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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Climbing Kilimanjaro

I can honestly say that the Aussies made us do it; but then again, I did tote Diamox all the way from Hood River…just in case. Back country skiing aside, Glenn and I have never really climbed a mountain. Why we chose the world’s largest free standing mountain will remain a mystery. But we made it Without incident. Well, it most likely claimed Glenn’s big toenail and gave me a few blisters, but a few battle wounds are par for the course; the descent was way harder than the ascent and where the damage occurred. We chose the Machame route to the top because it is the most scenic, and scenic it was. The views were incredible. The glaciers that once looked so far away were so close. It felt like you were standing at the top of the world.
We started the ascent at midnight on the fifth day so that we could reach the summit by sunrise. Despite leaving an hour after the earliest climbers GP and I powered up and were the first to the top; well, that was until Mark (our Aussie buddy) sprinted the last 50 feet to claim the victory for Australia. Had Glenn and I known he was going for the win, we would have both sprinted after him - sucking in a whopping 100-120 breaths a minute - to claim the rightful win for Team America. But we let him go by as we were engaged holding hands with our porter for the last 1/4 mile, a little too delirious to notice his Stephen Bradbury move. He actually confessed over dinner that they had been plotting the victory for months...and we though he was so sweet. 

We loved it and didn't really feel the effects of the altitude until our descent. The top is 19,298 feet (higher than Mt. Everest base camp), so we were definitely sucking air. The headache set in on the descent. I don't know how much of it was the altitude and how much of it was the bottle of Solms-Delta Cape Jazz Syraz bubbly we chugged at 5:40am to celebrate our victory. 

We took a day and a half to decent and are now in Moshi, Tanzania. Glenn and I are going to Ngorangoro Crater and another game park with the Australians before we part again for good :( We are heading south to Zanzibar and they are heading north on a pretty tight schedule. We better see you two back in The Hood soon! 

We are having a blast and totally in the swing of vacation. Enjoy your winter and we'll be home in a few months. 

We love your comments and emails, so keep them coming.

I love you gobs, 

For more of Mark's fabulous photos of Kili go to:


  1. Wow, how many days did it take? When will u skype us we are still home.

  2. Hi Mom! We summited the morning of our fifth day. The entire climb took 6 days. You can climb it in 3-4 but your chances of making it to the top decrease greatly. You really need to aclimate to the elevation slowly if you want to make it. We saw people turning back on day 3. GP and I both got headaches, but our effects were minor.

  3. Congrats on making it to the top - I summited 1 january 2010. I am a great fan of Cape Jazz Shiraz and think you need an extra salute for carrying that additional weight all the way to the top ... my jellybeans were more than enough extra weight for me!! My descent was a nightmare, claiming two big toe nails. Well done! You must be feeling on top of the world, or in this instance AFrica for sure!
    lisa (South Africa)