Caroline Letrange

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KILI: 5895m, all on the top

Par Caroline Letrange :: 18/06/2007 à 2:24 :: Climbing

See a marvellous sun survey in the summit meeting of Africa, nothing like it to make the life more beautiful!!

With Lema, candidate-guide, always of excellent mood in the summit meeting of Africa!

7 days of trek in altitude and rise to join Uhuru Peak (Peak of Freedom) to 5895 Mr. of altitude on the most volcano of Africa.

Kilimandjaro is a particular mountain because it is a stratovolcano, i.e. a volcano made up of layers of lava and other volcanic components, which offers in your eyes the splendid spectacle of 5 types of different vegetations. Departure on February 6, 2007 at the end of the morning of Machame Gate to engulf itself in the wet forest. The trek starts gently in the heart of extraordinary and spectacular tropical forest where many endemic species develop to with it.

The air is saturated with moisture and the plants épiphytes develop without constraints on the trees which extend towards the sky and filter daylight. The spectacle is imposing, even if in middle of day we are rattrappés by an enormous storm and pouring rain which soaks us to the bones. At the end of the day Camp 1 is installed and the sun, hardly résurgit clouds, spins refugier behind the Meru Mount to the west.

Reveil under a radiant sun and a unspoilable view on the western side of Kilimandjaro whose ice scintillates under the rays  of the raising sun. The breakfast is been useful in the open air and the tents are dismounted gently in merry a good mood. The departure is given for one day of walk "Pole Pole" (gently, gently) towards the plate of Shira. The vegetation is a more arid steppe made up of bulky bushes and high grasses. The way loses in a maze of covered rocks luxuriant ship's boys and exuberant trees. Then we fork towards a valley plunged in a fog violet which coats the odorous bushes from where emerge the colours milky crimsons and of Helichrysum or Immortelles flowers. In middle of afternoon, here are arrived to us on the plate of Shira plunged in a thick fog. The landscape drowns in a white veil. To lunch and Rest for the remainder of the day. Towards 18h, as of the return of the sun, small strolls in direction of Shira Hut to discover a marvellous ballet of hot colors and languorous clouds  which accompany the slow one to lay down sun on the valley.

To lay down sun with Shira Camp

Fresh night and a little freezing in the morning, but at that time of the year (small rain season), the temperatures are pleasant and favourable with a good recovery after each day of walk. Breakfast in the shade of the Breach Western, the sagging part of the volcano which shines of all its fires. With, plunged far in a shroud of morning fog, emerges the brownish rocks of the Meru Mount which faces us. Departure with 8h30.

Sun survey of any beauty on the camp of Shira. At the bottom, the Meru Mount.

We walk in Indian file towards Lava Tower in direction of Valley de Baranco, our next stage. The sun is radiant. Easy walk and quasi without effort. The carriers cross us with indéfectible a good mood and contours of the volcano covered with snow take shape under an invariably blue sky. Which marvellous day. At the end of the morning, we approach Washed Tower for a lunch with the shelter of the furious winds which mugissent around us and of the clouds which crawl gently of the valley towards the frozen heights. The slopes of the volcanos hide slowly behind a long gray scarf of clouds before we do not set out again. The brown ground and rubbles have dorénavent covered the ground until the end with the valley. Only the ship's boys indolentes accorchées on their rocks of lava resist an increasingly hostile climate. The fog accompany us throughout the way and transforms the silouhettes into funny of the fantomes moving ones with dubious contours sometimes disappearing with the turnings from a lace.

Slopes of the kilimandjaro

Finally we reach splendid Vallée of Baranco. The vegetation is there here with its ease. Seneçons centenaries, bushes odorous and other lobélies run there peaceful days with the feet of the eternal snow. End of afternoon of rest in the medium of a vegetation of a single diversity. Calm and slightly fresh night.

Seneçon, each branch corresponds is 10 years old of life.
Count the branches and you have the age of Seneçon.

In the morning, the camp is in effervescence: we must pass with all the material the wall of Barranco which faces us. 300 meters of climbing along a wall of lava. The carriers launch out parcellings there balances some on their heads and sweat oozing along their faces. The shoes are rudimentary, voires unsuited, the bulky loads and the attention always with the aguêts. This rise is not complicated but requires all the attention necessary not to block the projection of the carriers, many, and the false steps are always possible. In top, the spectacle is of any beauty. The valley opens on a horizon which vibrates under the rays of the morning sun. With the opposite the slopes of Kilimandjaro shine of thousand fires under the bright rays.

We go down again towards the valley in direction of the camp of karanga in the valley of the same name. The sun us rechauffe and the way curves between the brown and black stones which extend as far as the eye can see. We cross the various valleys to lead finally to Karanga where the tents are scattered in the medium of a fog which has just taken possession of the places. End of day calms around a good hot tea and of some biscuits. Before slipping to us under the tent, we admire the spectacle enchanter of a covered star sky. In bottom, in the valley, the diaphanous lights of Moshi, the city downwards, scintillate in the night.

As of the survey of the day, we move towards the Camp of Barafu. Altitude climbs. The breath is shorter. The slower step. But the sun still accompanies us on this portion by poussièreux way. As of the end of the morning, the first teams atteingent the camp perched on its perch of rocks. It made gray there. The wind courre along the rock. It made cold there. As of the first hours of the afternoon, a rain of grésil kills on us and us constrained with folds in our tents. Rest and music in the ears before the night which awaits us. Quiet evening meal in the shade of the moon which scintillates in the medium of the last clouds of altitude. Environment a little heavier than with the accustomed one; this evening we leave to the attack the volcano!

Camp of Barafu

Midnight. It is the departure effervesce quasi-quiet in the camp. Hot drink and biscuits before strapping the back bags and engulfing us in the black night. Slow walk and almost automatic. The head lights slip their halation along the way piétinné by thousands of walkers on this way in direction of Stella Point, at the edge of the crater of the volcano. The weather starts to be cold. The breath is done shorter. Major breathing. The head turns sometimes.

We cross some unlucky persons who, the face bouffi and red, tried out the effects of a beginning of oedema related to altitude. While raising the head one sees the long wire of the small lights scintillating of frontal which courrent along the slope. In top, the delivery, Stella Point which we must reach as of the first gleams of the day. We stop little. The failures are bénines and the bodies recover vites as soon as the hot liquids and the bars énergisantes are swallowed. Stella Point takes shape finally. A covered crater of snow opens in front of us. To far, more to the east, the sun launches its rays of light behind Mawenzi, another old volcano, and sets ablaze the sky of crimson colours. The red day is dawning gently when we reach Uhuru Peak, the so much coveted top.

Even with the top, the indéfectible portable ToughBook de Panasonic holds out!!
Extremely Tough!

The descent is fast but exténuante. The slope descent quasi in straight line towards Barafu where we will stop before taking again our descent along Mweka Route. The sun is still with go and us rechauffe gently as we lose altitude. Stop avnt the wet forest for one night of well deserved rest. The evening, environment is with the euphoria. Total success for all. The top charmed our eyes and our directions. Which marvellous mountain. Which incredible experiment. Single. Who marks a life... one of climbing celebrated his 50 years at the top!! Happy birthday seen frozen heights of Africa!!

The following day we cross once again this extraordinary wet forest which absorbed us of his luxuriant vegetation. The memories invade my head. The emotions and the feelings submerge me. Which splendid rise. What a marvellous experiment!!

Inscriptions for Kilimandjaro open for 2007 (until October) and 2008 (until Mars); Reserve your place as of now for this fabulous trek of altitude on REACHSUMMIT


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