Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Climbing Up Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro is translated from Swahili as "a shining mountain". It is a large extinct volcano in the middle of the Tanzanian savannah and the highest spot of the entire African continent. In 1977 the national nature reserve was opened around the mountain. Every day dozens and even hundreds of tourists come here to climb this giant mountain. However, it is not very difficult from the rock climbing perspective. Kilimanjaro is a perfect mountain for a beginner - what is waiting for you is a 50-kilometer long gentle slope.

The authorities have monopolized the climbing, and tourists have to hire local guides and porters. No one is allowed to go on their own. The passage is guarded and surrounded with barbed wire.

Day one, mark - 2000 meters. For many years of work the guides with tourists have made a perfect path here which is pretty pleasant to follow.

One can observe such cute monkeys. What's good is that there are no insects.

In such huts tourist groups stop to have a snack. It seems not climbing the highest mountain in Africa but a picnic not far from home. These huts are also used to have rest and spend nights.

Day two, mark - 3720 meters. The landscape starts to change, the jungle turns into savannah. Local porters are not used to backpacks, they prefer to carry everything on their heads.

One can come across less fortunate alpinists carefully carried down.  Injuries, frostbite, mountain high-altitude sickness - everyone has his own story.

To the sides of the path locals get some rest or have a bite.

These pretty berries are something between raspberry and stone bramble.

3200 meters. It gets colder and clouds crawl to the mountain.

And again picnic in a picturesque glade.

Under such decking there are small trenches digged out to carry the rainwater down. The path remains intact.

The next camp with the same huts.

When the group reaches the height of 4700 meters their organisms have to undergo acclimatization. It looks like this: one goes from 3700 to 4000 mark and takes a walk there for an hour or two and then goes back to 3700. It helps to adapt your organism to the height as well as low pressure and low oxygen content.

Acclimatization is a very important process. If one comes from the height of 3500 to 4500 and falls asleep, one is going to wake up with typical headache of high-altitude sickness.

The whole slope of Kilimanjaro is covered with the rivers of hard lava.

After 4300 you will observe only moss, lichens and some small plants.

Hordes of tourists follow this road.

Day three. Mark - 4750. Ominous clouds approach.

Evacuation moment. An injured man is put on a one-wheel cart and fastened. Escorting people go by the cart holding it and entertain the injured with a chat.

Indirect symptoms of high-altitude disease are excessive communicability and excitement which turns into apathy. The man is talking and talking, and can't stop.

300 meters down he'll get better and may even try to climb again.

The next camp.

People change one another, this Chinese woman has to free the bed for coming Russian tourists.

People always want to be remembered: "Russia. Lenya (Leonid) Serov was here."

High-altitude dinner.

Small corner to write letters home.

The height reaches 5000 meters...

Neighboring mountain is more attractive for mountain climbers. But it is far from transport routes which make it unpopular.

Clothes have changed and high-altitude disease can be felt almost by everyone.

5600 meters. Paths unite and people form a long line of figures. The snow makes it a lot more difficult to climb.

The top, as always, appears unexpectedly. A little rest (about one hour, no sleep - one may not wake up) and then down.

Brave team, everyone is ok.
via dima-chatrov

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