Saturday, 9 January 2016

Route Planning - 27 December 2015

Five of us (Rob, Adrian, Pauline, Richard and myself) arrived at the Ilboro Safari Lodge on the 26th while Duane, Jill and Greg would arrive on the 27th. There are large number of routes up Kilimanjaro and although we believed we could complete our preferred Lomosho Route within the 6 days we had to reach the summit this turned out not to be the case. Other than putting in a very long day at the start and thereby ruining whatever chances we had of acclimatising we had no choice other than to find, or devise, an alternative route.

Our preferred route to the summit remained the Western Breach and a night at Crater Camp. Crater Camp at about 19,000 feet is only a little below the summit and high enough to cause eating, drinking and sleeping difficulties. The option of pushing on through Crater Camp, over the summit and down the other side was also considered, but not for long as it would have been a long, brutal day likely to take much of the pleasure out of the trip. In any event, the weather and the snow conditions would dictate whether the Western Breach and Crater Camp were an option. Realistically, we needed to find a way to acclimatise adequately on the way to the camp below the Western Breach (Arrow Glacier Camp) so that, if conditions allowed, we could go up through the Western Breach to Crater Camp.

Much of the discussion was academic because acclimatisation seems, more or less, to be a matter of luck and we didn't know what the conditions would be like in a few days' time (forecasts showed snow every day). We would meet our Head Guide later in the day and it was always possible that his view of acceptable conditions would differ from ours. Because this is a privately organised trip we have much more choice over available routes. In the end, we decided the Shira Route would provide us with adequate acclimatisation, get us to the Western Breach and keep us away from the busier routes until after the summit.

Ilboro Safari Lodge
Table Companions
Three Wise Man - Duane, Rob and Richard

Rob and Richard

Still With Us after Darkness Falls

The discussions took place under pretty trying conditions, as you can see.

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