Thursday, December 13, 2012

Day 1: Team arrives at Machame Camp

The Kili 7 -Ashesh, Ruchir, Swetal, Ronak, Achal, Preena and Pritesh
Machame Gate to Machame Camp
Hike time: 5 hrs, Initial elevation: 5,400ft (1828m) Estimated distance: 7 miles (11km), Final elevation: 9,400ft (3020m)


The Kili Crew with their Kili Crew of guides
By Pritesh Gandhi
December 13, 2012 - We woke up in the morning anxious to get started.  After months of waiting the final hour seemed like eternity. We had our last shower, unfortunately we had 5 drops of hot water. Last night we learned that we have one main guide, Gasper.   Team Kili for I-Cell completed their final packing, and met for breakfast.  We had a hearty breakfast consisting of a vegetarian omelet, toast and AfriCafe!  Our outfitter was supposed to arrive at the hotel at 8:30 am but was delayed.  Once he arrived, we filled our camel bags with 1.5 liters of  water and drove to Machame gate.  

Ruchir at the Entrance Gate
We registered at the gate and waited for the guide to select the porters.  It seemed interesting that the porters had to be selected; I do not know what the interview process involved.  While we waited, we saw a couple of monkeys swinging on the trees and more importantly eyeing our food.  After we waited for over an hour, off we were.  To many of us, the first day was more strenuous than we had imagined. It rained pretty hard for about an hour but then the sun was out!  The views were simply amazing--lush and dense forest as far as your eye can see.

Made it from the yellow star to the first red dot

A couple of us had a mild headache but we  were very good in drinking all our water.  After we hiked for about 5 hours, we arrived at the camp site.  
Tents were already up and so was tea and popcorn.  We  changed out of our wet and sweaty clothes, had our snacks and before we knew it, dinner was served.  To my surprise, dinner was delicious and included cucumber and leek soup, fried potatoes and vegetables and fish.  Tiny bananas were offered as dessert.  Before we retired for the night, Gaspar came in to check our oxygen saturation, pulse and temperature.  Ronak was the first one to check his temp and placed the thermometer under his armpit.  As soon as he was done, he passed the thermometer to Swetal who then placed it directly into his mouth...CRAZY!!!  To our surprise, he is now complaining of a sore throat:). 

By Achal and Preena Gandhi - Day 1 ended with our party looking up in wonder at the sky by night. There were more stars than any of us had ever seen before and Pritesh was even blessed by seeing a shooting star pass by.

The night passed with an orchestra of synchronized snoring by Ronak, Ashesh and Pritesh.Tomorrow, we will start a steep climb at about 9am." 

Entrance Signs at Kilimanjaro Park's Machame Gate - "The Whiskey Route"

A lot can go wrong on the way up the Mountain.  Yikes!!!


  1. Go Team YGF! hip flasks at the ready for the whiskey route!

  2. Did Pritesh choose a monkey to be his guide? Just asking!

  3. Awesome Ashesh!!! This is really neat. My mother was the youngest daughter of African missionaries. Their family climbed Kili when she was only 16 (?) years old. She alone with their lead guide climbed all the way to the summit where the box is (because he had promised a friend who climbed there earlier without his (the friend's)country flag that he (the guide)would place one in the box fr him. My mom was feeling fine while the rest were happy to have made it to the 'top' camp but not feeling well enough to go around the rim of the crater to the absolute peak of the mountain. When they descended the whole party were given flower halos but my moms and the guides were a different color to signify their success to the summit. At that time my mom was the youngest person to have done that. Good luck and have a wonderful climb! We all fondly remember Yash and still are uplifted by his amazing personality and perseverance and JOY in life!