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Msteelio91

No longer a newbie, moving up!
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Apr 4, 2014
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Washington, DC
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www.digitaldistrictphotography.com
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Hey all, I recently had the experience of a lifetime exploring Tanzania and climbing Kilimanjaro. My fiance and I did it together with 8 other climbers in our group, and the help of our guides and porters (Gods of men they are!). We also did a 4-Day safari afterwards, which I'm still working on the pictures for (took way too many).

For those interested in the climb, we went through a UK based company called Kandoo, and chose the 8-day Lemosho route. I'm very happy with our decisions and this route is by far the most scenic. The first 6 days were wonderful, a mix of rainforest, alpine desert, moorland, and other crazy environments. The 7th day (summit day) was a grueling test of our mental and physical endurance, starting at 11:30PM the night prior (after very little sleep), climbing through the night to summit the Uhuru peak at sunrise after about 6:30hrs of climbing. We were allowed to stay there for a matter of only 15 minutes due to the severe lack of oxygen. I did my best to capture the moments and views both through my own eyes and through the lens. I also learned that I instinctively hold my breath when taking a photo, presumably to steady the camera as one would with a rifle. Such a subtle and normally unnoticed action yet it was an immense issue on the summit. However I found myself literally gasping after every shot and then chuckling at myself for doing it. After summiting we descended the steep slopes, which is arguably more difficult than climbing them, for another six hours. Finally resting after hiking for well over 12 hours straight, climbing 4,000ft and then descending over 9,000ft in vertical altitude, and covering over 10 miles in distance in one day. We slept very well that night. The final day was another 6 miles but I barely felt it.

Anyway, enough text, this is a picture forum! I hope you enjoy my pictures, feel free to comment/ask questions. And the full gallery on flickr can be found here.

Very first picture of the mountain as we approach the starting point. We're actually driving away from it here, which was upsetting lol
[url=https://flic.kr/p/SHR2eA]Kilimanjaro-1 by Matt Steele, on Flickr[/URL]

Our wonderful porters taking the gear off our truck that got us to the starting gate for the Lemosho route.
Kilimanjaro-2 by Matt Steele, on Flickr

The first few days we were full of energy and couldn't get enough of the dense rainforest.
Kilimanjaro-6 by Matt Steele, on Flickr
Kilimanjaro-23 by Matt Steele, on Flickr
Kilimanjaro-26 by Matt Steele, on Flickr

Colobus Monkeys in our campsite
Kilimanjaro-14 by Matt Steele, on Flickr

Our first view out of the rainforest
Kilimanjaro-27 by Matt Steele, on Flickr

My fiance making her way, notice the people on the path in the distance
Kilimanjaro-33 by Matt Steele, on Flickr

Our first cold night, temperatures hit about 10F. Woke up to use the bathroom and could only make out the ominous figure of the mountain which we were unable to see on the approach due to clouds.
Kilimanjaro-55 by Matt Steele, on Flickr

Our view the next day, the mountain seemed impossibly distant
Kilimanjaro-64 by Matt Steele, on Flickr

"Moorland". A very interesting environment, lush in it's own ways
Kilimanjaro-68 by Matt Steele, on Flickr

My contribution to the stack rock "sculptures" found all over the paths
Kilimanjaro-76 by Matt Steele, on Flickr

Really starting to feel like we're on a mountain at this point
Kilimanjaro-78 by Matt Steele, on Flickr

Sleeping above the clouds
Kilimanjaro-96 by Matt Steele, on Flickr

A view of Lava Tower, much larger than it looks, and one of the porters
Kilimanjaro-118 by Matt Steele, on Flickr

More crazy landscapes
Kilimanjaro-156 by Matt Steele, on Flickr

Barranco Wall (the faintly visable path on the cliff), we would be climbing this the next day. It takes about 1 hour and is about 900ft straight up. Looked much worse, our guides kept telling us "our eyes are lying to us".
Kilimanjaro-159 by Matt Steele, on Flickr

Senecio trees can be found everywhere past a certain altitude. Apparently, each of the "growths" represent roughly 25 years of age.
Kilimanjaro-160 by Matt Steele, on Flickr

One of our camps on top of Africa. Other mountains looks small from here.
Kilimanjaro-173 by Matt Steele, on Flickr

The side of the mountain, making the peak (not visible) seem closer than reality. Notice the frost on our tents, it was a normal ritual to dive out of the tent in the morning to avoid getting soaked with defrosting ice.
Kilimanjaro-170 by Matt Steele, on Flickr

Porters making it look easy as they carry their own gear plus equipment on their heads up the mountain.
Kilimanjaro-184 by Matt Steele, on Flickr

Starting to forget the rest of Africa exists, it seems so far!
Kilimanjaro-182 by Matt Steele, on Flickr

Some days were less scenic, but still interesting. By the way, these are clouds, not just fog that we're in.
Kilimanjaro-190 by Matt Steele, on Flickr

Aside from the Earth and the humans, the clouds seem like a sight you'd only get from a plane. A constant reminder of the altitude.
Kilimanjaro-195 by Matt Steele, on Flickr

Continued below...
 
Now something to note. Basecamp (Barafu camp) was miserable. It was literally filled with feces, it was steep, rocky, dusty, hot when there were no clouds (80F+) and then instantly freezing when the sun was hidden (literally down to 20F in seconds). So I do not have any pictures of basecamp, I have failed you all here, sorry.

The next picture is the very first I took at the summit. It's not great (as will be apparent to you photo-snobs, but not so much my mother), but it's meaningful to me because it marks the moment that I had realized the Sun came up and turned around only to be hit with a wave of exhaustion, emotion, and warmth from the Sun itself. I still had about 30 minutes to the summit here, but I was so happy to have made it that (I'll admit it) I teared up quite a bit. The view was unbelievable, and none of my pictures do it justice. Nonetheless, I hope you'll enjoy these few from the top of Kilimanjaro.

Kilimanjaro-213 by Matt Steele, on Flickr

Looking into the ash pit from the edge of the crater. You can see the jagged sister peak, Mawenzi, under the sun as well.
Kilimanjaro-217 by Matt Steele, on Flickr

This is perhaps my favorite picture out of them all, looking back on the trail as the sun comes up over Mawenzi, with the glacier down to the right. The clouds make it feel like you're on an island and they are the ocean, when in reality the ground is many thousands of feet below them. There is a single trekker starting his descent, a ways down the trail.
Kilimanjaro-222 by Matt Steele, on Flickr

Mawenzi looking more ominous by the minute as the clouds envelope the peak
Kilimanjaro-226 by Matt Steele, on Flickr

Lastly, my final shot of the mountain during the descent. I wasn't able to take many pictures on the way down because at the top we were in a blizzard and at the bottom we were in a rain storm. Once the skies cleared the next day I snagged this shot, which is one of the only "holes" in the rainforest through which you can see the mountain on your way back down.
Kilimanjaro-233 by Matt Steele, on Flickr
 
awesome trip and photos.
 
Outstanding posts and photos! Thanks so much for sharing this momentous adventure with us here on TPF! Way cool, man.
 
So I do not have any pictures of basecamp, I have failed you all here, sorry.
Aw, POOP! I wanted to see photos of the feces!

Oh, well, if it's anything like the dog park, then I don't need to see it.
 
awesome trip and photos.

Thank you!

Excellent shots and story.
Thanks for sharing.

Glad you enjoyed it, happy to share :)

That's so cool! Awesome trip.

It was for sure!

Outstanding posts and photos! Thanks so much for sharing this momentous adventure with us here on TPF! Way cool, man.

I was trying to figure a clever way to reply with mountainous instead of momentous, but it's not happening lol. Thanks for the kind words :)

So I do not have any pictures of basecamp, I have failed you all here, sorry.
Aw, POOP! I wanted to see photos of the feces!

Oh, well, if it's anything like the dog park, then I don't need to see it.

Worse than that:icon_puke_r::icon_puke_r::icon_puke_r:
 
Amazing trip. May have to add this (or another mountain) to the ever growing bucket list

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Excellent to hear the good results from the trip. Congratulations!
...and a very artistic cairn you made along the trail.
 
Great set! Great trip! Great story! Thanks for sharing.
 
Amazing trip. May have to add this (or another mountain) to the ever growing bucket list

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There are many! Look into Pategonia and the Nepal Circuit as well.

Excellent to hear the good results from the trip. Congratulations!
...and a very artistic cairn you made along the trail.

Thank you! And yes I am very proud of my little rock formation :)

Great set! Great trip! Great story! Thanks for sharing.

Thank you for looking and reading!
 
Damn. Incredible man. I'm just trying to get into some serious backpacking and this is giving me the itch! I can't wait to go on an incredible adventure like that!

Hats off to you! Thanks so much for sharing!!
 
Thanks for the bepal circuit and pategonia tip. Will do

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Damn. Incredible man. I'm just trying to get into some serious backpacking and this is giving me the itch! I can't wait to go on an incredible adventure like that!

Hats off to you! Thanks so much for sharing!!

It's such a freeing activity. You really can escape in the wilderness and there's something primal about just walking. We were nomads from the start so it's essentially what we were built for. Definitely get to it, plus i see you're in NY State which has A TON of incredible hiking options!!

Thanks for the bepal circuit and pategonia tip. Will do

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Sure thing!
 

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