Wisconsin Alumni Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro
January 18, 2009
Welcome to our 2009 Kilimanjaro Expedition Page!
Breaking news - All 10 climbers stand on the roof of Africa - and return safely! Click Here For More Details
For the first time a Wisconsin Alumni Association group will attempt to climb Kilimanjaro. The climbers will be led by our experienced international guides as well as our team of highly trained Tanzanian mountain guides and supported by about 30 porters. The group will ascend the remote Rongai route on the northern side of the mountain, beginning near the Kenyan border. Follow the climb below as we get daily reports in off the mountain. We wish all the climbers and guides the very best and all the success.
The trip is now underway! The climbers all arrived safe & sound into Moshi, Tanzania. Spirits are high and the climb starts on January 20th, 2009.
Day 1 We heard from the group that they made it to the trailhead, and started to their trek today. They've arrived in camp 1, Simba Camp at approximately 8500 ft. The weather was a little wet, with light rain falling throughout the day. As they passed through the narrow forested region, they came across a troop of monkeys. In camp, it was still raining lightly and the mountain was socked in with clouds. Hopefully during the night the clouds will lift and give our climbers their first view of Kilimanjaro!
Day 2The climbers have reached Camp 2, at an elevation of 11,500 ft. The group was blessed with clear weather this morning, giving them spectacular views of the summit of Kilimanjaro. Around lunch time, the weather stopped cooperating and it rained steadily throughout the afternoon. The rain eased up once they arrived to camp. The group is in high spirits. They plan to leave a little later tomorrow morning for Camp 3, to let the morning sun help dry out the gear a bit.
Day 3 The climbers arrived to Mawenzi Tarn Hut, Camp 3, in the early afternoon. They had good weather for most of the morning. They are sitting down to lunch, and then plan a short acclimitization hike this afternoon. Tomorrow they will be heading to high camp at 15,500 ft.
Day 4 The word of the day is HOT! The climbers all made it to Kibo Hut, their high camp where they'll prepare to launch their summit assault. The report was that it was brutally hot and a pretty tough day. But everyone made it, and had a rest. We heard from the group again at about 11pm, as they were waking up and getting ready for the summit push. Typically, groups tend to summit between 6-10am local time, so we expect to hear from them around 10pm - 2am Eastern Time in the U.S. - hopefully from the roof of Africa...stay tuned!!!
Summit Day: CONGRATULATIONS BADGERS! We have just received word that all 10 of our climbers have reached the summit of Kilimanjaro, 19,340 ft.! The climbers reached the summit in small groups of 2s and 3s over a period of about 1.5-2 hours. The nearly 4,000 ft. climb was very tough going, but all persevered and made it to the top. They then had to descend back to Kibo Hut, and then continue descending down to 12,000 ft. to Horombo Camp. The last of the group just arrived, in the dark, after what has been an 18 hour day on the mountain. They are all exhausted - but they made it and safely returned to lower elevation. Our camp crew is baking a celebration cake, and surely after a good nights sleep, everyone will start feeling a little better.
Day 6 The team has officially completed their expedition this afternoon, as they reached the gate at Marangu. Everyone is doing well, and in high spirits and ready for the celebration BBQ at Glacier Bar. Congratulations to everyone for a successful climb!
Most of the group heads off on safari now for the next week. This is our last update for the climb, thanks for tuning in!
- Susan Reilly: Sue is a 1972 UW grad with a BA in Psychology and English Literature. She has been a community volunteer for 30 years and enjoys golf, calligraphy, singing and traveling around the world. Sue and Tim grew up on the East Side of Madison, moved to Chicago after marriage, then to New York, and have been in Green Bay for 30 years.
- Tim Reilly: Tim is a 1972 UW grad with a BA in English Literature and Masters Degrees in Marketing from Northwestern University and in Theology from St. Norbert College. After 26 years in the paper industry, Tim became President of a Catholic High School for three years. For the past four years, he has worked full time for the Catholic Church in the Diocesan Offices. He has been an ordained Deacon since 1994.
- Charles "Chuck" Goebel: Retired as a "Chief" from the Navy in 1995 , Chuck flew in P-3 aircraft with Carl Schulz and in their off-time taught scuba diving together. "Carl is the one who got me into this mess.......!" After retiring, Chuck took over some family business and is now a landlord/property manager for commercial and residential properties. Chuck has been married 31 years to Tammy, with one son who is getting married a couple short weeks after we get back (Valentines Day).
- Carl Schulz: Midshipman Schulz graduated in 1968 with a BS in Cartography and Naval Science from UW Madison. He pursued his Naval career flying P-3 Orion ASW during the Viet Nam conflict and beyond, retiring in 1989. An MS in Management from the University of Southern California put him on a course for doctorate as adjunct professor for USC in MS Safety and Systems Management. Meanwhile, fun was to be had teaching scuba diving courses in California and through Great Lakes NTC with the assistance of Chuck Goebel, shipmate/good friend/fellow Kili challenger. Personal travel with his wife, Joyce, finds them on the road more than at home. At age 64+, Carl is creating a new device: a rocking chair with wings, wheels, and a hull.
- Bob Wilke: Bob is a retired research manager for TRW Automotive, a large company that makes parts for domestic and foreign automobiles and light trucks. Bob has been married to his wonderful, retired nursing professor wife, Jan for 34 years. They have 2 sons- 24 and 19. They are looking foreward to a big party on May 6, 2009 when Bobs father turns 100 years old. Jan and Bob are active in their church and doing mission trips each year to New Orleans, south Chicago, Jamaica, Liberia, and many more. Bob likes to keep active with running, cycling, and an annual backpacking trip to climb some mountains. Bob will celebrate his birthday this year on the way up to the top of Africa.
- Steve Libera: With an indoor job, Steve is up for anything outdoors. He has sold his business effective the day he gets back from Kilimanjaro. He will work with the new owner and then retire at the end of 2009. He then will have more time for backpacking, hiking, climbing, bicycling, skiing, etc. Every year Steve goes on a major outdoor trip with friends. He is drawn to high places. This will be Steve’s highest attempted elevation and his first trip across the Atlantic. Steve has had Type 1 diabetes since 1965 and is on an insulin pump. Diabetes has never held him back. It just makes trips more interesting and challenging. His insulin pump is his dream machine. Steve is looking forward to getting to know all of the people on the trip.
- Brendan & Megan Reilly: Brendan graduated from the University of Hawaii with a major in world religions. He is currently working for the City of Madison as a Firefighter and Paramedic. Megan and Brendan love to travel, SCUBA, and Brendan does some freelance photography on the side as well. Megan is a graduate from the UW and is Manager / Buyer at the Mark Travel Cooperation and is also back at UW for her MBA.
- Brittany Reilly: Brittany grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from UW-Madison in 2004 with a BA in Economics. She's lived in San Diego since graduating and works in Finance for Kashi. She tries to enjoy San Diego life to the fullest through long coastal bike rides, running, and an occasional triathlon. This is her first trip to Africa.
- Devin Reilly: Devin is a Green Bay native who graduated from St. Norbert College in 2001 with a BS in Natural Sciences. He is a sponsored athlete with Team Bear Naked specializing in triathlon & running. He lives in the San Diego area with his wife Brittany and works in the biotech / medical technology industries.
- Anupam Chandola (a.k.a. Arnie): With over 15 years of experience guiding worldwide, Arnie has a stellar resume. Arnie is originally from India and is the epitome of a professional guide. He has lived and worked in New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Turkey, Europe, Nepal and India. He has also guided throughout the US and currently splits his time between Idaho and Pennsylvania. Always worried that he is getting old and fat, he looks for any excuse to get out and guide a trip. And when not out guiding, Arnie is the Operations Manager at Northwest Voyageurs. Arnie enjoys taking long walks on the beach and playing scrabble.
- Methley Swai: Simply put, Methley is built to climb and he can scramble up Kilimanjaro like it was a small hill. With a yearly average of 20+ summits of Kili, Methley is an excellent mountain guide. Methley is a great person to have by your side during the push to the summit. He even got Arnie to move up the mountain faster! Methley is patient with climbers and gives great encouragement. But he is not all mountain man.. Methley has a killer golf game and loves to play at a moments notice. He is also a very competent organizer and is the Operations Manager for our local partner in Tanzania.
- Bruno Mkerenga: Bruno is another stellar & wonderful Kili guide and has guided almost all our up Kili. He even knows the Notre Dame fight song and often sings it before the summit attempt to get the blood moving. Bruno as dozens of summits on Kili every year and simply loves to guide people up his mountain. He is a great organizer and keeps climbers well informed and motivated on the mountain. Bruno is an avid marathon runner.
- Saumu Burhani: Saumu is a star! She is the only female mountain guide on Kilimanjaro. Saumu has an infectious passion for climbing and inspires confidence. She is often out in front leading the climbers in a slow rhytmic beat up Kili. Samua is very caring person and is a joy to have around camp. She also loves getting all the tired exhausted climbers only the dance floor after the celebration dinner at the end of the climb.
- Timba Kileo: Timba was born a Chelsea soccer fan! Timba is one of our finest local guides who works for us on our Tanzania wildlife safaris. His knowledge of the wildlife in the Serengeti and surrounding parks is extraordinary. He can identify a bird a mile away and has a keen sense for wildlife. He loves to share his culture and knowledge with our guests, as well as his love for good Tanzanian coffee! Timba love to talk history and politics and his insight on topics are stuff of legend. Timba also loves to go geocaching and play pranks on the other guides!
- Tom Campbell (a.k.a. Rooster): Tom has spent the past few decades avoiding a real job in search of the finest adventures the planet has to offer. From California to West Virginia to Idaho, from Central America to Africa. As a true Virginian, Tom uses any excuse he can to leave his state and country. Tom spent years cruising the open seas on ships, where he came closest to having a real job! Realizing it was a lot more fun rowing a boat, getting wet, climbing mountains and enjoying the world of adventure travel, he hung up his spiffy white uniform and donned his shorts and chacos and became a guide! Tom is a laid back character who is rarely ruffled even in the most challenging situations.
- And approximately 35 Assistant Guides and Porters