Monday, September 5, 2016

On the ground in Arusha

Greetings from Tanzania!  We had a generally uneventful, albeit long set of flights Saturday and Sunday, ultimately arriving at Kilimanjaro International about 7:40pm local last night.  The process to secure a visa and pass through immigration was tedious and we finally emerged around 9:30.

The Barrs and Alex and I went to collect our bags which was generally good news as we had 9 of the 10.  The 10th unfortunately contains the vast majority of my mountaineering equipment.  After about a 45 minute drive to the hotel I hopped on the phone with Judy and she took over as our team went to dinner.  Judy, with a lot of gumption was able to track my bag down, which apparently had decided to spend the night in Amsterdam.  This is encouraging and a real lift for me personally to know it's whereabouts was--thanks Judy!!!!!  With any luck my bag will arrive tonight, which would give me plenty of time to organize and prepare for tomorrow's morning departure to the mountain--keep you fingers crossed!

We've met our team, whom all seem great.  In addition to Alex and Dan, Paula and Caroline Barr (the DE contingent) we have Eric and Mike, a father and son team from Cleveland--Mike is 35 and his dad Eric is 72!, although he looks much younger.  Thomas is about 32 and Brooke about 28.  Thomas works in the tech industry in San Fran, having graduated from MIT.  Brooke works at Bridgewater--the famous hedge fund--she live in Conn.  Russell is a 26 YO who lives in Virginia and works in the Hotel Industry.

Our head guide is Mark Tucker, who is probably my age, born just a month before me.  He is an immensely talented and experienced mountaineer.  This will be his 39th Kili expedition.  He has also been to Everest 15 times and indeed was part of the famous Peace Climb of Everest back in 2000--when he climbed with a "junior" guide named Ed Viesturs.  Also, he taught a couple of junior guides named Hamill and Vernovage the ropes back when he was at IMG.

In addition to Mark, three local guides, headed by Freddy will be leading us.  That and a full contingent of 50 porters, cooks and camp help will be part of our small city as we head up the mountain.  Pretty impressive manpower!

Today, besides waiting for my bag, entails hanging around and making sure we are well prepared for tomorrow.  Tomorrow we climb some 6 linear miles and 3,990 net vertical to 10,000 feet--can't wait to get it going!

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