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Mt Meru Climb

Days 13 to 16

all seasons in one day

Mt Meru Ascent Day 1, 9 February 2011

After a lot of faffing with kit bags etc we set off for the starting point of our Mt Meru climb, the Momella gate. Once there it took us a while to meet our ranger ‘Goodluck’ and then longer to set off. We walked through bracken like forest, mostly on a dirt road for about 2 hours. It was a pretty slow pace. They keep slowing us down as you aclimatise better if you go ‘pole pole’ (Swahili for slowly, slowly). It is actually harder to go slower!

It was a slow but beautiful walk. We stopped for lunch at a huge tree that you can literally drive a car through the base and later we had a break at a waterfall. Chris decided to climb the waterfall, obviously too much energy, he should save it for later!


By 5pm we were pretty buggered and ready to stop – but it was another 45 mins to our overnight stop at the Mirikambu huts. It was a hive of activity when we arrived. There seemed to be more Europeans around – lots of German/Austrians (we quickly learned that Austrians have the same issue with being called German as Canadians to US / Kiwis to Aussie- oops!). This place is also a stop on the way down so there are some climbers who are a lot wearier than others.

After a nice ‘washy wash’ from small buckets of warm water and a hot dinner it was early to bed in the bunk houses. 4 people to a room makes things very cosy and a bit more intimate than we’re used to.

Meru Ascent day 2 10 February, 2011

It was an early start and after breakfast we headed off on a very slow pace up what felt like 1000s of adhoc wooden steps. It is embarrassing to see the porters rush past us, carrying 20kgs, but we’re held back by the guides to help acclimatise. (That is our defence and we will stick to until proven otherwise!)

It was a slow and steady climb for 4-5 hours until we reached the Saddle Hut (3,800m). It was great to be met with hot soup. The wind chill was a bit extreme so we quickly layered up.


After lunch and a snooze we were taken on an acclimatisation walk up Little Meru which took about an hour to get up and 30mins to get down. It is a mix of small trails and climbing up rocks. The view was nice but big Meru loomed across at us.

We had an early dinner then tried to get some sleep which didn’t really happen. C and I thought we’d be warmer sleeping on the same bunk – not a good idea, (W moves around a lot in her sleeping bag –C)

Meru Summit, 11 February, 2011

We were awoken by Henry, our chief guide at 12pm and after tea and porridge we set off into the night. There was a lot of consternation about the amount of clothes that we’d been told to wear, but it soon became apparent why. After about 30 minutes of heating up and boiling under the down jackets, we hit a ridge which I’ll claim had a -10 degree wind chill factor. It was so cold for us poor Brisbanites – but at least the Canadians also said they were feeling the cold.

We trudged through the night up and down mammoth sand dune like things and also had to do some pretty hairy bouldering which was terrifying (maybe it was just me that was terrified – C seemed to enjoy it!). We all agreed later that it was good that we couldn’t see the height of each hill and also what was on each side as we found on the way back how treacherous the drop off into the abyss of the crater it was.

It was a very long cold walk until the sun came up. We had to go slowly as usual but we also took time waiting for people to catch up. Standing in the freezing cold wasn’t much fun. C and I also had problems with getting access to water and trying to sort out head torches, open close jackets with gloves on. We’ll have to think about what we can improve for the Killi summit night.



It was a long way but we made it to Socialist Peak in 7 hours. After numerous photos and a sip of beer that C had carried up we headed back the way we came and saw the kind of silly things we’d done in the dark! We got back to the Saddle hut at about 1pm and tried to get some sleep. After some lunch we headed back down to the Mirikambu huts. After numerous bets – C determined that there were 2,484 ‘íntact’ steps.

We had a celebratory beer, dinner and early to bed.

Meru decent day 4, 12 February 2011,

We headed off for the main gate after the tipping ceremony. I find it quite embarrassing, how all of the porters and guides are made to line up in front of us and they sing us a song, then we give them envelopes with their tips. I understand that it is just the way it’s done, and that it’s ‘optional’ but I really think that expecting the clients to make up for measly pay is unreasonable. I also feel that if it were a bunch of westerners doing us the same service it would be rude to make such a spectacle out of it. But as we’re getting used to saying, TIA – this is Africa.

Anyway we made our way down to the main gate. I was pretty grumpy, tired, sun burnt and over it but eventually everyone got their certificates and we headed off to the hotel. It was a nice hotel, in the middle of nowhere again. C and I debated paying for laundry, but decided that we could do a good enough job in the bath tub and then found the group for a dodgy US$17 buffet dinner.

(Doing all the laundry ourselves was a bad idea – there was so much to do it took all afternoon, then it rained and all got wet. We spent most of the next morning with the hairdryer drying socks and drying it for the next three days in a tent.)

Posted by ourlife 04:08 Archived in Tanzania Tagged mountain trekking

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