Update from Kilimanjaro and Operation Climb

 

So if you count a garbled phone call where all I heard was “Hi it’s me.” before it ended, then yes I have heard from Max, Ben, Howard and James this  morning.  However, since I know Mrs. Stickler’s class is following Ben’s trek and their last day of school is tomorrow, I will use the information from the guide so everyone will know the plan which I can only assume they’re following to stay on track with the pacing.

Day 3 (yesterday):  A 3-4 hour trek from Shira 1 to Shira 2 Camp where they will camp at 3,840 M.

Day 4 (today):  Trek from Shira 2 to Moir Camp (about 3 hours) where they will camp at 4,200 M.

Day 5: (Friday):  It is a 3 hour trek to Lava Tower Camp.  They will camp at 4,600 M.

Day 6: (Saturday):  From Lava Tower Camp, trek 2 hours to Arrow Camp for rest and lunch.  Then continue on for another 3 hours to the rim of the crater for dinner and overnight at the camp on the crater rim.

Day 7: (Sunday):  Rise in to time to begin final ascent to the top of Kilimanjaro.  It’s a 1 hour hike to Uhuru Peak, followed by the descent to Mweka Camp (4 hour trek) for overnight.

Day 8: (Monday):  Trek 3-4 hours to reach the Mweka Gate to pick up your Summit Certificate before returning to Arusha.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro takes you through 4 separate eco-systems.  You start in montane forest, weaves through a rain forest, hits an alpine desert and ends in arctic conditions.

Best,

Anne

Update from Kilimanjaro 2

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Today was the first day of climbing.  Arriving at the base of the Lemosho Route, they trekked 4 hours to Forest Camp.  The altitude at Forest Camp is 2,650 M. Tomorrow they will trek from Forest Camp to Shira 1 Camp (another 4-5 hours of trekking) where the altitude is 3,610 M.  It’s hard to remember that their days are our nights so try to think of it this way:  At 10 PM in Chicago they are waking up to a new day at 7 AM.  By the time we wake up at 8 AM it is 5 PM for them and they are probably making camp for the night.  So they are trekking while we are sleeping. I hope that at Shira Camp their phone will be able to work so I can get another personal update.  It was strange to celebrate Howard and my 19th Wedding Anniversary with him being out of communication range.  For all of you that are “checking up on us”, THANK YOU!  Shayna and I are feeling an abundance of love as so many of you are calling to see how we’re doing that I can barely return all the calls and Facebook messages.  More soon!

Best, Anne

Operation Climb Update

Hi Everyone

So I’ve heard from Howard, James, Max and Ben.  They are 9 hours ahead of us.  The weather is beautiful – 75 degrees and the 7 day forecast for the mountain looks good.  Unless it changes it should be around 17 degrees on the summit on Sunday – the day they plan to summit!

Their first interesting experience was that as they were coming in for a landing, the airport turned on the runway lights for their plane.  Apparently the runway lights are only turned on as needed.

Their hotel is very nice and they are eating every meal there as they feel it is the safest bet.  If you want to check out the hotel they are staying at The African Tulip.  Today they met with their guide who reassured them that he has led over 300 expeditions to the summit.  It took them about 3 hours today to unpack and repack to best meet their needs on their hike.

This afternoon they ventured into the market.  On the way in James was approached by a man who wanted him to hire him to “guide” them through the market.  Max described the market in Arusha in this way “Remember the market in Tel Aviv?  Now multiply that by 50% grossness and that is what this market was like.”  Pretty gross!  I think that this will be an eye-opening experience in so many ways for my boys!  I think they will really appreciate the lives they lead even more after seeing how others live!

Ben’s favorite discovery is that in Swahili the word hello is “Jambo.”  However, “Jamba” means fart.  Therefore here in the USA “Jamba Juice” translates into “fart juice.”  He thinks this is hysterical.  Apparently someone at that company didn’t do their homework when they were deciding what to name it.  I don’t think I’ll be visiting Jamba Juice for awhile.

Howard tells me not to expect to hear from them for a couple of days.  They have been told that their phone will work after they reach a certain elevation which is about a 2-day climb to reach.   So you can expect another update in a couple of days!

Best,
Anne

Pre-climb update

Hi Everybody!

Welcome to the Operation Climb blog!  The guys are all on their way!  James left yesterday and Howard, Max and Ben left today.  I will try to keep you updated as much as I can.  It is unsure how often this will be since until they are actually on the mountain we won’t know how well the communication technology will work.  The plan for the next two days is that they will meet up at their hotel in Arusha, Tanzania on Sunday.  For those of you in Chicago, that will be around 4:00 PM.  They will rest and on Monday meet with their guide.  On Tuesday morning they will be driven 2 hours to the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro and will officially start their climb!  They plan to climb between 5-6 hours a day in order to adjust slowly to the changing altitude.  The first ecosystem will be the Serengeti.

This is the first time they will be in the southern hemisphere.  Since there is no ambient light coming from anywhere; they are excited to see the stars!  For the holidays, Howard received a guide to the southern hemisphere constellations which he is really excited to be using.  This is really going to be a major education on many levels.

During this experience the guys have received some media attention (which will continue after the climb) and I have been asked “if I’m okay with this adventure.”  Today, after they left at 1:30, I’ve had a chance to reflect since the past few days have been frenetic with packing, etc.  I guess one of my guiding principles as a parent can be summed up in the phrase “roots and wings”.  It is easy to give your child roots; it is the wings that is tough.  This has been Howard’s dream since the day I met him 22 years ago.  To give him his dream with his sons and a favorite cousin is my gift.  To teach my boys how to prepare and follow through with hard work in order to achieve their dreams and to give them this opportunity to learn this first hand during their formative years is something I felt was bigger than my personal feelings of missing them.  I know when they experience hard times in their life that they will always have this experience.  No one will ever take it away from them.  They will know that they can do anything with hard work and effort.  They are sharing a lifelong experience together.  The icing on the cake is that they are also doing it for a cause close to all of their hearts – MDA!  They fully intend to fundraise until they can buy that ambulance!  What an amazing lesson!