,300 feet. But still. Diamox did its job, IMHO.

4. I had no appetite problems on summit day ... just the opposite, no doubt because by that point, I really was properly acclimatized. I felt great. Before we reached the summit, we stopped for lunch just under 19,000 feet. I scarfed down, with no problem, a large lunch of corned beef, cheese, a roll, a vegetable filled pastry, cookies, and fruit. No nausea. No appetite issues.

An odd thing to me is that only two of us brought electrolytes. They saved me early in the trip when I was battling dehydration due to a bad reaction to their water treatment chemicals (for the rest of the trip, I ended up treating my own water with a Steripen that I brought). I then ended up handing out my electrolytes like candy to others as various issues arose in the group and were then addressed. I think that the outfitters would do well to (1) supply electrolytes, an (2) encourage folks to bring them.

I anticipate that my future Diamox dosing will be as follows.

Sleeping altitude less than 13,000 feet: 62.5 mg/once a day, before sleeping.

Sleeping altitude higher than 13,000 feet: 62.5 mg/twice a day, to be adjusted if necessary.

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#21010 - 01/25/12 06:41 PM Re: Kilimanjaro Trip Report (Jan. 8-17, 2012) [Re: Akichow]
2600fromatari Offline


Registered: 10/18/10
Posts: 451
Loc: San Diego
Thanks for that summary. The thing I battle with most is AMS and the headaches. Like you, the moment I start to get a headache, my imagination goes wild, and thoughts of my head exploding pop up. smile

I'm really surprised by your statement about Shasta being more strenuous.

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#21013 - 01/26/12 04:47 AM Re: Kilimanjaro Trip Report (Jan. 8-17, 2012) [Re: 2600fromatari]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
I should clarify: overall, climbing Kili over 8-9 days is probably more of sustained effort than climbing Shasta. But in terms of 4-5 hour blocks, I didn't experience anything on Kili that was nearly as exhausting as slapping on crampons and going up to the Thumb in icy conditions, and coming back down (to be fair, conditions when I did Shasta were tough, and glissading was not possible). I believe that is 2600 feet in less than a mile; nothing compares to that on the nontechnical trails up Kilimanjaro.

On headaches, this was my first significant altitude headache ever, and it was a doozer. Frontal lobe, pulsing, and completely debilitating. An unambiguous warning that I could not ignore. On the bright side, I now know what to look for ... and avoid!

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