100% Summit Success on Kilimanjaro February 2010!!

On February 7 SMI guides Kurt Wedberg and Sara Berghoff boarded a plane at LAX bound for Tanzania to lead another climb to the “Roof of Africa”. Kilimanjaro is one of the most famous mountains in the world and the highest mountain in the entire continent of Africa at 19,340 feet, 5895m. Our group consisted of six friends from Southern California and one who lives in Topeka, Kansas: Frank Baxter, Donna Fol, Jim Marver, Bill Simon, Cindy Simon, and Reid Stacey. Our route of choice was the Umbwe. We descended the Mweka Route. As is now customary on SMI Kilimanjaro climbs we allow 7 days for the climb instead of the standard 5-6. This gives us more acclimatization and helps set our groups up for success. We were rewarded with a safe and successful climb. We were blessed with beautiful weather for our summit day and together our entire group reached the summit and returned safely down off the mountain with a huge accomplishment to add to their life experiences.

Cindy Simon kept a detailed blog that began with some of their training hikes well before we departed on this trip. Rather than repeat the information here we invite you to visit her account of this climb on her site and get a look into our climb from the perspective of one of the participants: http://www.hikingkili.blogspot.com

Congratulations to everyone on a safe and successful climb!! We’re pround of everyone’s efforts. Below are a few pictures from the trip. The entire photo galleries can be found here:


Kilimanjaro (19,340 feet, 5895m) from below. Much of the land surrounding the base of Kilimanjaro is rich in minerals and makes for excellent cultivation of crops.

The February 2010 Kilimanjaro team. From left to right: Kurt Wedberg, Cindy Simon, Bill Simon, Sara Berghoff, Jim Marver, Donna Fol, Reid Stacey, Frank Baxter

The group ready to begin day 1 of our 7 day climb at the start of the Umbwe Route.

Kilimanjaro Impatient. This flower only grows in the jungle zone around Kilimanjaro.

The jungle zone on Kilimanjaro hosts a rich variety of flora and fauna. We were treated to a view of a troop of blue monkeys on this trip.

Setting up camp in the jungle at 9350 feet, 2850m at the end of day 1.

Bill and Cindy Simon pause for a photo on day 2 as we began breaking out of the jungle and were treated to our first view of Kilimanjaro since we began our hike on the previous day.

Lobilia plants are common in East Africa. They feature a leaf system that allows them to collect and store water that they can drink as needed.

Giant Senacio trees are seen at 12,000 – 13,000 feet on Kilimanjaro.

Jim Marver enjoying the hike as we break out of the jungle en route to Barranco Camp on day 2.

Our tents at Barranco Camp at 12,926 feet, 3940m with the Western Breach Wall of Kilimanjaro behind.

Bill and Kurt enjoying a card game with some of our Chagga staff.

Jim Marver negotiating the Barranco Wall on day 4.

Reid Stacey enjoying the hike en route to Karanga Camp on day 4.

Monarch butterfly on a thistle.

Sara and Cindy are all smiles as we near Karanga Camp on day 4.

The group poses for a picture upon arrival at Karanga Camp at 12,893 feet, 3930m after a memorable and scenic hike on day 4.

Evening at Karanga Camp with the town of Moshi in the distance.

View from Karanga Camp on the morning of day 5.

The group on the move to high camp; Barafu Camp at 15,100 feet, 4600m.

Valentine’s Day Kilimanjaro style… Bill and Cindy Simon.

The team arrives at Barafu Camp on day 5. Healthy and happy we’re in position for our summit attempt in the morning.

Our summit attempt begins in the middle of the night.

Donna Fol and Bill Simon at a rest on summit day.

Jim marver and Bill Simon pause for a photo at dawn at approximately 18,500 feet, 5640m

Frank Baxter smiling on summit day at sunrise as we approach 19,000 feet, 5791m.

The team casting shadows into the crater of Kilimanjaro shortly after sunrise. The summit is the highest point on the right skyline.

As we traverse the crater rim we see the top of the of the glaciers that flank Kilkimanjaro.

Our happy and satisfied group posing for a summit photo under a clear and windless day!! Congratulations everybody!!!

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