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Ascent to Mount Meru-Saddle Hut on 2006-01-16

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:ranger Godfrey
guide Yoaquim
Date:Monday, January 16, 2006
Ascent Type:No Summit Goal
Point Reached:Mount Meru - Saddle Hut
    Location:Tanzania
    Elevation:11693 ft / 3564 m

Ascent Trip Report

DAY #2 - SADDLE HUT -

Had a huge downpour just prior to getting up. I didn't sleep well, I used my pee bottle instead of walking to the far away toilet.I took my 2nd malaria pill. Joaquim served me a breakfast of egg omelet, papaya and tea c/w table cloth, china and utensils.

8h10 - We left the hut under cool overcast skies, everything wet, Godfrey leading with his rifle and Joaquim following me. The trail stays viewless below the N rim and at places comes up to the rim for great views, a section of about 1500 strairs in the 1st km. Easy to moderate with slippery sections and a number of zig-zags as you climb higher. Godfrey set a nice confortable pace, I sweated/drank a lot, Joaquim kept telling me "POLE POLE" (slowly, slowly).

A dense, jungle like, tropical vegetation with beautifull wildflowers, more so than yesterday. Weird looking huge trees with crooked horizontal branches, full of moss. As you climb higher and near the hut the vegetation gradually diminishes and you start to get volcanic slag/cinder. At the hut it is mostly slag/cinder/ash fines. We did't see any animals on the way up, apparently they rarely come up this high.

11h30 hrs - We arrived SADDLE HUT, located on a flat area between the N rim to the left and little meru to the right, some sun with fast moving clouds. A complex of 2 bunkhouses and 3 other buildings. They were presently erecting a new kitchen, a wood frame on a concrete slab. I looked at the plans/talked to the workers, every piece of wood was portered up, they used everything, no scrap. We had a heavy short rain storm with winds after lunch (with the usual royal treatment), delaying my hike up to little meru.
Relaxed in the hut.

15h30 hrs - I left for LITTLE MERU (elev 12,532 ft) with Godfrey in the lead minus his rifle, followed by a friend of Godfrey. The trail was muddy, eroded and slippery, especially on the descent. After a 30 min stay on the summit with fast moving clouds and the odd partial view, we descended back to the hut.

I received the usual "after hike" royal treatment - hot water, a snack and a dinner of oriental rice with a beaf sauce, hot coleslaw, fruit, juice and cookies.

19h15 hrs - A group of 5 just down from the summit , they left at 6h00 hrs (13 hrs - normally a 8-10 hr climb). They got disorientated on the way up and got the same mid-day storm, except that they got rain, hail, snow and wind. They were scheduled to descend to the mariakamba hut, they'll stay here tonight.

I discussed TOMMOROW'S CLIMB with the necessary gear with Joaquim. We will have breakfast at 1h30 hrs and leave at 2h00 hrs. We should be back down 10-11h00 hrs. I went to bed at 20h00 hrs.

"WHAT IS SUCCESS IF NOT HAPPINESS"
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3445 ft / 1050 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Hut Camp
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3445 ft / 1050 m
    Distance:2.5 mi / 4 km
    Route:north rim tr from mariakamba/saddle hut, day #2
    Start Trailhead:mariakamba hut  8248 ft / 2513 m
Descent Statistics
    End Trailhead:saddle hut  



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