Path to a Cure

Live from Mount Kilimanjaro


Day 1 (Feb 19)

We arrive at Ilboru Safari Lodge in Arusha, Tanzania. We will gather in the evening for a pre-climb briefing and an equipment check.

View the video on the climbers' blog.

(from left) Dr. Frantz, Jessica, and Dr. Benza arrive in Tanzania, ready to climb!
(from left) Dr. Frantz, Jessica, and Dr. Benza arrive in Tanzania, ready to climb!

       

Listen to Dr. Benza's status update upon the team's arrival in Tanzania, Africa.

 

 
Day 2 (Feb 20)

We take a ride to Londorossi National Park gate to complete the necessary registration formalities, before driving a short distance on a steep track through farmland and plantations (9,200 ft). Here the climb begins, hiking through shrub forests and stands of giant heather to reach the rim of Shira Plateau (11,000 ft). The views across the surrounding plains open up as we approach our first camp, Simba Camp (11,600 ft). Today will be about 4-5 hours of hiking.

The sleeping arangements
The sleeping arangements

       

Listen to satellite audio updates from Jessica and Dr. Frantz

Listen to satellite audio update from Dr. Benza

 
Day 3 (Feb 21)

Today is an easy day to help acclimatization and to explore the grassy moorland and volcanic rock formations of the plateau. We will walk to the summit of Shira Cathedral (12,300 ft), a huge buttress of rock surrounded by steep spires and pinnacles. There is a tangible sense of wilderness here, especially when the afternoon mists roll in. From our camp near Shira Hut (12,600 ft), we take in the unforgettable views of Mt. Meru as she floats among the clouds. Today will be 4-5 hours of hiking.

The climbing team
The climbing team

       

 
Day 4 (Feb 22)

The morning hike is a steady climb away from the moorland of Shira Plateau to reach the broad upland desert beneath the Lent Hills, with expansive views in all directions. After lunch in our camp close to Moir Hut (13,800 ft), there is the option of a more strenuous afternoon walk to reach the summit of the Lent Hills (15,400 ft). We will explore the area beneath the Northern Icefields, a remote place rarely visited by tourists, with unusual views of Kibo. Few visitors get to this remote corner of Kilimanjaro. Today will be 3-6 hours of hiking.

Dr. Benza blood ozygenation level
Dr. Benza blood ozygenation level

       

Listen to satellite audio updates from Drs. Benza and Frantz

 
Day 5 (Feb 23)

We will enjoy a morning of gentle ascent and panoramic views, walking on lava ridges beneath the glaciers of the Western Breach. After lunch at the Lava Tower (14,900 ft), there is a steep but spectacular afternoon climb on the rocky lower slopes of the Western Breach. This afternoon’s excursion is highly recommended for acclimatization purposes and for the superb views of hanging glaciers on both sides of the Breach. Today will be 4-6 hours of hiking.

A rock formation
A rock formation

       

Listen to an audio update from Dr. Frantz

 
Day 6 (Feb 24)

Today begins with a steep descent into the bottom of Barranco Valley (12,800 ft), which leads us to the famed Barranco Wall and its steep climb. At the top, the undulating trail crosses the flanks of Kibo with superb vistas of the Southern Icefields. The terrain is volcanic scree, with pockets of vegetation in sheltered hollows, and a powerful sense of mountain wilderness. Our next camp is at Karanga Camp (13,100 ft), the last water point on the approach to the summit. Today will be 5-7 hours of hiking.

Dr. Frantz, Jessica Lazar, and Dr. Benza
Dr. Frantz, Jessica Lazar, and Dr. Benza

       


Listen to an audio update from Dr. Frantz

Listen to satellite audio updates from Jessica and Dr. Benza

 
Day 7 (Feb 25)

We will follow an easy path on compacted scree with wide views that gains altitude unrelentingly to reach Barafu Hut (14,800 ft) for lunch. There is a short acclimatization hike to the plateau at the bottom of the southeast valley (15,700 ft). The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the early morning final ascent. Today will be 3-5 hours of hiking.

The climbing team
The climbing team

       

Listen to satellite audio updates from Dr. Frantz, Dr. Benza and Jessica

 
Day 8 (Feb 26), Summit Day

Today we begin with an Alpine start, ascending by torchlight starting at 1 a.m. so that we can be up on the crater rim by sunrise. The steep climb over loose volcanic scree has some well-graded zig-zags and a slow but steady pace will take us to Stella Point (18,800 ft), in about five or six hours. We will rest there for a short time to enjoy the sunrise over Mawenzi. Those who are still feeling strong can make the two-hour round trip from here along the crater rim to Uhuru Peak (19,345 ft), passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent to Barafu is surprisingly fast, and after some refreshments, we continue to descend to reach our final campsite, Millenium Camp (12,500 ft). Today will be 11-15 hours of hiking and climbing.

One of the guides next to the glacier at the summit of the mountain
One of the guides next to the glacier at the summit of the mountain

       

 

Today PHA had the opportunity to check in with the Path to a Cure team and hear all about their mountaintop experience. Listen to the interview now.

Summit Day Interview Part One: featuring Dr. Benza

Summit Day Interview Part Two: featuring Jessica

 
Day 9 (Feb 27)

Today is a sustained descent on a well constructed path takes us through a lovely tropical forest alive with birdsong and boasting lush undergrowth with considerable botanical interest. Our route winds down to the Kilimanjaro National Park gate at Mweka (5,400 ft); and on through coffee and banana farms to Mweka village, where we are transferred to Ilboru Safari Lodge in Arusha. Today will be about 4-6 hours of descending.

The journey off of the mountain
The journey off of the mountain

       

 
Day 10 (Feb 28)

After breakfast we will travel to Kilimanjaro International Airport and return home.

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