The Team practices pole pole pace on their ascent to Shira Camp and John Hauf sends out a heartfelt message of gratitude to Team Members this season on Kili


Hi, this is Alpine Ascents Kilimanjaro Guide John Hauf calling in. We’re up at our Shira Camp here on the second day of our current climb.

I don’t know if any of the other folks that I’ve had the pleasure to climb with this season will listen to any of these cybercasts or not. But if you are, I just want to thank you because I’ve had a great time with you all so far. It really has been an enjoyable set of trips this year and it’s nice to have met you all, it’s nice to have learned from you all, and it’s nice to have shared climbing the mountain together.

Our current group is ensconced in their tents here. We got to Shira Camp about, I don’t know, 45 minutes ago, got washed up some with some nice warm water in washbasins, and folks are sort of relaxing now a little bit. We made good time today. We left early and managed to stay ahead of a couple of big groups.

Folks did well today; they started listening to my “pole pole” mantra of going more slowly, so we did a little bit of a more rhythmic pace today. It’s hard for some folks, because you know you want to press against the mountain, and start breathing hard, get your heart going a little bit, but in reality that doesn’t serve you up higher on the mountain. What serves you is finding a way to keep a consistent pace which keeps your heart rate down, keeps your respiratory rate down and which you can do for hours at a time. So people did well today getting that under their belt, and we got a little more practice ahead of us before we have to put it to the test on summit day.

Shira Camp – great, it’s a lovely day! There’s actually a little bit of warmth from the sun up here at the camp, although down below us is this lovely carpet of white clouds stretched out all across the plains. Sometimes there’s some holes in them and we can see some fields and what not below, but not today, it’s pretty much covering the whole thing. And then off in the distance there, off towards Arusha town from where we came, we can see the volcano of Mount Meru sticking up through it. Always a beautiful camp here!

Yeah, folks are doing well. We’re likely going to have some popcorn. I pulled out a deck of cards; maybe we’ll play a game that I learned from some folks earlier on in the season and see how I do. I didn’t do too well against them, I gotta say. But we’re all doing well. Folks send their greetings. And we’ll give you a call from our next camp tomorrow, which is Barranco Camp. Take care.

Arriving at our camp on the Shira Plateau.

Posted in Dispatches | Tagged

The 9/10 Team headed out from Arusha to the mountain with some warm weather and glimpses of the mountain from Machame Camp


Hi, this is John Hauf the Alpine Ascents Kilimanjaro Guide. We’ve started another climb today with some folks coming on from The Arusha Hotel in downtown Arusha at the Clocktower which is evidently halfway between north and south of Africa (northernmost and southernmost points of Africa) and come over to the Machame Gate.

We started the climb at about 1800 meters or so yesterday. It looked like it might sprinkle on us because down low as we were crossing through the cultivated lands surrounding the mountain and the park, it was sprinkling a bit. But lo and behold, it all cleared up on us and we were able to go up through the day about a thousand meters without any rain. Very enjoyable temperatures, you can tell the season is changing a little bit; it’s warming up and even the sun had a little bit of force to it.

Folks are going really well, wanting to go a little too fast. I always tell people that it’s not how quickly you go that determines your success on Kilimanjaro rather how slowly you can go, but it’s hard to reign folks in that first day everybody’s so excited and all, so we let some speed build up but not too much, we don’t want to create bad habits.

So folks, we left at about I guess 11:30 or so and were up at camp by about 4 o’clock. Had some popcorn and tea, sat around and chatted and laughed a little bit in our dining tent, and then eventually had dinner. When the clouds settled out with the cold of the evening, we got a glimpse of the higher mountain which was very nice and then again this morning.

People are healthy and happy, doing well and send their greetings. And we’ll give you a call from our next camp. Bye bye.


Posted in Dispatches | Tagged

The Crew summits Kilimanjaro with a lovely moon to light the way to the top!


Hi, this is John with the Kilimanjaro Crew. I am happy to report that everybody is in fact down safely from the summit and we’re all in our High Camp.

We got down, I guess, stretching from 9 o’clock to about 10:15 or so, so pretty early descent for everybody. Was a pretty nice day; it didn’t end up getting that cold in the end, except for right on the rim from Stella Point over to Uhuru Peak, which is the high point of the climb and of the volcano. It’s not unusual to be a little windy up there. It’s a long way no matter how you cut it – whether it’s a good day, whether it’s a bad day, whether the weather is a little warmer, whether the weather’s a little cooler. A fair number of folks, but they were mainly in a couple of British groups of school kids who were here all together, groups of about fifty folks all doing the climb together.

So we managed to keep ourselves more or less together pretty much all the way on up to the top. We got to Stella Point at about 10 minutes before 6. And we had a lovely, lovely moon throughout the climb and that really helped a lot in terms of just footing, and seeing where we were going, and enjoying the view of the snow and the ice and the Rebmann Glacier and all.

Yeah, so folks did very, very well. It’s tough at some moments for everybody on the climb, so I’m sure everyone will have their stories. But folks did really well, enjoyed the summit, and we’re now down in camp and getting ourselves ready for heading on down to Mweke, which will be another couple hour hike on down. I’m sure folks are eager to share their stories and some of their summit pictures as well. Bye bye.


Posted in Dispatches | Tagged

Team Members feast then send messages to loved ones back home after ascending a cold Barranco Wall


Hi, this is John with Alpine Ascents Kilimanjaro Crew. We have a little issue going on right now – none of us can move after the lunch we just ate! But I figure in half an hour or so, we’ll be able to get ourselves rolling out of the dining tent again and on off to our sleeping tents.

We had a great morning going up the Barranco Wall. Everybody popped out of the bed and got themselves ready. We zipped on up still in the cold, but managed to get up to some sunshine and hang out for a little bit at our high point.

Everybody’s sitting here at the dining table and has a few words to say for folks back home:

“All is well from Carol and George.”

“Mom, Dad, it’s Kal, your son. Love ya.” (laughter in background)

“Mom, Dad, it’s Dave. I forgot all my underwear and I’ve been going commando the whole time, thought it would be bad but it isn’t. Love you, see ya.” (more laughter in background)

“Hey Carrie, it’s Darrel. Kili’s going great. I’m not coming home. See ya.” (more laughter in background)

“This is Lynn, having a great time.” (squeal followed by cheers in background)

“Hey everybody, it’s Erik. Have a good weekend.”

“Hey, it’s Wendy. Mom and Dad, brothers, sisters, (indistinguishable word) doing great. Thanks for checking in and thanks for all the prayers. Love you and see you at the top!”

“This is Mary from New York City and I’m having a fabulous time. I’m never coming back.” (chuckles in background)

“This is Andrew, enjoying the climb. Talk to you soon, bye.” (transmission choppy)

“Hi Jack and Gordon, (indistinguishable word) made it to Day 4.”

“Getting higher – Hugh.” (laughter in background)

“This is John here. Hello Katya, Ethan, and Nathaniel. I’m doing well, hope you’re all doing well. Love you all. Bye.”

Alright, that’s the Crew here. We’re leaving our camp tomorrow, heading on up to our High Camp, where we’ll have a dinner, have another meal, and then the front of the line’s going to be moving out at midnight towards the summit. We’ll give a call just as soon as we’re back from the top. Bye bye.


Posted in Dispatches | Tagged

After ascending to lunch by a wet Lava Tower, the Team descends to Barranco Camp to acclimatize at the same altitude as Shira Camp


Hi, this is John with the Kilimanjaro Alpine Ascents Expedition. We’re here at our Camp at Barranco. Sort of another misty evening; sort of been the M.O. for this trip. Not too much rain or anything like that, but just sort of clouds/mist coming in and out and always obscuring the view. Just when you think you got a view, the clouds come on in and block it out for you.

Everybody did very well today. We had a nice long ascent, slow throughout the morning, came up about 800 meters or so to Lava Tower. We had lunch just below Lava Tower, sort of in a nice little spot by ourselves where there aren’t other groups coming and going. And then continued on up to the Tower itself but, as only happens once in a great, great while, it was a little too windy and blowy and wet for us to go on up Lava Tower today. So we hung out up there for a little while and then headed on down to our camp.

Our camp tonight is at about same elevation that the camp was last night, so that will be good for acclimatization. Folks are in the dining tent playing cards and I think I can smell dinner being prepared in one of the dining tents, the cook tent.

Tomorrow we’re going to head on up the Barranco Wall, which is a sort of a little bit steeper trail with a tiny bit of scrambling on it. At the start it looks, you know, like a big deal but once you get on it, it’s laid back and is actually a pretty neat path that goes all the way up the far side of the valley from where we are here.

Everybody’s healthy and doing well, sends their greetings. And we’ll give a call from Karanga Camp, which is our destination for tomorrow.


Posted in Dispatches | Tagged

Misty rain, popcorn, and recovered luggage on the way for our climbers as they arrive at Shira Camp


Hi, this is John calling in with our Alpine Ascents Kilimanjaro Expedition. We’re up here at our next camp, we’re at the Shira Camp, sort of edge of the Shira Plateau. “Shira” is one of the cones on Kilimanjaro that blew up years and years ago and filled in the space between itself and Kibo which is the main cone that everybody sees from afar, sort of filled it in and flattened it out.

We went through some mist and rain today throughout the day. You get up about halfway in elevation and then have lunch at a little flat spot. We set up a tent today since it was misting; some people called it rain, I called it heavy mist but you know that’s splitting hairs I guess. The thing is that we’ve just been enjoying some popcorn in camp and some tea and the mist all of a sudden lowered on down. It’s literally about, I don’t know, a hundred feet below us — keeps wanting to rise back up and come back down. But had a good day, everybody did great. There’s just a tiny bit of scrambling on today. A few eyes got big, but then once everybody got on it they realized that it was well within their capabilities.

We got good news on our lost luggage and that’s hopefully on it’s way; in fact, it should be here within an hour or two. Got it brought up to one of the other roadheads and it’s coming in with a porter. So that was good news for everybody involved.

Yeah, folks seem to be doing quite well. We’re happy. We’re going to enjoy a bit of a rest this afternoon since we got in so early and then we’ll be on our way tomorrow up to our next camp, Barranco Camp. That’s all for now.


Posted in Dispatches | Tagged

The 9/1 Team ascended in the mist to singing and dancing at Machame Camp


Hi, this is John, the Guide for our Alpine Ascents Kilimanjaro Expedition. We started off our expedition today with our hike up from the Machame Gate. We got out about 11 o’clock or so. We had just a few little things that don’t usually occur on our morning, including a set of lost luggage unfortunately. That used to happen, years and years ago, that used to happen somewhat regularly, but I got to say, of late the airlines, especially KLM, have been very, very good and it’s pretty rare that somebody doesn’t get their bags. But it happened this time with Ethiopia Air and so we sort of scrambled, and everybody was very nice in terms of donating some extra gear. And then we got a few other things from one of our local partners.

So got out and moseyed on away from the Gate about 11 o’clock, got up halfway into the forest and stopped for a little bit of lunch. Sort of a misty day, not really rainy, but definitely not clear; the mist sort of got thicker and thinner throughout the day. We continued on after lunch and got into camp pretty good time, probably about 4:30 or so. The crew came out and greeted us singing and dancing which is always a nice surprise for folks and very much appreciated on our part.

Everybody seems to be doing just fine and we’re going to have some popcorn and tea here and then a little bit later some dinner and then be off to bed and ready for our climb tomorrow. We’re hoping to get good news about the lost luggage so that we can get it in and get our guest all set with it. We’ll give a ring from our next camp.


Posted in Dispatches | Tagged