Dispatches - Kilimanjaro 2019 #1

January 15, 2019

In January 2019, our first Adventure Consultants team of the year aimed to climb Mount Kilimanjaro by the picturesque Machame Route. This popular route traversed several of the scenic micro-environments found at the different elevations on the mountain.

Dispatches - Adventure Consultants Kilimanjaro Expedition 2019 #1

This expedition will be running from January 6 to 18, 2019.

Expedition Leader:
Respicius Baitwa - Tanzania

Assistant Guide:
Godwin Malwaya - Tanzania

Team Members:
Jėrome Thuillier – Singapore/France
Antoine Cornut – Portugal/France
Neil Fallon - USA

Starting in Arusha, Tanzania, on January 6, our first team of the year will set out to climb the 5,895m/19,340ft Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa.

Follow their progress through regular updates to this page as they climb via the popular Machame Route.

6 January 2019 - Arusha
2019 is starting with a bang for our first Kilimanjaro expedition of the year, with the team converging on Arusha, Tanzania, located in the shadow of Mount Meru. Here they are staying at the charming Rivertrees Country Inn, away from the bustle of the city in the grounds of a rustic former coffee farm.

Today the team have enjoyed a day of leisure to recover from jetlag and absorb the sights, sounds and flavours of Tanzania, before final briefings and preparations tomorrow.

We'll be closely following the team as they journey up Africa's highest mountain, so keep tuned for more dispatches and photos as the team progress.

AC Office for the AC Kilimanjaro Expedition #1

(Below: Rivertrees Country Inn, AC Archive)

Kilimanjaro Expedition 2019 #1 Dispatch 2a

8 January 2019 - Machame Camp

The trek has begun!

Leaving the town of Arusha early, the team drove to Machame Gate on Kilimanjaro National Park's southern border. The scenic landscapes on this side of the mountain make this one of the mountain's most popular routes, with lots of variation in the topography enroute. Today began with a hike through the rainforest, starting at Machame Gate and climbing around 1,000m through the rainforest to Machame Camp at 2,835m. This is already a significant elevation for most people, especially as the highest point in Jérome's adopted home of Singapore is only 163m!

Never fear though, guide Respicius is easing the team into the trek gently, with a sit-down lunch stop about an hour into the trek (pictured below) to ensure that everyone is adequately fuelled for the rigours ahead.

Tonight the team are nicely settled Machame Camp for their first night under canvas, feeling good and looking forward to the adventures to come.

AC Office for the Kilimanjaro Team #1

Kilimanjaro Expedition 2019 #1 Dispatch 3b

9 January 2019 - Shira Cave Camp

Today was a soggy one on Kilimanjaro for Expedition Leader Respicius and his trekking trio. However, fog and rain clouding the peak all day still wasn't enough to dampen the spirits of the team as they set out in the morning to notch up some more altitude on the mountain.

Trekking up through the heather zone and out onto the moorlands, the vistas were notably absent but the team could still enjoy the lobelia and bizarre Senecio kilimanjari plants, looking otherworldly and atmospheric in the murky day.

Overall it was a good day for the team, who arrived at Shira Cave Camp (3,840m/12,600ft) at noon for lunch and a much-appreciated recharge for the rest of the day.

AC Office for the AC Kilimanjaro Expedition #1

10 January 2019 - Barranco Camp

Onwards and upwards again for the team as they awoke early and prepared for the next jump in elevation.

Antoine decided that he had achieved enough from this expedition and descended down the mountain today, returning all the way back to Rivertrees Lodge in Arusha. He's looking forward to a good sleep under real walls tonight and a safari starting tomorrow. A pretty exciting Plan B!

For the remaining duo, the trek continued steadily upwards in the high alpine desert zone, passing Lava Tower Camp before descending to Barranco Camp (3,900m/12,800ft) for the night.

With mist and rain lingering, the team are still waiting for the mountain to do its big reveal, but it's going to be all the sweeter when it does!

AC Office for the AC Kilimanjaro Expedition #1

11 January 2019 - There It Is!

Finally, after several days of mediocre weather on the mountain, Kilimanjaro has emerged from this mist this morning in all its glory for our delighted team of trekkers!

Everyone is feeling excited and motivated by the sight of the prize and are eager to get on the trail.

Today they are heading to Karanga Camp and hoping this is a sign of some better weather to come!

AC Office for the AC Kilimanjaro Expedition #1

Kilimanjaro Expedition 2019 #1 Dispatch 6b

11 January 2019 - Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp

After the buzz of seeing Kilimanjaro's summit over breakfast, it was down to business for the team as they continued up the mountain.

First on the agenda was the Barranco Wall, one of the tougher sections of the Machame Route. Resembling more of a scramble than a hike in parts, the wall rises for over 250m/800ft and is one of the most physical days on the route. On the way, the team negotiated the 'Kissing Rock', a narrow stretch of the trail that requires climbers to hug the wall to negotiate its passage, a moment that many choose to mark with an affectionate peck!

The team enjoyed the day and were lucky to arrive into Karanga Camp (4,200m/13,800ft) before the rain came in again. Fingers crossed it's getting it out of the way before the summit!

AC Office for the AC Kilimanjaro Expedition #1

Kilimanjaro Expedition 2019 #1 Dispatch 7b

12 January 2019 - Karanga Camp

Another great morning to wake up to at Karanga Camp, this one even clearer than the last.

It was a fabulous way to start the day as the team readied themselves to hike to Barafu Camp which at 4,600m/15,100ft is the highest camp of the expedition!

AC Office for the AC Kilimanjaro Expedition #1

12 January 2019 - Gearing Up

After a clear day hiking up from Karanga Camp, the team have reported in that they have safely arrived in Barafu Camp, the highest night's sleep on the trail. From here there is only one place left to go and that's the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro!

The landscape grew noticeably sparser as the team progressed upwards and the team will really start to feel the elevation.

Tonight is all about relaxing and refuelling ahead of the summit push in the early hours of the morning - this is what it's all come down to!

We wish them luck and clear skies for the final push to the top!

AC Office for the AC Kilimanjaro Expedition #1

13 January 2019 - They Did It!

A massive congratulations to our AC Team who successfully made it to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro!

At 6.25am local time, the team stood 5,895m/19,340ft high as dawn rose over the African continent below. Well done!

Beginning the final climb in the dark hours of the night, the team wound their way carefully upwards to reach the edge of crater rim at Stella Point (5,730m/18,800ft). This marked the end of the scree slopes of Kibo, Kilimanjaro's highest peak, and the start of a gentle upward slope to the highest point in Africa.

Photos and congratulations abounded and it was a fabulous effort and everyone, though tired, was delighted to have made it.

Well done to all!

AC Office for the Kilimanjaro Team #1

13 January 2019 - Descending

After some well-deserved summit celebrations, the team have begun the downwards curve of the expedition as they journey back to the foot of the mountain and civilisation beyond.

A steep trail took the team back to Barafu Camp to rest and refuel before they continued on their way. It's a knee-jarring trail, so Mweka Camp at 3,100m was a sight for sore eyes at the end of the day.

It was also a great opportunity to celebrate with the guides and porters for all their help on the mountain in a tipping ceremony to show gratitude.

The team's strong descent also makes for an easier final day out to Mweka Gate tomorrow.

AC Office for the Kilimanjaro Team #1

Kilimanjaro Expedition 2019 #1 Dispatch 11b

15 January 2019

Despite some decidedly average weather early on, it's been a fun and successful expedition.

We wish all the team members a safe journey back to their respective lands and hope that 2019 continues as it began, full of fun and adventures!

AC Office signing off the Kilimanjaro Expedition 2019 #1