Outside Online: Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

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February 23
Three miles high

Two days from the summit. At 16,100 feet, the air is chilly, the climbers tired from the altitude and the trek.

The climbers will turn in early this evening, resting up for the hardest day's hike tomorrow to the summit crater. Said Peter Blomquist, "The weather is kind to us. I think it will be a very pleasant climb."

John Morgridge filed this report on Day 5 of the Climb for CARE:

"My wife and I are the two senior members of the ascent. We're reporting from the Arrow Glacier at 16,100 feet on the southwest flank of Kilimanjaro. For most of the climbers, probably three-quarters, this is a personal best in terms of altitude.

"Today we had a relatively short climb. But we took time out and summited Lava Tower and had wonderful views of our ultimate goal from the top of the tower.

The health report: We normally have two to three folks who are kind of off their feed, but fortunately it seems to get passed around. Our group overall seems to be adjusting to the altitude in excellent fashion.

"Today's fashion winner was the duck-billed marmot. This is a Marmot climbing outfit complete with a sun-nose guard fashioned out of duct tape. Probably one of the 1,000-plus uses of duct tape.

"Our ascent today, we practiced our rest step and its associated deep breathing--required for our steep, 2,400-foot climb through the Western Breach to the Summit Crater Camp tomorrow.

"The nights have become very cold. Tonight's dinner reading was the 'Cremation of Sam McGee,' by Robert Service, and was read by Robert, one of the Levitan brothers.

"The days have been delightful, particularly with the sun out. And we've had a tremendous amount of sun on this climb. Tonight, it's early to bed as we start our climb at 7 a.m. in order to avoid falling rocks going up this steep face tomorrow."

Messages that members asked to be passed along:

  • 16,000 feet. Filthy, dirty, freezing cold, super-fine! Tashia and John.
  • Cathy Sauer: Annoying cough, but otherwise doing great. (Garbled.)
  • To Allen family and Tompkins family: Learning Swahili now. Been gone too long? Love, (garbled.)
  • Greetings to everyone at iVillage. From Robert.
  • To Tom Nickels: Tell (garbled) Fischer that Elias is "super fine," and hopes that she's doing well.
  • To Mom, Warren, Dan, Paige, Dave, (garbled), Helen, Pahram, Caroline, Isabelle, Emily, Cheryl, Alexis, Rebecca, Daniel, and Tasha and Chelsea: At 16,100 feet, and going to the crater rim tomorrow. Love, Bill.
  • All systems go at 16,100 feet. Less than 3,500 feet to go. A shower and bed would be much appreciated.
  • Dear Diane: Looking forward to coming home. Miss you and the kids. Already planning a family safari. All well on the mountain. Love, Richard.
  • To the Gee family: We are inching closer to the top. It is so cold. I need a hot shower, but your cuddles more. I love you.

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