Journal: Kilimanjaro

In Africa
June 14,08

A big hello from Africa
I have arrived in Tanzanian and find myself at the Keys Hotel just out side of a town called Moshi . The ride from the airport took 40 min. What a difference from Amsterdam to Tanzania. The people, sounds and smell, even in the dark I could feel the landscape had changed. Checked into my room, the bed is small with a net overhead to keep out the mosquito's but very comfortable and the people are all very nice. Yesterday I went into the town of Moshi and took lots of photos what a crazy place. Today it is raining here but I am heading out to do some exploring anyway. 


Tanzania and Kilimanjaro "Just The Facts"

Tanzania has a population of over 26 million with 120 African ethnic groups, none of which represent more than 10 per cent of the population through virtually everyone speaks Swahili.

Kilimanjaro Machame route is situated south of the equator-in Tanzania at a height of 19,300ft this is Africa's highest mountain and the highest free standing mountain in the would. Huge permanent glaciers flow down from the summit.

The first boot prints on top were by Hans Meyer and L Purtscheller in 1889.

Kilimanjaro while non-technical is very high and must be taken seriously At one point on the climb we will cross the breach wall with some pretty steep scrambling in a few places. Climbers are at a health risk from altitude . You should always be aware of your limits and your environment. 


Everyone is here
June 17/08 

Last night the last of the team arrived and thankfully with all their gear. As we sat around the table for a late night supper you could tell that we were a colorful bunch. Everyone was happy and excited to be here. Look,s like a great team. Today was a rest day we sorted out our climbing gear, tomorrow we will be up early for the short drive to the the trail head where we will start our hike to the mountain. I am feeling fine and look forward to the days ahead. For the first time sense I arrived the clouds parted and gave our team a sight to behold Mt Kilimanjaro and she is beautiful. I take this as a good omen.

Altitude 9,330ft
June 18/08 

My day started early at 5:30 am. After a good nights sleep I sprang out of bed and packed my gear by 6:35 I was standing at the hotel lobby with a coffee in my hand and waiting for the team. 
Soon we would be bouncing down the road to the park gate of Kilimanjaro. The ride would take us 40 min.. By 10:30 we were registered and on our way. The altitude at the park gate is 5450ft. As I hiked up through the rain forests at times I felt cold and damp. It had rained hard the night before and the canopy above is thick with vegetation and it held on to last nights rain. The bit of sky that you could see was dark and Grey. By 4:43 we were at our first camp of the trip at a altitude of 9.330ft. We all sat around the mess tent for supper and fell into a conversation with each other . The day has went very well.

I still feel a bit cold so I put hot water in my water bottle's and tucked them into my sleeping bag. 


Camp two
June 19/08 

I slept well last night and woke up at 4:30. I stayed in my sleeping bag till after 5 and then heated up some water and gave myself a shave. The mist hung low over the rain forests again today due to all the rain we have had but everyone at breakfast was in high spirits. We took down our tents and by 8:22 we were on our way. Today I felt stronger than yesterday and as we gained altitude the dark sky opened up to blue skies. As we emerged from the rain forests the vegetation changed all around us with beautiful views in every direction. We climbed to an altitude of 12:040ft and then dropped back down to 11:940ft to camp two for the night .We arrived at 2:40pm. It is very windy here but the sun is shining. It is 7:17 now and I am back into my sleeping bag. The wind has picked up speed and the temperature has dropped and I feel very cold and my head is pounding.The team is working great together 
Tomorrow will come soon.

A cold night
June 20/08 

Last night the fabric of my shelter was being pulled in different directions as if some mythical beast were trying to blow my tent away with me in it. As I scrambled deep into my sleeping bag cold came in and laid beside me. It would not release its grip until the sun came out in the morning . 

At 6 am I started packing for the days hike/scramble. By 8:30 were on our way. I could feel the warmth of the sun penetrating every pore of my body as we worked our way to camp three. We would scramble to an altitude of 14,630ft crossing beautiful plateaus before dropping to camp three at 12,370 ft. We arrived at 4:48 and not a ounce of wind. Today we had great weather .

The team is really working well together.


A good day of scrambling
June 21/08 

After a good nights sleep I rolled out of my sleeping bag at 6:30. With a close shave and a fresh pair of socks I started my day. Today would be a short day for our team and a latter than normal start. By 9:22 under blue skies we departed camp three. After much scrambling up some cool rock we would find ourselves in the Karanga valley heading towards camp four at an altitude of 12,530 ft .We arrived at 1:50. Not much gain in altitude but a lot of going up then down. From here its up and up. 
The team is really working well together. Today was a great day


On our summit bid
June 22/08 

Like a cork in a wine bottle at 5:58 I popped out of bed. With blue skies overhead we had some breakfast packed our gear and by 9am we were on our way towards our last camp. It would be a little like yesterday up and down and then up again. We arrived at camp four at 12:04 at an altitude of 14,480ft . It is from here that we will make our summit bid. Everyone is in their tents trying to rest. At 11pm tonight we will have something to eat and by 12am we will start climbing. It will be a long night. I am feeling great and look forward to the challenge that the mountain will bring. 

Edward Whymper once said
There have been joys too great to be described in words, and there have been grief's upon which I have not dared to dwell: and with these in mind I say: Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste: look well to each step: and from beginning think what may be the end.

The team has worked very hard to be here at this altitude but its the porters that that need to be thanked. With their support we have eaten well our tents are up on our arrival from camp to camp and they help in caring the gear. I must say that all of my camera gear, satellite equipment, Pda clothes and much more I carried in my own pack even the porters though it was heavy.

For our team to have success everyone is a link in that chain. We would not have success without the porters.

All the best to my team mates tonight .I say to the summit and safe return.


I am very grateful for all of their hard work. Thank you.

Summit day
June 23/08 

Yesterday afternoon I awoke to high winds and fell back to sleep. At 10pm I slipped from sleeping bag to a climbers dream weather forecast. The night was windless and the sky was peppered with stars. As I sat in the dark with a cup of tea in my hand I thought about tonight's climb and my fellow climbers. At 10:50 I went around to every ones tent and called out to them. We had some tea and a little to eat and by 12:04 we were on our way. The air was crisp and I felt a little cold as we gained altitude. I knew that soon the sun would be coming up and that I would soon feel her warmth. What a spectacular sun rise. We climbed higher and would come to the crater rim called Stella point from here it would take another 40min. At 9:03am I was standing on my six summit at an altitude of 19,340 ft. Out of the eleven climbers that started six would make it to the summit . Project : 7 Summits could not and would not happen without the Sponsors and for them I will be for ever grateful .

In a few days I will give a climbing update and tie the last few days, till then take care.


Thank you for your support
June 29/08 

From Africa to the Himalayas and all around the world . I am often asked why is my back pack so heavy. Well the truth is I carry a lot of technical equipment from a sattalight phone to pdas, photographic gear and a solar blanket to keep everything charged. As a climber I am often faced with the harshest of weather. It can be -40 below to pouring rain and in that environment all the equipment that I am carrying is protected by Pelican cases. I would like to say thank you to my extended family at Pelican and a thank you to Oakley for supplying the eye wear.

July 14/08 

As I stood on the summit of Kilimanjaro and my six of the seven summits. The highest mountain on each continent I was very aware that the job at hand was only half done. Getting to the summit is the goal and the objective but getting back down safety is the success. As I stood on the summit I felt very grateful for all the sponsor's and other individuals who helped make this happen Without their support I simply would not be there. Standing on the summit the air was crisp and the skies, they were a beautiful blue. I took lots of photos and after about half an hour our team started the descent down . The descent went well. I arrived at base camp ahead of the others at 12:06pm. When everyone was down safety we all sat down to some much needed food. Everyone was very tired but after lunch we started packing and soon we were on the trail heading down. By late afternoon in the pouring rain one by one we arrived at our camp ground , exhausted and totally wet but happy. We had 39 people in support of our team of 11 climbers, some were guides, cooks and porters carrying the gear that was needed for our success. We could not have had success without them. Each and every one of them were a link in that chain. We had some beers sent up from the Key's hotel to thank the porters, and in the dark with our head lights on with a light mist falling we called out their names one by one. As we thanked them and shook their hands I felt humbled and very happy to be in this moment .I will always remember that night. Part two of the descent tomorrow.


Kilimanjaro "Our last night on the mountain"
July 15/08 

As I walked back to my tent I reflected on the days gone by and how everyone had worked so hard. This would be our last night together on Kilimanjaro. As I reached for the zipper on my tent I turned around and from the glow of my light I could see the other tents, it had been a long day for everyone. As I slipped into my sleeping bag exhaustion took over and I was fast to sleep . We were up early the next morning and started packing for the days hike. The rain had stopped sometime during the night but as we started hiking down it started again with a vengeance. The mountain would not release its grip on us that easy. By the end of the day at the end of the trail the rain had stopped as if by magic. One by one the porters were paid and as we were saying our good-byes they started singing the Kilimanjaro song that to will always be a special moment. Out of the eleven climbers that started six would make it to the summit of Kilimanjaro but everyone succeeded at doing there best. We meet as strangers and through the hardships of the mountain became friends and a strong team. I have walked away a better man for the experience that I shared with each and everyone of them. 


Up Next: Vinson Massif Climb

Hi everyone and thank you for following along on my climb on Kilimanjaro, for your e-mails and kind words of encouragement. I have now successively climbed six of the seven summits, the highest mountain on each continent. Less than two hundred people in the world have achieved this goal and less than a dozen Canadian's. In November of this year I will be heading to Antarctica for what I think will be an exciting time. I am still looking for a select few sponsors to participate in the successful completion of my 7 Summits * expedition. These sponsors and their employees will have a special window into my world as a high altitude climber as I attempt the final summit, Mount Vinson in Antarctica.

Mount Vinson is the highest mountain of Antarctica, and one of the seven summits , the highest mountain on each continent . Located about 750mi from the South Pole. The mountain is about 13 miles long and 8 miles wide. It is in the Sentinel Range of the Ellsworth Mountains, which stand above the Ronne Ice Shelf near the base of Antarctica Peninsula. The first ascent was in 1966 by Nicholas Clinch and his party. In January of 2001 a GPS reading gave the elevation of Vinson Massif to be 16,066ft .

George Mallory once said

"If you cannot understand that there is something in a man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself , upward and forever upward, then you won't see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is , after all,the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means and what life is for."


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