Ascent of Gelai on 2018-01-15

Climber: Rob Woodall

Date:Monday, January 15, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Elevation:9672 ft / 2948 m

Ascent Trip Report

First of a two week trip. Having bagged the main northern Tanzanian peaks in 2016, we returned in January 2018 for five lower Tanzanian ultras: Gelai, Kitumbeine, Hanang, Shengena and Sungwi. Arranged by Trekili, as was our previous trip. Pete Ellis and Duane Gilliland had done the first three in 2016; the last two were more of an adventure. 4 Brits, 3 from the previous trip - and an American on his first African trip.

Arusha overnight, Sun am in town getting supplies, Sim card and watching men carrying full sized telegraph poles around! Pm drive via main Kenya highway and dirt roads to the Maasai village of Gelai Bomba, 11km S of the peak; colourful noisy masked weavers nest building in the village trees. En route several sightings of giraffe and zebra, eland and a kori bustard. Being Sunday the 'municipal office' is closed - a problem as we were supposed to register there, as became apparent after our hike, although we already have a local guide arranged. Late pm our guide takes us up Pierdot the shapely P100m summit E of village. Overnight in village guesthouse (hot, cramped, Geoff's cooking excellent).

Mon am: an hour's drive on rough track, 4x4 in places, views of Dikdik, level fertile ground above with small settlement, the Landcruiser is coaxed to 2250m where we start hiking at a trail fork, good track heads steeply uphill then traverses L with views of Wildebeest, scrubby trees busy with sunbirds including golden winged, scarlet chested, northern double collared; a common buzzard. Track swings up R through a saddle then we fork L on indistinct tussocky track then climb more or less due E, through 200m of washa-washa (the local heavy duty stinging nettle) with some useful buffalo tracks (usefully no buffaloes) to a comms mast with the natural highpoint in trees a few metres further S (S2.61246° E36.10443°, 2950m).

Up in 3 hours, an hour for lunch on top, 2 hours down. Various Maasai join us for a time to chat with our guide. The Landcruiser jolts its way back to the village, where we're stopped by the police! We should have checked in at the (closed) office yesterday(!). Half an hour of discussion (and probably some cash) seems to settle matters. Before sunset I head out alone to visit the hill just west of the village, 1328 P68m by GPS, not a P100 but a nice walk.

Gelai photos

Next day Kitumbeine, a day trip from same base.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:28 ft / 8 m
    Gear Used:
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:28 ft / 8 m
    Distance:11.6 mi / 18.6 km
    Start Trailhead:9644 ft / 2939 m
Descent Statistics
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rob Woodall
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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