Trip to the Kilimanjaro (27/11/2004 til 13/12/2004)

organised by Trilhos

Ascent and Safari. It's a complete trip between the equatorial jungle and the everlasting snows on the top. You must be fit but the best preparation is to do regular walks in the previous 6 months. During the ascent we will have relaxing journey of 2 to 6 hours per day. The last day to the top will be more demanding but without major technical difficulties. We will sleep in tents, since there are no refuges but the walking will be eased by carriers and cookers.

Trip and Photos





Trip and Photos (click on the dates or marked names)


27 Nov


Trip to Nairobi (Kenya) from Madrid (Spain) in a regular flight (KLM, "we loose your luggage and do not really care") via Amsterdam.


It's been a long time since I did not enjoy so much a trip. It had a rather "bad" start since my luggage did not arrive in Nairobi (I had to live for one week with quite rudimentary clothes up to 4600 m height), but indeed it was not bad at all since it triggered my will and need of enjoying. After all, it was a good thing that it happened. Anyway, you know that swiss people are cautious, so all the basic mountain equipment (rain jacket, rain trousers, polar jacket, polartec socks, gloves, cap, boots, sleeping bag, watering system, medical stuff against malaria and other diseases, water purifying pills...) were with me inside the plane in a second backpack. So, KLM wasn't able to ruin my trip and indeed, I can now claim to be one of the few white guys that climbed the Mawenzi -5000m to 5200m- and reached Kibo's tail (known by all of us as the Kilimanjaro, which in fact is the name of entire region and not only of the mountain) wearing the same underwear, washed overnight regularly, of course. In addition, my backpack was the lightest of all of them, which made the porters quite happy. Finally, it is important to remind that the smell freezes down below 0 degrees and we were not the cleanest guys in the universe. So, "hakuna matata" (no problem in swahili).

28 Nov


Road trip to Tanzania, over the Amboseli National Park and Meru Peak. Sleep at the YMCA hostel in Moshi.


After a quite particular night in Nairobi at the Comfort Inn hotel, neither comfortable nor "in", I left with David and Sandra to the airport to pick up the rest of the people and to learn that my luggage did not arrive with the Kenyan Airways morning plane. From there we moved directly to Tanzania on a "fantastic" African shuttle, crossing the Nairobi National Park, where we saw the first of a long series of giraffes. To cross the border between Kenya and Tanzania was something great that everybody should experience once in life. Not because of the multilingual ladies trying to sell almost everything they do and do not have (VISA cards will be accepted soon). Just because it is a real mess of trucks, cows, cars, humans and other rather difficult to identify "species"... A few hours just to progress ten meters, filling several forms and getting a lot of stamps in the before clean passports....

Once in Tanzania everything became more simple. That's the advantage of African countries that do not pretend to be civilised (Kenya is a particular case of "britishofilia"): everything is straightforward, either "possible" by paying a small amount of money or "possible" after "impossible and a big amount of money". No violence, no robbery, just clear and fair trading! We arrived late in the afternoon at the YMCA hostel in Moshi, the nearest town to the Kilimanjaro National Park. The view of the Kibo from our hotel was really spectacular, anticipating what would be one of the nicest but hardest experiences I've lived through. We slept like angels in our beds, knowing that during the next ten days only a mattress and the sleeping bag would be our protection against the nightly coldness, humidity and fog. At least, no mosquitoes, because that night they got Swiss blood for free. Hopefully the malaria pills I'm taking are not a placebo.

29 Nov


Transfer in all terrain vehicle till the start of the walk in the village of Nale Moru at an altitude of 1950 meters/6400 feet. After a crop area we will enter the tropical jungle. Camping at the start of the Savannah at an altitude of 2600 meters/8500 feet (3 to 4 hours walk).


Early next morning , day 1 of the expedition, I realised what it means to travel with other 23 people to the Kilimanjaro: 46 porters and 7 guides were waiting for us at the exit of the hostel next to the busses. Tarzan movies show a basketball team compared to our group. All backpacks (except one still lost, guess which one) were stored on top of the largest and better bus for the porters, and we entered into an piece of history painted in Bordeaux-red. No wonder we had to change a wheel on our way to Lotokitok, where the real climb started. We reached our destination around 16:00, and after a short 3 hours walk through the jungle (saw monkeys but none of the promised leopards) we reached our first camp at around 2600m. The show was clearly going on and we felt asleep with the marvellous sound of the high savannah.

30 Nov


Long walk with magnificent views of our destination and also the Mawenzi. Sleep at an altitude of 3600 meters/11800 feet at a valley (6 to 7 hours walk).


The 2nd day we climbed 1000 meters up to a camp in the middle of nowhere. Fresh peanuts, butter grilled popcorn and something called water but with the color of tea were our healthy lunch. Still below the sea of clouds, the rain didn't let us sleep very comfortably over the whole night. Fortuntaly, we enjoyed a splendid sunset and even a more fantastic sunrise. 

1 Dec


Steep walk on a grass area and afterwards on the plateau without vegetation till the base of Mawenzi. Sleep at an altitude of 4330 meters/14200 feet (3 to 4 hour walk).


The 3rd day we climbed another 700m to the base of the Mawenzi, the small friend of Kibo with a just 5200 m height, and next to the only lake existing in the whole park: a brown watered pound with a diameters of 10 m. Guess where the drinking water and the soup where coming from... Voila, first night with stomach problems (maybe a reaction to the malaria treatment, but most likely the stinky water), several visits below zero to something called toilets and a white man cure after taking 4 capsules in one night. My stomach was now acclimatised and ready for drinking whatever came in a liquid form!!!

2 Dec


Short walk till the "lunar" landscape of the Mawenzi side. Camping at an altitude of 4600 meters/15000 feet (2 to 3 hours walk).


Day 4. After a cold and rainy night in which all tents became really wet, the sun appeared. The gorgeous views to the Mawenzi allowed us forgetting all the pains. Simply fantastic!!! We climbed to the third camp at 4600m and have marvellous views to the Mawenzi, to the high plains and to the covered Kibo. We also began to learn what does really mean to be at high altitude. During the next four days we would never come down below an average 4600 m level, which is
just a few hundred meters below Mt. Blanc's summit. Fortunately I did not suffer anything else than a headache, but other people, including very well trained climbers, had really bad times. As I experienced myself later on, mountain sickness is not something really lovely, but at that time I was quite happy thinking that I passed the exam: poor innocent guy.

3 Dec


Resting day for altitude acclimatising or climbing of the Mawenzi (5149 meters/16893 feet) only for the "confirmed" climbers and well adapted to the altitude.


Day 5 was supposed to be an acclimatising day, which in fact means that one has to move around and even climb higher in order to show the body what is coming next in a very crude way. I was feeling really well and joined a group of people that walked up to one of Mawenzi's lowest summits (Mawenzi means broken, and is a mountain made of hundreds of needles). The "cool dudes" went to climb a 500 m vertical wall very early in the morning. Woow, that must be something, to stretch the muscles at 5000 m!!! But the way up on a 45 degrees slope was also quite "interesting", and finally I managed to cross the 5000 m limit. Well, I was simply thankful and grateful to whoever allowed me to do so and though about Dimitris and myself failing to climb the first slopes of the Reculet just sixth month ago!!! At that moment I became confident that I would make it, which after quite some pains became finally true. Not so much time left but a lot of things to learn. Again, poor innocent of me...

4 Dec


Crossing of the "saddle": between the Mawenzi and the Kibo (final part of Kilimanjaro). Sleep at an altitude of 4750 meters/15580 feet (3 to 4 hours walk).


Day 6. One of the coldest nights ever. The Mawenzi wasn't showing any clemency to us, and I woke up inside a tent in the middle of the snow with what later on, would develop as a bronchitis. But the good news about my backpack (a porter was already carrying it to the next camp at 4800m) and the excitation about the climbing, in only 14 hours, where the best possible treatment. We crossed the desert between the Mawenzi and the Kibo, about 10 kms of walk, and finally had it, in all its splendour, in front of us! However, I was starting to feel tired by then and the bronchitis and my left hip and my right knee were becoming a real pain. We had dinner as soon as we arrived to the "guide school" camp and left to our tents for resting. I wore all the warm and nice clothes preserved inside my "just arrived" backpack and managed to sleep with all my equipment, new underwear and warm socks. The breakfast with hot tea and cookies was at half past eleven, and at midnight...

5 Dec


Exit at 0:00 AM to climb the final access to the crater, dawn at the border of the crater at Gillman's Point (5685 meters/18652 feet). The ones in good shape may opt to do a 3 hour walk around the crater, passing by the famous Kilimanjaro glaciers and go to the top of the Uhuru Peak (5896 meters/19344 feet). Descent to the camp site or to the December 2nd site at 4600 meters/15000 feet (10 to 13 hours walk).


Day 7. ...the real job begun. The group stayed together during the first hour and a half thanks to the superb work of the guides. They are really tough guys and very very well prepared! However, it was clear that the group would not continue like that since the people in front were feeling much stronger and climbing much faster than we, weaker people at the tail. So, after reaching the "commercial" path up to the crater defined by Gillman's point at about 5600m, the natural selection started to act. During the next hour I did quite well, both mentally and physically: drinking every 15 min, eating an energy bar of Hero cranberry muessli (yo do not know how much I ended hating them after the 8 hours of climb) and just a bit cold in my feet and my hands. Indeed, I started to pass other people with  mountain disease symptoms. The sky was clear and Orion, not visible in the northern hemisphere during winter, was dominating the celestial sphere. But then, at the 5000m, something started to go wrong. The first clouds appeared, and with them, the snow and the wind. I was still climbing up quite well, but feet and hands were getting colder and colder, my left hip started to "say hello" and also my sweaty back was now freezing. I stopped for using a very useful "heat generator" and placed it in the middle of my back. One always thinks that such things are unnecessary until they really become a need, and I was once more glad that all my equipment arrived the day before. In this way I managed to survive another hour and a half. But then, around 4:00 AM, my hip said "no more, thanks".  I had to slow down and put the load on my right leg, poor knee. Furthermore, a light headache showed up. "What the hell, I am acclimatised" I thought... well, things are never like one expects them to be, and 5100m  was already the highest point over the sea level that my poor body had ever reached. Another Hero bar and more water, "shit, not now, please let me go ahead"... The last time I took a drink I forgot to blow the water back to the water depot inside the backpack. Too late, now it was frozen inside the tube down to my lips. "Chew, chew" and "slurp, slurp" helped to break the ice, but Isostar-based ice-tea is not what one would chose for drinking at 4:30 AM, facing snow and wind and exposed to temperatures of -10 degrees.  I started to monitor the altimeter very often, trying to dose my strength as approaching to Gillman´s point. I  was also looking at the zigzagging of lights on top of me, indicating that there was still a long way up to the crater. At this moment I stopped feeling the fingers and the feet. Just knew they were there because I could move them constantly. At 5:30 it became really tough. Whenever the lights on top of me were disappearing, the excitement about reaching the first point was curing all pains. But the damned lights were appearing  and disappearing again and again. It was the longest hour of my life, fighting against the coldness, the lack of oxygen, a clear bronchitis, a growing headache and some kind of frustration. It continued like that for an eternity, and then, by miracle, the last slop ended and Gillman's point was there. We couldn't see anything from there, buried in a wet fog. But it stopped snowing, and we were all so happy that anything else was absolutely irrelevant. First episode completed and a lot of happiness. Indeed, Gillmans point is considered to be one of Kibo's summits. After half an hour waiting for the souls lost in a sea of tiredness, also known as the tails of the Kibo, we decided to continue to the real summit, the Uhuru peak at 5985m (5982.55m according to the most recent GPS measurements). Half the way up I finally learned painfully what is mountain sickness. I started to loose the coordination of my feet and legs, became exhausted and couldn't thing about anything else than sitting down and or descending to the camp. David and Sandra continued with a "see you at the top", but my thoughts were just "no way, I will go down, I can't continue". And then James, a guide whose existence was unknown to me before that, came and helped me to stand up. "Pole pole" (slowly slowly in Swahili) and you will reach the top", my angel said. Well, I do not know how but I stand up and continued the ascent followed by him, very very "pole pole". On the way up, totally drunk and dizzy, I met my tent mate suffering also from the same disease. He wanted to descend, but "his mate" Elias, our 50 years old guide leader, was encouraging us to continue: "very close to Uhuru peak, very close , pole pole". Half an hour later and after having met a lot of people descending in much much worse conditions than us (some of them carried down literally), we saw it: the summit and a lot of people concentrated around the post marking it. Well, to say that I felt like the happiest man on earth is just a joke compared to my emotions. Like a flashback, all the things that happened this year passed in front my eyes, the good and the bad -I also thought of you, my dear friends, of course as the very good ones- and I started to cry. Sorry for demolishing some myths, but swiss-spanish machos "like me" do cry... Of  course this does not apply to the real Spaniards!!! "From the Reculet to the Kibo in six months", I thought, and all pains, dizziness and diseases were gone. I did it, the Kili was below my feet. Suddenly I realised that the weather was again glad to us, indeed extremely sunny, so I took my camera and started to shoot around like crazy. We took pictures of ourselves around the post, of the crater, of the glaciers, and during half an hour or so we enjoyed the views from Africa's top, mount Kibo. Really glorious. But mind can't rule over body for a long time, so the headache, dizziness and the bronchitis came back. Time for descending. I felt very tired but returning "home" to the safe 4800m camp with the satisfaction of having been at the Uhuru was a constant carrot in front of my nose. That night, believe me, I slept at the best suite of the Kibo-Ritz hotel inside my sleeping bag. A very deep and pleasant sleep, in which something strange appeared... I dreamt of the Aconcagua, but this, my friends, is another story to be told...soon? 

6 Dec


Descent by Marangu way. Sleep at the Mandara Huts 1800 meters/12205 feet (6 to 7 hours walk).


Beatiful and relaxed, long and kilometric walks descending along the southern face of the Kibo. We took a lot of pictures of our big "friend", in particular the one in the attachmente that David will send to CERN's press office. He did not carry 1 kg of flag for nothing ;) 

7 Dec


Descent till the National Park border at 1800 meters/5905 feet (4 to 5 hours walk). Car trip to Moshi. Sleep at simple the YMCA hostel.


The bronchitis spoiled my night but finally, after sleeping in the middle of the rainforest, we reached the Marangu gate. One of the "experiences" that I will carry along for the rest of my life was finished, but a new one just started: an unexpected but fantastic 2nd part of the trip.

8, 9, 10 and 11 Dec


Safari in all terrain vehicles at the National Parks of Lake Manyara (Dec 8th and Dec 9th), Ngorongoro Crater (Dec 9th and Dec 11th), Serenegeti (Dec 9th and Dec 10th) and a true Massai village "thanks to Mario and Tuma" . Sleep in simple hotel during the 8th, in tents during 9th and 10th. The 11th sleep at Moshi at the YMCA hostel.

12 Dec


Return to Kenya, transfer of a few hours in Nairobi and return to Spain in a regular flight.


PRICE: Staff, technical material, tents and Trilhos logistics: 250 EUR. Other expenses to consider: Flight (1060 CHF), sleep, park fees, transfers, carriers, food (1000 EU), photographic safari "everything included" (250 USD), tips for both Kili and safari and other things (400 USD) = 2100 EU in total.


Trilhos Travel Agency

Thomas Nederman's web page

Tanzania Web

Kilimanjaro National Park

Accommodation  in Nairobi: Kenya Comfort Inn



(Lista indicativa de) Material para la asecensión al Kilimanjaro

Material de montaña y ropa técnica



Con suela lo más rígida posible para permitir un ascenso más facil en pendientes de nieve o en caso de nieve dura/hielo o para uso con crampones.

Ok x1 par
Cordones de recambio para las botas Para evitar imprevistos, ya que allá arriba no se encuentra nada. Ok x2 pares
Cera para las Botas Las botas de montaña deben estar lo más impermeabilizadas posible. Ok x1

Medias / Calcetines

Con buen poder calorífico y, simultáneamente, buena evacuación de la transpiración. Posibles marcas: Coolmax or Termastat.

Ok x7 pares

Pantalones interiores

Que permitan una buena evacuación de la transpiración. Por ejemplo de “polipropileno”, “capilene”, “rovil”, etc.  

Ok x2
Camisetas interiores Polartec Para las noches con mucho frío y para las zonas de mayor elevación Ok x2

Camisetas interiores

Que permitan una buena evacuación de la transpiración. Por ejemplo de “polipropileno”, “capilene”, “rovil”, etc.

Ok x2

Abrigo impermeable

Y respirable, por ejemplo de Goretex, Climaway ,etc.

Ok x1

Pantalones impermeables

Y respirables, por ejemplo de Goretex, Climaway ,etc.

Ok x1


De montañaa para evitar que la nieve entre en las botas.

Ok x1 par

Forro polar

Por ejemplo, Polartec 200 + Windstopper.

Ok x1

Guantes para frío intenso

Tipo esquí con preferencia por el GoreTex o un par constituido por guantes interiores con forro polar y guantes exteriores impermeables.

Ok x1
Guantes ligeros No

Gorro o pasamontañas

Idealmente de seda o equivalente para disminuir la transpiración. y la comezón producida por los gorros tradicionales demasiado calientes.  Puede ser completado con un protector de orejas de forro polar para frío intenso.

Ok x1


De visera y protector de cuello contra el sol.

Ok x1

Gafas de sol

Ok x1

Parches para reparar rasguños


Espray antivaho para gafas

Ok x1

Crema hidratante


Protector solar

Mínimo factor 30, preferiblemente más en caso de alpinismo de gran altura (50+). Piz Buin es una buena marca.


Barra hidratante para labios

Mínimo factor 30, preferiblemente más en caso de alpinismo de gran altura (50+). Piz Buin es una buena marca.


Cantimplora o sistema de hidratación

Con 1l o 1,5 l de capacidad, preferiblemente isotérmico.  

Ok x1
Cartera o funda antirrobo Colgada del cuello o en la cintura, para guardar el pasaporte, el certificado de vacunación, el dinero, la tarjeta de crédito, documentos personales...  Ok


Una de entre 35 a 45 litros de capacidad para llevar durante las actividades de día.

Una de 50 a 75 litros para ser transportada por los porteadores.

Ok x2

Saco de dormir

Para temperatura límite de conmfort entre –10º /-15º preferiblemente con un peaso inferior a a 2Kg.

Ok x2
Colchoneta aislante De buena calidad (tipo “Z-Rest”) o idealmente de tipo “auto hinchable".   Ok x1
Bastones telescópicos Ok x1 par
Toalla para secar Una toalla grande. Ok 
Generadores de calor   No
Sacos de compresión   Para almacenamiento de ropa y posterior compactación. Sirven bolsas de basura, que por añadidura son impermeables. Ok x2
Bolsas de basura   Para proteger la cámara del polvo y la humedad y guardar otras cosas. No
Luz frontal Para las ascensiones durante la noche y como linterna en general. Ok x1
Pilas de petaca Para la luz frontal No
Navajo Suiza Por ejemplo la Victorinox Swiss Army Mountaneer 1.3743 (mirar en la sección Pocket Knives). Ok x1
Manta de supervivencia De aspecto metálico y muy ligera. Ok x1
Mosquitera Una red grande para colgar en el interior de la tienda (sobre todo en la sabana). Ok x1
Adaptador electrico No
Seguro de accidentes y rescate en montaña No
Visados Visado de entrada simple para Kenya, sacado en el consulado honorario de Madrid por 43 euros. El visado para Tanzania se sacará al cruzar la frontera desde Kenya. Ok Kenya
Barras energeticas No
Papel higienico   No
Toallitas húmedas No
Velas No
Encendedor o cerillas No
Kit de coser No
Cinta americana Para sellar grietas o rasguños en la ropa. Ok x20 m
Silbato Para ser utilizado en caso de perderse. No
Pinzas para la ropa x 10 unidades. Para colgar la ropa y que no se vuele (suele hacer viento allá arriba). No
Bañador Ok x1
Zapatillas de ducha o chancletas Ok x1 par


Material de aseo, sanitario y medicamentos


Desinfectante Preferiblemente más potente que el alcohol, y por tanto menos voluminoso. Ok
Aspirinas Para evitar el "muy frecuente" dolor de cabeza y mitigar los posibles efectos del mal de altura. Al menos 2 paquetes (dos aspirinas al día). Ok x 40
Tiritas Preferiblemente del tipo segunda piel (Compeed) Ok
Crema antirrozadura La tienen en No
Pinza depilatoria No
Vitaminas No
Tijeritas No
Colirio No
Antibiotico de gran espectro Como el Clamoxyl, llevar para 8 días de tratamiento No
Pastillas potabilizadoras Ok x40 
Antimosquitos Zedán, lo tienen en Ok
Bastones para los oidos No
Tobilleras En caso de torceduras de tobillo Ok x2 
Rodilleras Para evitar la sobrecarga al descender No
Tapones para los oidos De gomaespuma. Ok
Imodium Conta la diarrea. Ok
Pastillas para dormir A gran altura es difícil conciliar el sueño. Dormidina 25 mg, 1 cápsula al día 1/2 hora antes de dormir. Ok x16
Pastillas contra el dolor de garganta Strepsils con anestésico Ok


(Edemox 500 mg)

Contra el mal de altura. Sólo debe utilizarse en caso de necesidad y para descender.  ¡Nunca para continuar el ascenso! Ok


Otro tipo de cosas


Cartas Baraja española o de póker. No
Globos Para los niños de la zona. No
Libros Alguna cosilla para leer. Ok
Mapa de la zona Ok
Guía de viaje Trailblazer, Kilimanjaro - A trekking guide to Africa's highest mountain Ok


Material fotográfico


Cámara reflex Nikon D-70. Ok x1
Objetivo multiuso 35/70 mm o equivalente en formato de CCD digital. Ok x1
Teleobjetivo 75/300 mm o superior para el safari fotográfico. Ok x1
Baterias cargadas Baterías Nikon y pilas no recargables del tipo ???. Ok x2
Cargador de baterías Para baterías Nikon. Ok x1
Tarjetas de memoria 4 Gb + 1 Gb + 512 Mb = 1650 fotografías. Ok
Seguro para material fotográfico Ok


(this list was prepared by P. Pacheco -Trilhos-, Miquel Cerqueira -o rei do Reculet-, D. Collados -Polli- and myself)


Last update 11/05/2007