Update #2 – Kilimanjaro: Climb for a Cause

Today is SUMMIT DAY!

The guys have been pushing through the pain, exhaustion and altitude to get this far, and TODAY THEY SUMMIT! We cannot thank Sam’s Furniture enough for this incredible once-in-a-lifetime adventure for our nation’s heroes.

Here’s where they’ve been the past few days.

August 6 – Day 3: Shira 1 Camp (3,500m/11,500ft) to Shira 2 Camp (3,840m/12,600ft)

  • Elevation Gain: 340 metres / 1,100 feet
  • Hiking Time: Approximately 5 hours
  • Habitat: Moorland

After breakfast, they continued their hike across the rocky ridge onto Shira Plateau, where they saw the easterly side and the western breach with its dramatic glaciers on the west of Kibo Peak. They walked a bit further to reach Shira 2 Camp, which is very exposed and was much colder, with temperatures dropping below freezing.

August 7 – Day 4: Shira Camp (3,840m/12,600ft) to Barranco Camp (3,850m/12,650ft) via Lava Tower (4,550m/14,900ft)

  • Elevation Gain: 710 metres / 2,300 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 700 metres / 2,250 feet
  • Hiking Time: Approximately 6 to 7 hours
  • Habitat: Alpine desert

The route now enters semi-desert and rocky landscapes surrounding Lava Tower, a 300ft high volcanic rock formation. From there they ascended the rocky scree path to Lava Tower for great panoramic views, before a steep descent into the Barranco Valley. This trek was a little tougher than the previous days as some began to experience symptoms of altitude sickness. Finishing today’s climb at almost the same elevation as they started helped with acclimatization and helped prepare them for summit day. Barranco Camp lies below the imposing Barranco Wall in a beautiful, sheltered valley.

August 8 & 9 – Day 5: Barranco Camp (3,850m/12,650ft) to Karanga Camp (3,995m/13,106ft) & Day 6: Karanga Camp (3,995m /13,106ft) to Barafu Camp (4,600m /15,100ft)

The Climbers decided as a group to combine these two days in order to give everyone a full day of rest before their longest trekking day – Summit Day!

Day 5

  • Elevation Gain: 145 meters / 456 feet
  • Hiking Time: Approximately 4 to 5 hours
  • Habitat: Alpine desert

After breakfast, they ascended to the Barranco Wall and hiked glacial valleys. From the top of the wall, they crossed a series of hills and valleys before descending into Karanga Valley. After one steeper climb, they reached Karanga Camp where they rested for a bit, then continued on to…

Day 6

  • Elevation Gain: 605 metres / 1,994 feet
  • Hiking Time: Approximately 3 to 4 hours
  • Habitat: Alpine desert

The group left Karanga and hit the junction which connects to the famous Mweka Trail. They trekked along the rocky ridge for 1 to 2 hours before reaching Barafu Camp, which offers stunning views of Mt. Kilimanjaro’s summit from various angles. Tents were pitched along a narrow and rocky ridge with high winds.There they rested for 24 hours, giving them much needed sleep before today’s hike to the summit.

August 10 – Day 7 : Barafu Camp (4,600m/15,100ft) to Uhuru Peak (5,895m/19,300ft) then descending to Mweka Camp (3,110m/10,200ft)

  • Elevation Gain: 1,295 metres / 4,200 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 2,785 metres / 9,100 feet
  • Hiking time: 6 to 7 hours to Uhuru Peak; 7 to 8 hours to Mweka Camp
  • Habitat: Arctic conditions

This is it, and it is where the going gets really tough! Just before midnight, they will venture into the night and begin their final ascent to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro. They’ll head northwest through the heavy stone scree following multiple switchbacks between Ratzel and Rebmann glaciers until they reach Stella Point (5,685m). This section is probably the most challenging part of the route and will require great physical and mental effort. After a short rest at Stella Point, they’ll hike along the crater rim for another hour before reaching their ultimate goal – Uhuru Peak – the “Roof of Africa”!

Weather conditions on the summit will determine how long they will be able to spend there. They will descend to Barafu Camp, to rest, then gather the rest of their belongings and descend to Mweka Hut (3,100m) where they’ll enjoy dinner and a well-earned sleep!

August 11 – Day 8: Mweka Hut (3,100m) to Mweka Gate (1,980m)

  • Elevation Loss: 1,280 metres / 4,220 feet
  • Hiking time: Approximately 3 to 4 hours
  • Habitat: Rainforest

After eating breakfast, they will begin take the scenic path through the forest to Mweka Gate. Successful hikers who made it to Stella Point and Uhuru Peak will be awarded their certificates at the gate!

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