Saturday, 12 March 2011

Dorset Rough Riders!

Nice Saturday ride taking in Gabby's Goodies... Cheers for leading Robin.

Kilimanjaro Trek 2011 - Day 5

Day 5

Summit day has arrived and in the darkness we pack our
belongings, have a quick breakfast and set off. The altitude is already
affecting our heads and we shuffle like zombies following only the
light of the head torch of the person in front. We climb scree for what
seems like a lifetime. Zigzagging back and forth up the scree slope
gaining incredible height over a short distance. Occasionally you
look up only to see lines of head torches above you blending into the
stars of the night sky. Over each rocky outcrop you hope to make out
the top of the climb but instead more head torches of other climbers
mark the way in the distance. Six hours later and when the sun has
started to rise we reach Stella point (5750m) and feel a combination
of relief, exhaustion and altitude sickness. As the warm sun fills you
with some energy we hope it will be enough to reach the summit.
At this height you can see the enormity of the Volcano crater and
the steep walls of the glacier to the left. The views are breathtaking
if somewhat over shadowed by the altitude sickness and nervous
anticipation of another hour walk to the summit. After a short break
we pull ourselves back to our feet and start making our way to the
summit. We eventually have the small wooden sign at the summit
in view and stumble ever closer and eventually reach the highest
point in Africa and the top of the tallest free standing mountain
in the world – Uhuru summit 5896m.

After some tears of joy and
exhaustion and some photos we start to make our way back down the
same gruelling route we set out on some 7 hours before.
At this stage we are on autopilot and the only reason we are still
walking is because there is no other way down. Four hours later
we are back at Barafu camp, completely and utterly exhausted and
barely able to put one foot in front of the other. The scree slope is
loose and takes it toll on your knees but WE DID IT!
Not quite though as after a couple of hours rest we set off again
to reach Millennium camp (3000m) before dark. On our descent
we have amazing views of the plains and Mawenzi, kilimanjaro’s
secondary but more technical peak.
Millennium camp is a blur. After a well-earned meal we all soon go to
bed and I don’t think I have ever slept so deeply.

Northern Exposure - Home from Home

Friday, 11 March 2011

Kilimanjaro Trek 2011 - Day 4

Day 4

We start by descending in the great Barranco, a huge ravine
but soon exit steeply to start the climb up the Barranco wall, which
divides us from the South-eastern slopes of Kibo. The climb is mainly
single file but the porters soon once again greet us. They race past us
on what seems like impossible terrain with such heavy kit to carry.
Passing underneath the Heim and Kersten glaciers, we head towards
the Karanga valley, which is our last water stop before the summit.
Scree now forms the terrain as we walk through arid and desolate
land towards Barafu camp. Eventually we arrive after walking for 10
hours or more and settle at a height of 4600m. The rest is short lived
though! Summit day is ahead and after a brief from our guides it is
decided that we will be up at midnight and will set of for the summit
at 1am.

Northern Exposure - Rubble Ice

Rubble Ice
10 Mar, 11 - 23:55
74.4556N, 95.3732W
This morning started largely how yesterday had finished; again we were faced with, what looked like, miles and miles of rubble ice (effectively a boulder field of ice). We took it in turns to lead, picking the best route we could fathom, it wasn't easy.

By early afternoon we were through the rubble and on flat ice. With absolutely no shelter and relative lack of snow tonight, we have an interesting campsite should the wind pick up.

Now we are onto better ice, our days should get longer with better milage gained. But we are governed by the sun as we are still early in the season with most Mag Pole trips taking place in Apr. But slow and steady has to be the name of the game.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Northern Exposure - Slow and Steady

After a disturbed and cold nights sleep we listened to the wind still blowing and decided we did need to ski today. Tired from waking every hour thinking the tent was going to be blown away, we got up and within 2 hours were skiing. The plan today was to ski for 5 hours, but after an hour the weather improved. But skiing across Allen Bay was as much about route finding as moving forward. The rubble ice makes movement difficult, and we are learning lots already. Although not what we came here for, already we are learning this is going to be a challenge and a long slow plod.

Kilimanjaro Trek 2011 - Day 3

Day 3

Day three starts at below freezing temperatures and
upon exiting our tents we brush off the ice from the exterior.
The landscape is now more exposed and the lack of vegetation
is becoming more apparent. We traverse the Southwest side of
Kilimanjaro what seems more slowly than ever. Even at snails
pace walking, the altitude becomes more and more apparent as
even taking a few sips from my camelback causes me to gasp for
air after swallowing. The now Lunar type landscape is interrupted
by the chance to make our way to the top of the lava tower but
cloud obscures the view at the top. At this stage we are at a height
of 4600m but are soon to descend to height of 3900m, following the
mountaineering code of ‘walk height, sleep low’. We meander or way
down to slightly greener slopes and one of the few rivers on the route
and arrive at the Barranco Hut. Here we see what lies ahead on the
following day. From a distance you can just make out the path up the
Great Barranco Wall. We settle down feeling somewhat better for the
drop in altitude.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Salisbury Endurance Expo. Come along, it's free!

Fueled by Mule - Dan's blogs

Northern Exposure - Off at last

Off at last

9 Mar, 11 - 00:13
74.4056N, 95.0431W
1.Day / Date - 8 Mar 11
2.Position – 74 40 56.2N 95 04 31.2W
3.Hours of work - 4
4.Wind Direction - everywhere
5.Temp Celsius - -34C
6.Daily Log – Matt / Jules

So we have started, not to where we had planned but now to the Magnetic North Pole. We have given ourselves 32 days to ski the distance, and these first few days will see us ski away from oyr destination. Also having done nothing for nearly 2 weeks, we will take these firstbfew days steady.

Thank you for all the messages of support over the last few days they have been very apprecaited. So different journry but still a challenge - as I write this the tent is being battered by a strong wind. Just our luck!

Maps to mark and diary to write - another update tomorrow.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Kilimanjaro Trek 2011 - Day 2

Day 2

After porridge and toast, we set off again through the slowly
diminishing forest until we are at the steep ascent on the Shira
Plateau, where there are spectacular views of the mountain. Looking
back you can see Mt Meru rising above Arusha town. The route all
the time narrowing and becoming dispersed with boulders and more
obstacles. Even at this stage we all in awe of the porters. They pack up
the entire camp after we finish breakfast and before long are passing
us with not only their own sparse kit but also 20kg of camp gear on
their heads. They pass effortlessly in less than adequate kit and some
even in flip-flops! After 6 hours we reach our second camp at Shira
caves at a height of 3840M. It is at this point that I realise why we
walk slowly as I have over exerted myself and I am really feeling
the effects of the altitude. A combination of a banging headache and
a feeling of a bad hangover and sickness overcome me and I really
hope that I don’t continue to feel this way for the rest of the trek! I
go to bed early with no evening meal and hope that I adjust to the
altitude by the morning.

Kilimanjaro Trek 2011 - Day 1

Will and Chris take on the challenge of Kilimanjaro... serialised here in 6 Days...

Day 1

Upon arrival at the gates of kilimanjaro we are immediately
faced with the enormity of the task ahead. Over 50 porters crowd the
gates, waiting to carry the entire camp for the next six days. After
officially signing into the park we soon set off. We are on the first
stage of the Machame route and the trek starts extremely slowly
being led by our guide Jimmy. Later on day two I realise why we
move slowly! We continue to climb steeply through humid rain
forest until lunchtime where we stop for a quick pack lunch. Soon we
set off again and after aproximately six hours of walking we reach
Machame camp and are already at 3100m above sea level. The jungle
at this stage is less dense and the tree height has shortened to expose
more scrubland and glimpses of views across green valleys. After
camp formalities and our first hot meal on the mountain, we chat for
a while then make our way to bed (in a tent that is!).


Matt Willis

Sent from my mobile saddle

Monday, 7 March 2011

More pics from Mule Scott's adventures....

Check out Check out the Niner too...

Off to the sunny Cape again... for the second time "The World Famous Team... ." hit the Epic

Sunday, 6 March 2011

One less car!