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 (www.bigcitymountaineers.org).  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!!

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