Seeking the snow at Kilimanjaro, June

  • Kilimanjaro, here we come!

    We are very excited as this opens a new chapter for Ousland/Norwegian Explorers.

    First of all, Kilimanjaro is a fantastic experience. But the second reason for going is that we now have a series of guides with the expertise and hunger to do mountains the way we like to do trips.

    We believe that our Polar Heritage will serve this trip well. Because let’s be clear, we will treat Kilimanjaro with a lot of respect. Every trip that goes smoothly is easy, but every adventure can sting, and altitude must be taken seriously. – Thus, if you are looking for a cheap and fast way to the top of Africa – read no further 🙂

    We are planning for 2 different trips: winter (January)  and summer (June). See under “rates, dates and booking” for more details.

     

    DOWNLOAD TRIP PDF HERE

  • Food and equipment

    A detailed equipment list, together with trip booklet  will be sent after booking and confirming your place on the trip.

    We will bring a maximised communication platform, oxygen, own toilets, top quality tents, have competent 24/7 home base on top of great and fresh food, up-to-date medicine kit and big smiles.
    We will also have the welfare of the porters high on the agenda as they are often exploited by companies cutting cost.

  • Day by day

    We will use 6 nights and 7 days (plus travel days) giving a day-to-day schedule:

    Day 0, saturday 30th June 2020: We arrive in Tanzania at the Arusha / Kilimanjaro(JRO) airport and are taken to our hotel. As we always have great groups of mixed nationalities we will help with transport whenever you arrive. That evening we go through equipment and have a detailed briefing before a relaxed and fun dinner together.

    Day 1: After breakfast, we leave out bags in the hotel and drive to the Machame Gate at 1.640m. Here we meet all our guides and porters. The first day is an 11km trek through rain forest up untill Machame Camp at 2.835 meter.

    Day 2: This a varied climb leaving the thick forest behind, seeing the trees turn in to bushes before edging over the plateau-rim and onto the Shira Plateau. Here we camp at 3.850m - and we really start to feel the altitude.

    Day 3: This is a tough day, and the first day the altitude really make itself present and seriousness felt. But again, a totally different day. We walk through a moon landscape and pass by the picturesque Lava Tower at 4.600m, before defending to the Barranco camp at 3.900m. The descent does us a world of good, and usually all headaches are gone by the time dinner is served in our mess-tent.

    Day 4: Today's start is a real gem. It’s called the Breakfastwall and towers spectacularly up beside the campsite. It looks impossible, but well into the wall we find that it is steep but easy and very enjoyable. A few up and downs later and we are at the Katanga Camp at 3.960m. We are now much more attuned to the altitude and most enjoy this vast, open camp at the hillside under the summit.

    Day 5: From this morning focus is shifting towards the summit push. The short 5,5km climb up to the high camp at Kosovi at 4.900m is all about fine-tuning walking slowly and staying together in a group. We arrive early to camp, and most just relax and rest as much as possible.

    Day 6: We are woken / just before midnight and gather for some tea / drinks / biscuits in the mess tent. Soon after we start the slow push upwards. If luck is on our side the full moon casts a spooky light over the steep landscape, but mostly we rely on our headlamps. Before and after us we see other groups looking like illuminated worms ever so slowly ascending. It is not far, but very hard going. One can never acclimatize for a summit - so this goes down to will power. As dawn breaks, we are nearing the creator rim and Stella Point. All of a sudden, we see that we have been following a glacier arm, and far, far below we see the morning mist and clouds covering the step land. Though, we tend not to be very poetic at this point…

    Stella is great to reach, and though often many want to leave it at that, a quick bite, a drink and a bit of rest, and most will head on along the creator rim for the summit. Within an hour we are at the summit of Africa at 5.895m. looking into the creator at one side, glaciers all around and the view the down on Africa. We pose for photos, hug and feel a cocktail of relief, joy, awe and fatigue. Then we turn around in a hurry and down before our bodies understand that we are way higher than what our system is prepared for. Some hours later and we are down in the Barafu Camp again for a quick brunch. As we pack our bags and clear the tents it is sooooo tempting to take a nap - but we have to press on. After a quick bite we continue down towards Mweka Camp at 3.100m. It is far, but with every step the oxygen level increases, the strength returns, and our traveling speed increases. By the time we reach the bushes, and they have grown onto trees, we feel like normal humans again. Fresh food for dinner is followed by the best sleep you have ever had :-)

    Day 7: The last stroll of 11km out through the rainforest is both easy and beautiful. At the gate (1.640m) we are surrounded by kids and others trying to sell all sorts of stuff. It is a return to reality. After lunch it is back to the hotel, a looooong great shower and in the evening a big thank you and farewell dinner.

    Day 8: Whatever you want to do then? That is for you personally to choose. Some return home and some stay behind for another Great African Adventure; either stay on in Tanzania with great national parks like Tarangiri, Serengeti Lake Manjara and NgoroNgoro - or across the border to delightful Masai Mara in Kenya - or some days swimming at Zanzibar? We will help wetting your appetite :-)

    EXTRA DAY: As you see, the KLM flight arrives late in the afternoon. That is good for everyone who wants to save time. BUT it is great bliss to arrive a bit earlier, have time to calm down, shake off stress and enjoy being in Africa.
    If you like, we suggest you show up one day early, and spent the day most arrive strolling around, visit the marked and just enjoy the feel of life under Kilimanjaro. You will not regret that.

  • Expedition details

    We have tossed the Kili-idea around for a while and landed on a concept we all like - and trust. It will not be the budget way up. Our plan is to bring 2 Norwegian guides to join the local head guide and his four assistants. This will not only enhance safety in situations with altitude sickness or injury, but we believe it will teach you more, safeguard communications and add to the social cosines :-)
    Kili is also very much great evenings in the mess-tent, chatting, telling tales and dreaming of the possible next adventure...

    THE ROUTE:

    We have from experience chosen the Machame Route as we believe this offers the best combination of scenery, rhythm, compactness, price and, not to forget, the best rapid-descent routes if anybody should be affected by altitude sickness. Machame has the local nickname "Whiskey Route".
    It is very picturesque and varied. On our way up, we will actually go around parts of the mountain as we work our way upwards. This will give us very good acclimation based on ‘walk high – sleep low’.
    The reason is that once we hit the higher levels we will sleep at approximately the same altitude for several days. All the while marveling at every valley and day being completely different. And all the time we will have the main summit towering above us.
    We go up Machame and we descend along the Mweka route.
    The lower part of the mountain is rainforest, with the first and the last camp in dense forest terrain.
    The trail takes us through all the possible climate zones on earth until we reach the volcanic moon landscape and the ice glaciers at the top. One of the reasons this is possible is that Kilimanjaro is the tallest freestanding mountain in the world.
    Reaching Uhuru Peak (5.895 meter) on the crater rim on this ancient, sleeping volcano is truly special.
    With the savanna, the forests and the clouds far it feels special – it is a true adventure.

    THE GUIDES:

     

    We are very lucky to have secured one of the most experienced Africa guides in Norway: Haavard Gjerdset.
    He is Mr Kilimanjaro and knows everything that is needed both on the mountain, in Africa and around the culture and mentality of the people there. He will most definitely help you appreciate the great work done by the localguides, cooks and porters.

     

     

    And then we will, of course, bring in our own Polar alibi: In January Moa Hunseid will join Haavard. She is not only the happiest and most energetic girl out there in the wilderness, she has also crossed Greenland, the North West Passage and topped out Mt Everest. Don’t expect her to not add greatly to the trip!

     

     

    In June Haavard will be joined by our rising superstar Sebastian Gjølstad. There is nothing he cannot guide as his C.V., education and technical skills are dwarfed only by a genuine pleasant personality that will make you feel good and give you the best chance of success.

  • Training and preparing

    Dear Explorer

    Congratulations on choosing one of the real classics of the World. This is one of the most iconic of mountains and it does absolutely deliver for those aiming for the summit. In a few days you actually go through all climate zones of the globe as the mountain rises from the dry plains of Africa. The first part is dense rain forest with fascinating animals and plants – if you are lucky. Then the forest thins out, trees turn into bushes and slowly we are into a vulcanic moon landscape. Some rivers from the glaciers at the top give some valleys a unique and high altitude flora. The last bit is almost arctic with the famous glaciers that has made the mountain so famous – not least by Hemmingway’s classic novel ‘The Snow at Kilimanjaro’

    For you, a visit here means an extraordinary trek. Following the Machame route, it takes us from the gate at the border of the National Park at 1.640m to the Uhuru Summit on the creator rim at 5.895 – a good 4.255 vertical meters. But as we cross quite a few valleys you can add on quite a few vertical meters :-)

    What this means for us, is that we should hit the mountain well prepared.

    But before you get the shivers and get anxious, – you do not need to be a top trained athlete. This trip is about much more that sheer brute force. So, read on and enjoy the preparations:

    As you understand, this is a climb that is actually a trek. So, what we want to focus on as we gear up, is walking, walking and then some more walking...

    Get used to walking. Bring a small backpack. On top of that you should get yourself a pair of walking poles and light but firm shoes.

    Training equipment:

    Shoes      Sneakers, but preferably not ultra-low, light, with good stability. These you can use for much of the trip too.

    Backpack 40-50 litre, good fit, light. Fill it with a few kilos to start with and end up at some 10kg before you leave.

    Poles       Walking sticks is highly preferable. They are not only good for your knees downhill, but when you walk with them you automatically straighten up which opens your lungs and enhances breathing. It is also a great help in using the whole body and not strain the big thigh muscles that ‘eat’ oxygen when used hard.

    The poles should be to a height between your hips and armpits so that your elbow is ca 90°. If you buy telescope pole you can adjust them – and if they are 3-piece they are easy to bring.

    Water bottle          We drink often, and we drink a lot on the mountain. Always bring a bottle when training and get used to drink a bit every 15-30 minutes

    Snack      Yes, snack! In altitude it is not good to either be too hungry nor too filled up. If you are over-filled, too much blood will be occupied in you stomach while it is needed other places in your walking body. Likewise, if your blood sugar level drops it is not good either. Not for your spirit, nor for your stamina.

    SO! Nibble away while walking / training home. Juts some nuts and small goodies that you take in while drinking regularly.

    But the main thing is walking. The nice thing is that a lot of the walking can be done at a pace where you can chat to someone else. But as we are going into higher altitude you should from time to time push hard to get your pulse and breathing maxed. There will be times the last night when you understand why :-)

    Another thing is that we will walk a lot of uphill. So, if you have some good hills around you, make them your own. A downhill slope is great as well

    Here you can alternatively either push hard or try to walk slow enough to keep your pulse normal (or easy to chat). This will give you a good idea of how to walk slowly.

    And while you are at it. Try to find out how to walk without any effort. – You will probably find that small steps, zig-zag walking, use the body harmoniously and balanced is the way to go. Big men with long steps and high knees-lifts going straight on up is a sign of someone you will not see on the summit push.

    How much should you walk / train? Well, how long is a fish?

    While you do not need to be a professional athlete, the better shape you are in, the better you will fare. We will all feel ups and downs on the trip, and if you feel down for a day or so but are in good shape the better chances you will have of picking yourself up again the next day...

    We like to say that walking 2-3 hours during the week and at least one long, full day trek during the weekend is a minimum.

    It is time to take those 10.000 steps a day seriously…

    Since we at Ousland Explorers are born out of polar trips we can’t resist a final piece of advice: Pull a tire! That is the greatest training – and walking will feel like flying afterwards :-))) Suggest to read this article by Borge: Related article: The fine art of pulling rubber tyres

    Can’t wait to see you there – and don’t hesitate to call and ask us for further advise!

     

  • Rates, dates and booking

    RATES:

    The price is NOK 35.000. See below what is included and not. The price compares favourably with the international high-skill expedition agencies that operate in the same categories as we do.
    As you know, we very often have international groups. This we really like as it creates good ambiance, respect and of course make for even better and more varied stories in the evening. Due to this we have chosen to not include the airfare as people may come in from different directions.
    But we will of course advice you on what best to book. It also gives all those deciding early the best chance of getting a bargain :-)

    PRICE INCLUDES:

    • Transportation to and from the airport in Tanzania on scheduled dates / time
    • Hotel accommodations 1 night before and 1 after the mountain in double rooms
    • Transportation between the hotel and the mountain
    • The full trip with guides, cooks, porters, drivers, park fees, and climbing permits
    • All group - and camp - equipment
    • Tents assigned to two persons
    • All meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) during the climb
    • Purified water
    • Diary / blog at our homepage for those at home to follow
    • Norwegian guide(s)
    • Medical kit + oxygen
    • Extended communication platform

    PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:

    • International round-trip airfare to Arusha / Kilimanjaro Airport, Tanzania
    • Transport, and lodging / meals outside the regular itinerary
    • Tanzanian visas • International vaccines / vaccinations card
    • Personal travel and/Or medical insurance
    • Alcoholic beverages and bottled drinks
    • Airport taxes and excess baggage charges
    • Personal gear (see Packing List)
    • Single room supplement (hotels only)
    • Charges incurred as a result of delays outside our control
    • Tips and gratuities
    • A safari and/or other trip-extensions after/before the climb

    DATES:

    So far, we have scheduled 2 different dates. The plan was to have just a June trip in 2019. But we also mentioned that January could happen. We immediately got feedback that this was a must. So now the 2 trips go as seen below.
    We have set the trip so that we have a full moon on the summit night. The time around the full moon is always the best / safest / clearest time to hit the summit.
    So, see yourself at the summit then !

    DATES IN JANUARY 2020:

    Saturday 4th January: We all meet up in Kilimanjaro/Arusha Airport (JRO). We are basing our standard pick-up there on KLM flight KL0571 from Amsterdam that lands 20:15. But there at plenty of other flight arriving there.
    Sunday 5th January: We start the trek
    Friday 10th  January: We plan to summit Uhuru Peak on Kilimanjaro
    Sunday 12th January: You either go home, or do a safari / the coast. We are basing our maindrive to the airport at KLM flight KL0569 at 21:45

    DATES IN JUNE 2020

    Saturday 30th June: We all meat up in Kilimanjaro/Arusha Airport (JRO). We are basing our standard pick-up there on KLM flight KL0571 from Amsterdam that lands 20:15. But there at plenty of other flight arriving there.
    Sunday 31st June: We start the trek
    Friday 5th June: We plan to summit Uhuru Peak on Kilimanjaro
    Sunday 7th June: You either go home, or do a safari / the coast. We are basing our maindrive to the airport at KLM flight KL0569 at 21:45

    EXTRA DAY:
    As you see, the KLM flight arrives late in the afternoon. That is good for everyone who wants to save time. BUT it is great bliss to arrive a bit earlier, have time to calm down, shake off stress and enjoy being in Africa.
    If you like, we suggest you show up one day early, and spent the day most arrive strolling around, visit the market and just enjoy the feel of life under Kilimanjaro. You will not regret that.

    Booking - How to proceed

    1. If this is something for you, - send us the booking for your desired trip and your place is reserved. This will be kept for you until you have paid the deposit invoice. Then your place is guaranteed until the remaining amount is due.
    2. You will then receive our expedition-booklet that gives you more information about the trip, insurance, safety, personal training tips towards the trip, as well as info on the training (for more info, refer to the training and preparations menu)
    3. We will also supply you with the complete equipmentlist and work with you to ensure that you know what is needed and included from both your- and our side.
    4. Personal/medical information-form. By signing up on a trip, we need you to fill in a form for our records regarding health issues, your recent outdoor experiences- and background, passport if outside Norway- and insurance info as well as next-of-kin details.
    5. The invoice for the remaining amount will be sent to you about 3 months prior to departure (for some destinations the due-dates might be more than 90 days prior to departure. After full payment has been settled, you are on your way !
    Continue to booking | View terms and conditions
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Quick facts

Date: 30.06.2020
Duration: 7 days/6 nights + travel days
Price: 35.000 NOK
Sheduled for: 2020, 2021, 2022
Participants: Limited availability. Please inquire.
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