Category: International Expeditions

East African Safari: Plentiful Animals and Great Times!

After a successful climb of Kilimanjaro the team said goodbye to Caleb, John, and April.  Caleb and John began their journey home.  SMI guide April Mayhew stayed behind in Moshi to run in the Kilimanjaro Marathon.  Three days after standing on top of Kilimanjaro April placed a very respectable second among female non-Africans then caught up with the rest of the group for the last three days of safari.  Congratulations April!  The rest of the team took off on a game viewing safari to see up close some of the most fascinating animals on our planet.

Over the course of five days the team visited Lake Manyara, the Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire National Park, and the great Serengeti Plains.  In addition to seeing a wide range of exotic wildlife our safaris are also a rich cultural experience.  We spent some time with kids at a local orphanage as has become traditional on our trips.  We also visited a local Masai Village where we were treated to traditional Masai dancing ceremonies, saw the mud huts they live in, and we were given the opportunity to purchase jewelry items.  We also visited Olduvai Gorge which is rich in archeological history.  Bones of many extinct animals have been found in this area.  It is also the sight where the archeologists Tom and Mary Leakey discovered the oldest homonid footprints.

Wildlife was prevalent throughout our safari.  Below are a few pictures.  The entire photo gallery can be found here:

Game Viewing Safari February 25-29, 2012

Rhonda, Kurt, Jackie, and Janet on safari at Lake Manyara National Park.

Two lioness sisters resting in a tree at Lake Manyara National Park.

Male lion in the Serengeti.

Cape buffalo with a stork on its back in Lake Manyara National Park.

Wart hog family in Lake Manyara National Park.

Wildebeest mother and calf. 185,000+ wildebeests are born within a two week period in October each year. This insures the survival of the species.

Male and female impalas at Lake Manyara National Park.

Janet, Rhonda, Kurt, and Jackie in the Ngorongoro Crater.

Female spotted hyena on the Serengeti plains.

Male agama lizard sunning itself on a kopje rock outcropping in the Serengeti.

Grants Gazelle in the Serengeti.

Zebras resting in the Serengeti.

Young teenage elephants in the Serengeti.

When a giraffe bends over to drink it is in its most vulnerable position for predators.

Giraffe eating leaves from an acacia tree in the Serengeti.

Vitelline Masked Weaver at Olduvai Gorge.

Abdim's Stork in the Ngorongoro Crater.

Male Cory Bustard bird puffed up looking for a mate in the Ngorongoro Crater.

Red Collared Widowbird

Egyptian Goose in the Serengeti.

Secretary birds on top of an acacia tree in the Serengeti.

Saddle-billed Stork in the Ngorongoro Crater.

Janet, April, Kurt, Jackie, and Rhonda at our hotel in Karatu during our safari.

Traditionally dressed Masai women during our visit to their village.

Rhonda, Jackie, and Janet were invited to join the Masai ladies in their traditional dance.

Masai warriors conducting a traditional mens dance and jumping ceremony.

A Masai man shows us inside his mud hut where he and his family live while he shares with us their way of life.

Masai jewelry for sale at their village.

Kilimanjaro Summit Success!!

February 23, 2012 6:15am. Summit photo on Kilimanjaro. Team members from left to right: Rogati Lucas, Caleb Fiske, Rhonda Bellavia, Kurt Wedberg, Janet Lacey, April Mayhew, Hillary

SMI guides April Mayhew and Kurt Wedberg just returned from Tanzania where they led another successful climb of Kilimanjaro.  Team members included Rhonda Bellevia, Caleb Fiske, Jackie Hammitt, Janet Lacey, and John Lafaro.  Several team members used this climb as a fundraiser for Big City Mountaineers (  The money raised will help this well respected organization bring underprivileged and inner city youth on 7 and 8 day backpacking trips this summer.

The team met in Moshi, Tanzania where we spent one day to relax after the long flights, pack our gear for the climb, take a hike in the forest near our hotel, and eat a traditional Chagga meal of banana soup.  On February 18 the team took off for Kilimanjaro National Park and the gate at the start of the Umbwe Route which would be our ascent route of the mountain.

Kilimanjaro is the only place in the world where one can pass through five different temperate zones over a 5-day period.  We start in a jungle environment at 6000’/1829m and by the time we’ve reached the summit at 19,348’/5895m we’re in the alpine zone.  Along the way we were met with every type of weather possible from warm sun to rain, foggy white out conditions to clear days, and we even had some snowfall at the higher elevations.  The team adapted beautifully to the changing conditions keeping a great attitude throughout.

For all team members (besides the guides) climbing Kilimanjaro would be a new personal altitude record.  It was a joy watching this group of people who came from California, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas mold into a super fun, supportive, and efficient climbing team over the course of this 7-day climb.

Congratulations everybody on a job well done!!

A few pictures are below.  The entire photo gallery can be found here:

Kilimanjaro February 18-24, 2012

The team ready to start the climb of Kilimanjaro at the Umbwe park gate.

The team at a rest break in the jungle on the first day of the climb.

John enjoying a lunch break in the jungle.

Inside the dining tent at the end of day 1. One of the countless jovial moments during this climb.

Kurt Wedberg performing a little first aid on one of our local Chagga staff.

February 19, day 2 of the climb. The team leaves its camp in the jungle at Umbwe Cave headed for Barranco Camp at 3940m/12,926'.

Our first view of Kilimanjaro from the jungle.

Gladiola flower along our route.

Janet Lacey at the front of the team enjoying the hike as the route rises out of the jungle.

Caleb takes time out for a gymnastics workout during our hike!

Jackie enjoying the views as the team rises out of the jungle.

The elated team reaches Barranco Camp at 3940m/12,926'

Jackie hugs a Giant Senacio tree near Barranco Camp.

Barranco Camp with the Western Breach Wall of Kilimanjaro behind.

The team and our Chagga staff enjoying an afternoon game of hacky sack at Barranco Camp.

The team at Lava Tower during an acclimatization hike. An afternoon snowstorm would not dampen this teams spirits.

February 21, day 4 of the climb the team leaves Barranco Camp headed to the next step; Karanga Camp at 3930m/12,893'

Rhonda and Caleb en route to Karanga Camp.

The team arrives at Karanga Camp 3930m/12,893'. Back row: John Lafaro,Hillary, Rhonda Bellavia, Caleb Fiske, Kurt Wedberg, and April Mayhew. Front row: Janet Lacey, Jackie Hammett, and Rogati Lucas.

Sunset over Mt. Meru. The peak is a dormant volcano at 4566m/14,980' about 60 miles away from Kilimanjaro.

February 22, day 5 of the climb. The team packed and ready to leave for Barafu Camp at 4600m/15,100'.

The team enjoying the climb to our high camp.

April Mayhew and Rhonda leading the way close to high camp.

Team members having a cup of hot tea before beginning the summit climb.

Streaking headlamps during the pre dawn hours of the summit climb.

Rhonda and Kurt shortly before dawn as the team reaches the crater rim of Kilimanjaro.

Team members silhouetted as the sun rises over the African plains.

Summit success on Kilimanjaro!!

Kilimanjaro casting its shadow across the African plains at sunrise.

SMI guide April Mayhew standing proud on the crater rim of Kilimanjaro at the start of the descent after guiding another successful ascent of Kilimanjaro; her 3rd ascent in the past year!

Celebration dinner after another successful climb of Kilimanjaro. Congratulations Team!!

Cotopaxi (5897m/19348′), Ecuador November 20, 2011- Perfect Snow Conditions, Big Crevasses, and Cool Views

Cotopaxi (5897m/19,348') is the 2nd highest active volcano in the world.

After a great climb of Illiniza Norte our team was ready to head to Cotopaxi.  Upon finishing our descent from Illiniza we spent a night close to Cotopaxi National Park in one of the beautiful haciendas Ecuador is famous for.  Showers, comfortable beds, and a couple good meals were welcomed by the entire team.  The food in Ecuador is always a delight.  From a wide variety of fresh fruit to their ají salsa made with a red pepper that goes by the same name there is something to tempt every part of the palate.

Following a restful evening the team drove over dirt roads to Cotopaxi National Park.  The road takes us to 4600m/15,091′ dropping us off within a 40 minute walk to the José Ribas Refugio at 4810m/15,780′.  Reaching the hut at lunchtime gave us plenty of time to hydrate, snack, and get settled in preparation for our summit attempt the following morning.  An early dinner of pizza with fresh vegetables was followed by one last hot drink then to sleep.  We woke in the middle of the night to begin our ascent in anticipation of a 7+ hour climb to the summit.  Weather was cool and calm.  Under a blanket of stars we strapped crampons to our mountaineering boots and left the refugio with headlamps on to aid in navigating the terrain.  60 minutes of climbing brought us to the entrance of an unnamed glacier.  Here we divided into rope teams and began carrying ice axes.  The heavily glaciated terrain normally has large crevasses that require careful navigation.  Snow conditions under foot were as good as we could ask for offering solid purchase for our crampons.  Picking our route through the glacier made for fun and exciting climbing.  Taking breaks at regular intervals to hydrate and refuel we found ourselves well over 18,000’/5500m as the stars above gave way to the approaching sunrise.  We put our headlamps in our packs, put on sunscreen, and continued picking our way through the icy glaciated terrain.  We crossed over large crevasses with depths of over 100’/30m and surmounted steep ice walls that reached 45+ degrees.  The upper reached of the route had us climbing on the west side of the peak keeping us in shade.  As we climbed atop Cotopaxi’s crater rim we were treated to the warming rays of direct sunlight for our final steps to the summit.

With a warm calm morning we took time to relax for a few minutes before taking pictures, hydrating, eating some food, and enjoying the incredible views that Cotopaxi offers from its summit.

A few pictures from our climb are below.  The entire photo gallery from our Ecuador trip can be found here:  Ecuador’s Volcanoes November 14-24, 2011

Hacienda in the foothills near Cotopaxi National Park.

Llamas grazing near Cotopaxi National Park

The team at the entrance to Cotopaxi National Park.

The team en route to the José Ribas Refugio.

Team members arriving at the refugio.

Sunset from the refugio.

The team geared up and ready to climb Cotopaxi.

Climbing at 18,000+ feet as it became light enough to not need headlamps.

SMI guide April Mayhew high on the route.

Gary Maxwell surrounded by big crevasses and cool views!

Jairo and April climbing around a crevasse on the route.

Gary Maxwell topping out on Cotopaxi.

Jairo taking the last steps towards the summit of Cotopaxi.

April topping out on Cotopaxi with Jairo close behind.

Kurt, Gary, Jairo, and April on the summit of Cotopaxi.

Cotopaxi's double crater as seen from the summit.

Inspiring views and fun climbing on Illiniza Norte (5126m/16,817′), Ecuador November 18, 2011

From left to right: April Mayhew, Gary Maxwell, Kelly Tucker, Kurt Wedberg, and Jairo Marin pause for a photo on the foothills below Illiniza Norte, Ecuador.

After finishing a great trip to Mexico’s Volcanoes SMI guides April Mayhew and Kurt Wedberg flew from Mexico City to Quito, Ecuador to guide climbs on the volcanoes located within this beautiful equatorial country.  Gary Maxwell, Jairo Marin, and Kelly Tucker rendezvoused in Quito, which is at an elevation of 2800m/9186 ‘.  Acclimatization was the first order of business.  The team took a couple of hikes on peaks outside of Quito where we were treated to beautiful vistas of the Ecuadorian countryside.  We also attended an intense soccer game between the national teams of Peru and Ecuador.  After a couple good days of acclimatization we then headed to Illiniza Norte.

The climbing on Illiniza Norte is mainly scrambling over rocky terrain.  Ropes are used for safety.  Negotiating the upper reaches of the mountain required picking our way up excellent hand and foot holds on steep terrain with moderate exposure in spots.  The route was fun and offered a great sense of accomplishment.  After this climb the team would be well set up for climbing Cotopaxi in a couple days!

A few pictures are below.  The entire Ecuador photo gallery can be found here:  Ecuador’s Volcanoes November 14-24, 2011

It's always nice to stretch the legs after international flights. The team enjoys their first day hike in the hills above Quito, Ecuador

The team hiking towards Rucu Pichincha (4698m/15,413').

The Chuquirahua flower grows between approximately 3000-4000m in Ecuador. This beautiful wildflower is the symbol of mountaineering to the Ecuadorian "alpinistas".

The team on an acclimatization day hike to Pasochoa (4200m/13,779').

The team traversing along the crest of Pasochoa where the dramatic difference in vegetation is proudly displayed between opposing exposure to the elements.

The team starting up the rock scrambling on Illiniza Norte.

Gary, Jairo, and Kelly enjoying the climb of Illiniza Norte.

Gary, April and our good friend Romulo from Ecuador high on Illiniza Norte.

Gary, Jairo, and Kelly on the summit of Illiniza Norte with Illiniza Sur behind to the left.

April and Romulo on the summit of Illiniza Norte.

Summit Success on Mexico’s Volcanoes!

Orizaba team summit photo at 9:30am on 11-11-11. From left to right: Rick Piette, April Mayhew, Mickey Jojola, Lloyd Charton, Miriam Diaz, John Baer, and Kurt Wedberg

Our annual trip to Mexico’s Volcanoes was another big success with 100% of the team reaching the summits of both Iztaccíhuatl and El Pico de Orizaba!

Our team met in Mexico City on Friday November 4, 2011.  After a nice dinner and a walk around the center of the city on a clear warm night we were ready to depart on Saturday for Iztaccíhuatl.  We stayed true to our successful acclimatization schedule we have been using in previous years.  After spending three days taking hikes to increasingly higher elevation we found ourselves at the high refugio along the “La Arista del Sol” route at 4780m/15,682’.  We bedded down after an early dinner in preparation for our pre-dawn start for summit day.  Waking in the wee hours we were greeted to a pleasantly calm windless night with mild temperatures.  With headlamps aiding us in our route finding shouldered our rucksacks carrying warm clothes, ice axes, crampons, climbing helmets, harnesses, ropes, snacks and water for the day.  Several hours of climbing brought us high on Iztaccihuatl’s flanks as we were greeted to a beautiful sunrise to the east.  We applied sunscreen and sunglasses then kept a slow steady pace up the beautiful ridgeline offering stunning views that leads to the summit.  The crisp calm air on the summit afforded us the opportunity to take a few minutes to relax and enjoy the views before taking summit photos and starting our descent.  We were back to the refugio 10 ½ hours after we set out for the summit.  Here we took a break to rehydrate then packed up our gear for the descent back to the trailhead.  Another three hours of walking led us to the base of our route where we were picked up and whisked off to the city of Puebla to clean up and celebrate a successful climb with a good meal.

On November 9 the team organized gear and traveled to the town of Tlachichuca.  This quaint village sits at the base of our next objective; El Pico de Orizaba, which at 5611m/18,410’ is the 3rd highest peak in North America.  We had the afternoon to reorganize our gear and take a walk around town while sampling local food including local fruit and fresh guacamole.

On November 10 we loaded our gear into a 4×4 vehicle for the drive through the rural Mexican countryside that leads us to the Pierdra Grande hut at 4260m/13,976’.  SMI guide April Mayhew cooked pizzas for dinner while clouds swirled outside.  Weather had changed from the calm and clear conditions we had on Iztaccíhuatl to cloudy and cool here on Orizaba.  We packed the same equipment we needed on our previous climb and got a few hours of sleep in preparation for our summit attempt.

Clouds had partially dissipated revealing stars and an almost full moon.  The team made a final check of equipment then began with headlamps on.  The route begins by picking a way through a trail lined with volcanic rock.  After a couple hours of climbing we reached continuous snow that required ice axe/crampons and divided into two rope teams led by SMI guides April Mayhew and Kurt Wedberg.  Our route continued through a labyrinth of snow and volcanic rocks that led to the final 2000’/610m of climbing.  Here the route opens up to the Jamapa Glacier that wraps around Orizaba’s flanks of this classic cone shaped dormant volcano.  Above we saw evidence of high winds as cloud banks repeatedly swelled and shrank over the summit crater.  Temperatures dropped significantly as we climbed into a steady cold wind that the open glacier offered no protection from.  Adding windbreakers, heavy gloves, goggles, and eventually our puffy down parkas our team took careful deliberate steps in the crunchy snow.  Conditions on the glacier made for secure footing with our crampons as the sun rose and cast a shadow over the rural Mexican farm fields far below.  We would stay in shade until reaching the crater rim which presented the challenges of keeping our feet and hands warm.  Cutting switchbacks for our route offered is the opportunity to continuously switch which hand held our ice axes, which helped us warm each free hand since the cold from our ice axes was conducting through our gloves.  Each team member did an excellent job adjusting to the challenging conditions and as we crested on to the crater rim we were greeted by the warming rays of direct sunlight.  Here we took a food/water break and applied sunscreen before traversing around the crater rim to its highest point.  The location of the summit gave us a respite from the brunt of the wind which allowed us a few minutes to take pictures and enjoy the view from the 3rd highest point in North America that we reached at 9:00am on 11-11-11!

Temperatures warmed for us on the descent and we were back to Piedra Grande by 11:40am.  Our drivers took us back to Tlachichuca for showers and a nice meal.  On Saturday we drove back towards Mexico City by way of the Teotihuacan pyramids.  It is always nice to learn about the history and culture from these exotic destinations we visit on SMI international expeditions.

A big congratulations to the entire team on two great climbs on Mexico’s Volcanoes:  John Baer, Lloyd Charton, Miriam Diaz, Mickey Jojola, April Mayhew, Rick Piette, and Kurt Wedberg.

A few pictures are below.  The entire photo gallery can be found here: Mexico’s Volcanoes November 4-13, 2011.

The National Palace on one side of the Zocolo (Main Plaza) as seen from the Catedral Metropoliana in the center of Mexico City.

Shopping at a local market before climbing Iztaccihuatl.

Lloyd enjoying the local market in the town of Amecameca.

Fresh fruit and vegetable medley for breakfast.

The team psyched and ready to climb Iztaccihuatl.

John Baer on the approach the the high hut on Iztaccihuatl.

Mickey enjoying the approach on Iztaccihuatl.

The team on the approach to Iztaccihuatl's high hut.

Sunrise high on Iztaccihuatl.

Climbing Iztaccihuatl's beautiful ridgeline offering stunning scenery.

Rick Piette stepping out on the summit of Iztaccihuatl.

April, Mickey, John, and Miriam topping out on Iztaccihuatl.

Team summit photo on Iztaccihuatl.

El Pico de Orizaba from the town of Tlachichuca.

The team geared up and ready to climb Orizaba.

Sunrise from high on Orizaba.

Taking a break on the crater rim of Orizaba.

The team nearing the summit of Orizaba.

View of the crater rim on Orizaba.

Team photo on the summit of Orizaba. Congratulations team!!

Tanzanian Orphanage Visit June 26, 2011

Steve and Sarah helped distribute dollies at the Kilimanjaro Orphanage.

As has become customary on our Africa trips we pay a visit to at least one orphanage.  HIV and AIDS is still a very big issue in Africa and orphanages are overflowing with kids who’s parents have fallen victim to this epidemic.  What little SMI can do to bring a little cheer into these kids lives we feel very humbled and honored to be able to do.  Sarah MacDonald and Steve Schumm joined SMI guides April Mayhew and Kurt Wedberg for this visit.  As we did with our visit in February we brought with us hand made dolls courtesy of Cindy Simon and a group of talented ladies who sew these to distribute to kids all over the world.  A big thank you to Cindy and all the ladies who help make possible delivering these special dollies to the kids.

A few pictures are below.  The entire photo gallery including some video can be found here:

Kilimanjaro Orphanage June 26, 2011

Sarah giving out some of the dollies.

Kurt handing out dollies to some of the kids.

Steve with one of the kids at the orphanage.

One of the kids with her new dollies.

The children and their new dollies. Each dollie is unique and sewn by hand.

After our visit kids always follow us when we leave.

April getting her bicep workout courtesy of one this child.

See you next time. Our next trip is in January / February 2012!!

East African Safari June 21-25, 2011

After a highly successful and emotional climb of Kilimanjaro the team then ventured off on a game viewing safari.  We offer safari’s as part of a package with our Kilimanjaro climbs.  They are always fun and they never disappoint.  Since animal behavior is never completely predictable it is always a treat to watch the days unfold.  The only thing we know is that we will get to view some of the most legendary wildlife on our planet.  We visited Lake Manyara, the Ngorongoro Crater, the Serengeti, and Olduvai Gorge.  We also visited a Masai Village.  Below are a few pictures highlighting some of our animal sightings.  The entire photo gallery can be found here:

Safari June 21-25, 2011

Dik Dik's - the smallest of all the antelopes.

Thompson's Gazella



Topi in the Serengeti.

Male and female impalas in the Serengeti.

There are over 1100 bird species in East Africa.  We see many on safari.  Here are a few of them:

Grey Crowned Crane

Augur Buzzard

Egyptian Goose

Cory Bustard Bird. The largest flying bird in the world.

Male ostrich

Hildebrandt's Starling

Supurb Starling

Black Rhino. The rhino population has been decimated by hunters and poachers. The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the few places where they can still be seen. There are currently 26 living in the Ngorongoro Crater.

Cape buffalos

African elephants

Teenage elephants playing in the Serengeti.

When eating Masai Giraffe's use their long tongue to wrap around thorny acacia trees

Masai Giraffe's in the Serengeti.

Hippos in the Serengeti.

A lioness resting in the tall grass.

A pride of lions in the Ngorongoro Crater.

A lioness in a tree at the Ngorongoro Crater.

Spotted hyena mother and her offspring.

Cheetah in the Serengeti.

Kilimanjaro June 2011 Wrap Up

6:45 AM June 19, 2011 - On the summit of Kilimanjaro.

This is a summary of our recently completed Kilimanjaro climb written by Kurt Wedberg.

Our June Kilimanjaro trip was another great success.  The climbers included people from Canada and from both coasts on the USA.  Some were new to the SMI experience and others were long time friends.  Sunniva Sorby and Kurt Wedberg both have roots with Adventure 16 Outdoor and Travel Outfitters where both were introduced to the outdoor industry.  Sunniva has since traveled the world as a lecturer, explorer, adventurer, and guide.  She gathered together a group of ladies to raise money and awareness for kids in Africa affected by AIDS.  Also joining us were several friends of SMI who have all been on trips with us in the past.  Team members included:  Rosemary Berard, Kelly Dunfee, Barbara Falco, Jody Foster, Bettina Hiniker-Breckenfeld, Shena Hinks, Sarah MacDonald, John Risickella, Steve Schumm, Sunniva Sorby, Kathleen Urdahl, and Margaret Webb.  Joining this group were SMI guides Karsten Delap, April Mayhew, and Kurt Wedberg.

Everybody who started on this trip made it all the way to the summit and back down… that’s 15 out of 15 to the summit!!!  A big congratulations to everybody on a job well done!!

Below are a few pictures from the climb.  The rest of the pictures can be found here:

Kilimanjaro June 2011

The team at the park gate ready to go!!

Jody, Rosie, Margaret, April, and Kelly hiking through the jungle trail on Day 1.

The Kilimanjaro Impatients. The jungles on Kilimanjaro are the only place in the world this flower grows.

Shena, Kathleen, and crew hiking through the jungle on day 1.

Kelly, Sunniva, BArbara, and Bettina are all smiles upon getting their first glimpse of Kilimanjaro on day 2.

Helichrysum flower. There are severaly types of these "everlastings" on Kilimanjaro.

Barbara and Jody enjoying the day 2 hike.

Sunniva and Kurt with the summit of Kilimanjaro poking through the clouds.

"Sista Sarah" enjoying one of the many dramatic views Kilimanjaro offers.

The team arriving at Barranco Camp 12,926'/3940m at the end of day 2.

The team assembled in the dining tent. From left to right: Sunniva, Battina, Margaret, Kelly, Steve, John, Karsten, April, Rosie, Barbara, Jody, Kathleen, and Shena.

A porter starting off on day 3 from camp.

John ready to start off on day 3. John went on the first international trip SMI ran to Mexico's Volcanoes and has been a good friend of SMI ever since.

Giant Senacio trees at 13,000'/3962m.

Climbing the Barranco Wall.

Shena, Kathleen, and Karsten topping out on Barranco Wall at 14,000'/4267m.

Kurt and April on top of Barranco Wall with the Heim Glacier and Kilimanjaro's summit dome behind.

Steve is all smiles high above the clouds on top of Barranco Wall.

The team poses for a group photo next to a grove of Giant Senacio trees.

Traversing along the moonscape on the flanks of Kilimanjaro en route to Karanga Camp.

Climbing out of Karanga Valley the last hill before our next camp.

The team arrives at Karanga Camp 12,893'/3930m.

The Big Dipper above Kilimanjaro. The star show every night is always a blessing to see.

The team starts climbing to high camp.

Steve, Margaret, John, Shena, and Kathleen focused and psyched to move to high camp.

April and Karsten en route to high camp.

Headlamps on in the tents as the team wakes up for summit day!

Tea time before starting off on summit day!!

The group's string of headlamps light up a pristine crisp night under a blanket of stars.

The team pacing themselves well in the wee hours of the night.

The team catching the view of sunrise from the east as it casts it's glow over the Africa plains far below.

Traversing around the crater rim of Kilimanjaro. The summit is the highest point in the distance.

Summit photo. 100% to the highest point on the African continent: 19,340'/5895m

Congratulations team on a job well done!!!!

Another trip of a lifetime on safari!

Our Kilimanjaro team got down from the mountain and had a great celebration dinner in Moshi on June 20.  The following day we headed out in three Land Rovers for a game viewing safari.  One day was spent at one of the seven natural wonders of the world when we toured the impressive Ngorongoro Crater.  We also spent two nights in the infamous Serengeti Plains, plus visited Lake Manyara, which is famous for its diverse bird populations and lions who climb trees, and experienced Olduvai Gorge where numerous fossils of extinct animals are still being discovered.

A more comprehensive report is forthcoming.  In the meantime we wanted to share a couple quick photos highlighting a couple of our animal sightings:

Above : A lioness in the trees, June 25, 2011.

Below : A cheetah in the Serengeti, June 24, 2011.

Summit Success on Kilimanjaro!

On June 19 our entire team reached the summit of Kilimanjaro (19,340’/5895m) at 6:45am led by SMI guides Karsten Delap, April Mayhew, and Kurt Wedberg.

Everybody returned safely and had a nice celebration dinner on June 20.  The team is now headed out on a game viewing safari for a few days.

We will have more details about this very memorable climb upon our return from safari.  Thank you everybody for all your prayers and good thoughts!