"Once in a Blue Moon" Documentary climb and safari 2010'
Success atop Kilimanjaro- Jan. 5, 2010
been before, I know the team is currently enjoying dinner at the Sopa
Lodge over looking
Ngorongoro Crater while being entertained by the Maasai warriors in their
traditional blanket robe, springing from the floor to the ceiling and
making a heck of a lot of noise.
They are now more than
likely enjoying some cocktails on the outside veranda listening to the
night sounds from the crater, while being protected by the guards who
patrol the resort all night from the encroaching lions that smell the
aromas of dinner and people and sometimes get just a little too
I just wanted to take a
moment to let our followers now that we have now organized the dates for
next years group treks. We will once again offer a New Years climb
and have added one in February as sometimes it is quite hard to get
flights around Christmas and New Years for the December departure.
Please consider joining
next season, it just keeps getting better!
The BEST NEW YEAR's EVER
climb also known as the Once in a Blue Moon Mt. Kilimanjaro climb was a
smashing success. I don't know if I am lucky to be pitted with such
cohesive, comical teams of climbers or if that's just the way it is when
you assemble a wacky group of adventurers keen to climb an African
mountain just because it's there.
First there was Peter and Sue, my favorite Canadian couple (behind Tim and
Becky as I would often joke with them.) Peter and Sue came to climb
KILI for their ten year anniversary. I didn't know until about day
four that Sue had never even been camping before. She enjoyed some
of my tips on how to dry wet gloves and hats by sticking them close to
your body at night in your sleeping bag. However, I wasn't sure when
she asked me if the human powered drying machine also worked for bras...it
did! Peter and Sue were such troopers and they were so pleased to
make it up top to Stella point. What a wonderful way to welcome in a
new year and an anniversary!
Their Canadian compadres were Robert and Steph--two climbers who didn't
need much help from me. With plenty of Everest experience in his
background, Robert was usually leading the pack though he was always
willing to wait up and help out the others. Meanwhile, Steph kept
his calculated cool pace at the back of the pack occupying himself by
snapping a photo about every other step. Their respective strategies
paid off as both of them made it to the summit to welcome 2010.
Next was Roger Trinchero. This guy had us all in stitches from about
day one---scratch that, minute one. Roger is in his early sixties
but climbs like a youngster who's had one too many cups of coffee.
However, he too had the presence of mind to save his energy for summit day
and made it to the top of UHURU without a hitch. Roger reminds me of
a mix between the Sean Connery James Bond and the Drill Sergeant from Full
Metal Jacket. He would occasionally wake us up early in the morning
by cursing at his sleeping bag for being wet! When a white-neck
raven stole a bit of his hard boiled egg at a lunch break Roger responded,
"Hey, that could have been your little brother!" Roger is
a business man back in Napa Valley but I think he missed his calling as a
hilarious comedian or big time Hollywood actor.
Michelle Lorusso, Sheryl Sanders and Jen De Mattia were dubbed as our
Charlie's Angels. Nothing could dampen their positive attitudes and
their adventurous spirit. On a particularly challenging
acclimatization day up Lava Tower I could tell they were feeling the
effects of high altitude. Nonetheless, every time I checked on them
their only response was, "I'm okay, let's keep going!" The
determination paid off. By summit day they were in prime physical
condition to climb--okay that's a lie. They were acclimatized yes,
but Sheryl had a cold, Michelle couldn't find a way to stay warm and Jen
was suffering from a bad combo of vomiting and diarrhea...Somehow, they
pulled together and drew strength from the team as well as the
encouragement of our wonderful African guides--Reginald, Isaac, Lazaro,
and Samson. By sunrise they had overcome the adversity and made it
up Mt. Kilimanjaro. Truly, our Charlie's Angels were an
inspirational squadron. I am so happy that they had a wonderful
trip. Sometimes the adversity we endure leads us to new dimensions
of self-discovery and I think these wonderful women found out even more
about who they are and what they are capable of. That's why we climb
On a sidenote, one night after dinner Roger told Michelle she was like the
daughter he never had. Michelle immediately replied, "Great Dad, can
I have some money?" Roger laughed and reiterated, "You
really are the daughter I never had!" There was so much comedy
on this trip I kept looking around at our mess tent to see if I was
required to purchase a two drink minimum as price of admission.
My assistant team leader, Brian Bags turned out to be even more of a
Godsend than I had anticipated. He has a very pure spirit, an
unceasing smile, and an uncanny ability to engage our team in positive
conversation. He didn't even feel the effects of the altitude until
we reached the summit. Plus, everytime I needed an extra hand to
shoot some video he was right there to help out. I am pretty excited
to edit our footage together so I can show you all just how amazing this
trip was. Hopefully, this quick blog will give you a brief glimpse
in the meantime.
I better wrap this up as I can hear all of our climbers in a celebratory
mood gathering for breakfast and preparing for the second part of our
journey--the Safari! We are all in awe that we still have this
exciting time to soak up the sights and scenes of this incredible country.
I am hoping to pet a lion before it's all said and done so if I don't make
it back, please tell my mother I love her!
To all those who couldn't make it on this trip we will see you next year!
And to our loyal group of friends and family following the climb thank you
for your thoughts and prayers. We could feel your positive energy as
we all looked up to that same blue moon across different hemispheres.
Asante and Safari Njema!
of the year from trip leader Scott Mortensen's mobile upload making his
way to the plane with his filmiing equipment en-route to Kilimanjaro - Tanzania.