Friday, September 23, 2011

Top of Africa!

We summited Kilimanjaro on Day 6. Started walking from our camp at 15,500 feet at 11pm, reached Gilmans Point at 615am just ahead of sunrise, and reached Uhuru Peak at 805am. Everybody in our group of 8 made it; it was a struggle for two people in our group but they persevered. Jill and I both felt great, no altitude issues. The views were spectacular. Uhuru Peak, the highest point on Kilimanjaro, is at elevation 5895m.

Here is the money shot, 805am, 23 September 2011..

Friday, September 16, 2011

In Arusha

30 hours door to door, from Karla's house in Salt Lake to our hotel in Arusha. Our luggage made it but David's did not.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Static Peak

Jill and I wanted one more training mission before we head off to Kilimanjaro, and decided on Static Peak (11,303'). It is a straightforward walkup, just hike up the ridge for 15 minutes from the maintained trail at Static Peak Divide. Neither of us had been all the way there, so it was time. The weather was perfect, except for all the smoke in the air from the forest fires. Here are the obligatory summit photos...
Looking north/northwest to Buck Mountain on the left, and the Grand Teton in the distance...

Southeast over Albright Peak and the smoky Jackson Hole valley...

Timberline Lake, still frozen at 10,300'
Looking west into Alaska Basin in the distance, the lakes have finally thawed.
There was only one short snow crossing, about 15' or snow across a gully. There were good footsteps in place, though we had our ice axes along we just used our trekking poles for a teeny bit of protection.  It took us 4:45 to the summit at a leisurely pace. On top it was 55 degrees, sunny, almost calm (4mph winds!) so we hung out on top for 45 minutes. We would have stayed longer, but figured we had to get going if we didn't want to be hiking out in the dark. 3:25 back down to the car at a brisk pace. A 16 mile round trip with 5000 vertical feet, definitely a good workout.

At about 8700' on the trail above the Death Canyon patrol cabin, there were two of the largest piles of bear scat I've ever seen, easily dinner-plate sized. The one pile was fairly recent, as in last night or early this morning recent. I couldn't tell what it had been eating; with all the berries in the park I expected lots of seeds visible in the scat pile, but didn't see any. Wish I had taken a picture...

The paragliders were having a great day, we saw ten or so that had worked their way north from Rendesvous Mountain. There was a group of five, shown here as tiny dots above Buck Mountain, that worked their way further north to the Grand Teton. I expect it would be a bit annoying to have climbed the Grand and then had paragliders oohing and aahing over your head!

By any measure, a great day in the Tetons. We each had only a minor blister or two, we weren't totally dragging when we got back to the car, so I think we're ready for Kilimanjaro!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A gorgeous day on the river

It's a beautiful September day, not a cloud in the sky. Nephews and nieces are in town, and it's a great day to get out on the river. We floated Alpine Canyon and managed to time our launch just right in between the commercial groups. For such a lovely day on a holiday, and a Saturday to boot, it was almost like having the river to ourselves -- no traffic issues, the launch ramps weren't a zoo, very relaxed. And, we finally got some pictures of the new raft; here we are at the tail end of Kahuna.