Nov 192008
 

shira-plateau-from-arrow-glacier

Anny Curry is still at Arrow Glacier camp and reports still feeling somewhat sick despite taking a rest day.  It was 3pm Kilimanjaro time at the time the video was made.  This is not a good sign and I predict she will not attempt the Western Breach tomorrow morning.  Proper acclimatization is particularly important when using the Western Breach because once a partial ascent is made, it is tremendously difficult, if not impossible, to descend on the breach.  Therefore, if her symptoms worsen during the climb, she will not be able to make an immediate descent, which is the best treatment for altitude sickness.  Instead, Curry would still have to continue climbing to the crater ridge before descending on the other side of the mountain.

Additionally, her itinerary probably calls for her to spend a night at Crater Camp (18,500 ft) tomorrow night.  The increase in altitude from Arrow Glacier to Crater Camp is beyond the recommended guidelines which say that ideally one should gain no more than 1,000 feet per night.  Crater Camp also sits in what is classified as the “extreme” zone – over 18,000 feet.  So it would be highly risky (and pretty foolish) for someone who is experiencing altitude sickness at 16,000 feet during a rest day to stay at Crater Camp on the next night.

Curry also mentioned on video that yesterday she climbed from Barranco Camp, not Moir Hut, to Arrow Glacier.  Barranco sits at about 13,000 feet.  Thus, it appears that her climb itinerary looks like this so far.

Machame/Western Breach

  1. Machame Gate to Machame Camp (9,350 ft)
  2. Machame camp to Shira Camp (12,500 ft)
  3. Shira Camp to Barranco Camp (13,044 ft)
  4. Barranco to Arrow Glacier Camp (15,998 ft)
  5. Rest day at Arrow Glacier Camp (15,998 ft)

Again, this is not a typical itinerary.  I’ll be watching closely to see what happens from here.

Nov 172008
 

annCurry.grid-4x2

Today show anchor Ann Curry is currently on Mount Kilimanjaro to report on the state of the planet.  In their ‘Ends of the Earth’ series, NBC reporters Meredith Vieira, Al Roker and Matt Lauer are in Australia, Iceland, and Belize respectively to explore climate change.

Based on her Kilimanjaro Journal, Curry, age 52, is attempting to climb using Machame route and the Western Breach summit approach.  The Western Breach is the most difficult path – and the most dangerous.  The rocky slope ascends 2,800 feet in a distance of 1.25 miles.  Rockfall in January 2006 killed three Americans, resulting in the closure of the route for nearly two years.  Even now, there are few operators who will guide climbers up the breach due to the risks.  Given that Curry is an inexperienced climber, only learned of the assignment three weeks ago, and admittedly did not train much, I am a bit surprised she would attempt to climb Kilimanjaro using the Western Breach.

I will monitor her climb in the days ahead.

Below are video links of her on the mountain: