Pre-Kilimanjaro – Travel, Itinerary, Route, Fuel and Gear Report! 7

I can’t quite believe it is finally here!  Departure day for Africa is tomorrow!  The training, preparation, gear compiling, and my mindset have all been fine tuned and all there is left to do is GO!

I can say I am already exhausted.  My mind has been spinning like a centrifuge.  I have been checking, rechecking, and triple checking my lists.  As with any adventure of this magnitude no matter how far in advance I planned there were many things that took some extra managing to get together but I can say it all has worked out!  So much will be out of my control from this point forward however with the preparation I did I am ready for anything.

This post will encompass all of the pre planning this adventure required along with my itinerary and details about the route we will be taking.

I will be posting what and when I can along my journey on my FB page (click here for FB page) if you want to follow along.  Of course the full report will be posted upon my return.

I will start by sharing my itinerary and the route we are taking so you can get an idea of the magnitude of this journey.  The fuel and gear reports will follow.  HERE WE GO!!



I have a pretty daunting travel schedule to get to Tanzania. I will also be 10 hours ahead of PST zone.

I depart from Phoenix to Houston for a 3 hour layover and customs check.  From there I board a Turkish Air flight for 12 hours to Istanbul Turkey.  I have a 7 hour layover in Istanbul.  I hope to visit the market in Istanbul if all goes accordingly to take a break from the airport!  From there I have another 7 hour leg to Tanzania my final destination.  Same route home.

  • Monday 24th– Travel through Istanbul to Tanzania
  • Tuesday 25th– Travel continued. Arrive in Moshi- begin mission work on Mwerini Integrated School For The Blind
  • Wednesday 26th– Mission work at Mwerini Integrated School For The Blind
  • Thursday 27th– Mission work at Mwerini Integrated School For The Blind
Once we have completed our community service we head to the mountain for 7 days.  The photo below shows the route we are taking.  It is measured in meters so the photo below it shows the conversion to feet for my Americans!
Machame route is the longest, most scenic and hardest route up the mountain.  The average success rate for summiting Kilimanjaro is 40%.  K2, the company I am climbing with has a success rate of 98%.  There is quite a disparity in success rates- this is due to acclimatization.
We spend such a long time on the mountain and meander our way up to allow our bodies to adjust to the high altitude.  If you pursue the summit too fast, you can easily push this limit hence the 40% average.
There are several other routes up the mountain, some are 4,5,6 or 7 days.  The 7 day journey is the most successful due to the old and accurate adage of mountaineers “Climb High, Sleep Low”.  This is KEY in insuring success of a pursuit of this nature.
We have a team of porters that will move our camp from site to site.  We will be carrying 20 pound packs each day with our essential items in it.  The porters will haul the remainder of our load including our toilets, tents, food and water.

  • Friday 28th– First day on the mountain. Machame Gate registration and team organization. Trek begins at 6,800 ft and hike through Shambas and Montane rain forest to Machame campsite at 9,840 feet. Camp for the night. 6-7 hours of hiking
  • Saturday 29th– Hike through the gorge and moorlands up to the Shira campsite at 12,450 feet for the night. 5-6 hours of hiking.
  • Sunday 30th– Climb through the dry desert landscape along a ridgeline up to the ridge crest at 14,800 feet. From there descend down to Barranco campsite and sleep at 13,000 feet. 7-8 hours of hiking.
  • Monday July 1st– Hike across the floor of the great Barranco Valley then climb to the Karanga River valley to eventually arrive at Karanga campsite at 13.400ft for the night. 4-5 hours of hiking.
  • Tuesday July 2nd– Climb up the ridge to Barafu campsite at 15,800 feet where we will settle in and rest up for an early summit push. 4-5 hours of hiking
  • Wednesday July 3rd– Start summit push at 5am. Reach the crater rim at Stella point 18,700 feet in 6 hours. From Stella point one hour allowed to reach the summit of Uhuru Peak at 19,340 feet!!!! Once we summit we descent down to Barafu campsite for lunch then to Millenium Campsite for the night. 11-14 hours of hiking
  • Thursday July 4th– Descend through the rainforest to the Mweka Park Gate for our celebration!!! 3-5 hours of hiking
  • Friday July 5th– One day Safari to Tarangire National Park OR rest up at the hotel. That evening I will depart for the long trip back to the USA!


FUEL – Staying on track with my dietary restrictions:

The majority of my meals will be made by the porters and they are aware of my dietary restrictions.  When I was going over what I could and could not have, the owners of K2 said “So basically meat or fish, veggies and fruit?  That’s EASY!”  Indeed!  They also offer Gluten Free options on the mountain!

I am responsible for my food along my travel legs and for the snacks I will need each day during our stops.  I planned for this months in advance and did a ton of research and taste testing.  The last thing I want to worry about is a G.I. attack or infection so this was imperative.


We have a very rigid schedule of breaks on the mountain.  You have 10 minutes to shed or add clothing, use the facilities and get a snack.  That is a pretty short timeline.  I have mentioned many times Marc Sweet and his company Sly Fox Nutrition.  I LOVE his stuff because his snacks aren’t only delicious but are specifically for performance athletes who don’t want grains, gluten, dairy or processed sugars for energy.  Basically JUNK FREE!

I had a consultative meeting with him a couple months ago to develop custom items for this journey based on the logistics. Since I will be carrying a smaller pack daily I needed things broken down into smaller doses for daily disbursement.  Here is what we came up with:

sly fox

Bottles of liquid:  Sport Drink Concentrate.  This is basically a natural Gatorade without any additives, processed sugars, or junk.  It is measured out to fill my Nalgene bottles daily for a week’s worth of water for the trail with a mixture of lemon, lime, honey and sea salt.  I used this initially during my rim to rim trek in the Grand Canyon and loved it.  I didn’t want to carry or haul water along so the concentrate was the perfect solution.  Pun intended 😉

Banana chips and nut butters:  I wanted something other than nut trail mix.  Nuts are a great source of protein and fats but I really prefer to eat them in a butter for easier digestion.  When we talked about them we thought about these small breaks I have to sit down and snack.  Banana chips immediately came to mind as a perfect way to eat the nut butters.  I wanted one that was smooth enough to dip the chips in, and another one that was thicker for a spread.  Marc delivered some incredible flavors with these butters and found some banana chips that are free from the oils and preservatives that they are notoriously coated in.

Cinna-bars:  These are for breakfast to go along with the eggs the porters will be serving.  Marc initially made these delicious and nutritious snacks as rolls.  That would be difficult to transport so I suggested making them into bars.  These are made with Almond, Honey, Coconut Oil, Egg, Pecan, Walnut, Raisins, baking soda and salt.  Simple nutrition with a delicious comfort of home flavor- cinnamon roll!

Bars and brownie bites:  These are the regular items Marc sells on a daily basis.  These also have an impressive list of ingredients.  Had to throw some of these in for good measure.

Tube of GOO:  For those moments when I don’t have time to stop and go through my pack but need a quick boost of energy I can simply squirt some goo in my mouth via this tube.  I used his goo on my recent rim to rim trek and it was amazing.  I was worried the packaging originally used would not make this trek so this is what we came up with!  It consists of cocoa, honey, sea salt and dates.  Goo heaven!

The attention to detail and knowledge Marc brought to this task shows why Marc left a successful engineering career to pursue this nutrition company.  I am blown away with how he created exactly as I envisioned.  Bravo Marc- well done!



During my travels I am responsible for my food.  The airlines of course provide meals but generally I have to pick apart the meals and end up still hungry.  My solution is to bring along my own so I am certain to stay on track.

travel snacks

The trail snacks from Sly Fox will be packed in my checked bags in the tupperware so they don’t get crushed.  I will split what you see in this photo in half and carry half of it with me in my carry on bag.

  • The honey bears are 2oz so perfect travel size.
  • The coconut oil will serve many purposes along the way so finding these packets was a score!
  • The jerky’s are simply grass fed dehydrated beef from a local ranch that I buy my beef from.
  • The canned albacore tuna is a simple way to get some good proteins and omega’s no matter where I am in the world.
  • I also wanted a nice herbal tea to help settle my stomach and aid in digestion. I have my own tea bags and just need hot water witch is available almost anywhere



This has taken months and months of compiling to get everything I needed.  Some was borrowed, gifted, and I also have several sponsors that gave me things to test and try along the way.

I will mention when something was given to me from a sponsor as that is the responsible thing to do.  I will say I don’t accept anything that I wouldn’t purchase on my own from sponsors.  Many of my sponsors became sponsors after I was already their customer.

Ok gear junkies… here is your fix!




I was torn on what to do with my ability to communicate.  I am going with a group however none of them are anyone I personally know.  My loved one’s will all be back in the USA wondering how I am doing.  I am going to do my best to communicate with my husband once a day from the mountain.

Parts of the mountain will have Verizon service and only an iPhone 5 is capable of working on the mountain because it is a world phone.  I have one thankfully.  I will attempt to call him at the end of our day- that will be 10 hours ahead of Phoenix time so I will be able to talk to him each morning hopefully.  IF I can update my FB page I will do so at this time as well.  If not I will rely on him to post an update based on our conversation.

I need to be able to charge my devices for my music, camera and phone.  I did quite a bit of research not only for the charging device but also for the camera I chose.


The photo on the left is the camera set up I chose from Liquid Image

I got the pro discount on the camera itself.  Liquid Image sponsored me by adding on the body mount, waterproof casing, and memory card in addition to try out on this trek.

The Liquid Image EGO is a WIFI-enabled mountable HD Action Camera that is highly adaptable and can be mounted with a variety of accessories; it is much more than your average helmet cam. The Liquid Image app, for iOS and Android, enables the camera to stream live view, let you view your photos and videos, act as a remote control to activate the camera and much more.

I am hoping to be able to stream some live video on the mountain for you guys!!!  The body mount is awesome and will be perfect for this journey.  I can’t wait to try it out and finally get some legit photo’s and video other than what I get using my iPhone.

The photo on the right is the solar charging system I chose.  I looked at several.  This one will charge smartphones, tablets, camera’s and mp3 or iPods.  It is not large enough to charge a laptop or other larger devices.  It weighs less than a pound and is extremely durable.  The demo videos show it in rain, snow, and even being run over.  It can be tied to your pack so it charges while you hike.  I tested it out yesterday.  The battery pack charged in 6 hours and charged my iPhone in 2.5 hours.




This encompasses everything and MORE than I will need on the mountain.  I have a few too many clothes but luckily I am small so I can afford to add a few extras.  The 3 compression sacks will totally shock you with their magic when you see the after photo!

Top Row:

  • Gaiters
  • 3 pairs of hiking shorts, 3 pair of base layers (wool, synthetic and fleece) fleece lined rain proof pants and 2 pairs of long hiking pants.
  • 2 tanks, 1 wool short sleeve shirt, 1 long sleeve synthetic cooling shirt, 1 long sleeve mid range wool shirt, 1 Northface lightweight jacket, 1 Marmont Goretex rain jacket, 1 down filled heavy duty jacket.

Middle/Bottom Row:

  • Water resistant Keen hiking shoes.  I brought my older pair along as well just in case one of them gets trashed.
  • 3 sizes of compression sacks (THESE ARE AWESOME) small one for undies, socks and such, medium one for pants and shorts, large one for tops and jackets
  • Goggles, face shield bandana, beanie.
  • 1 pair of snowboarding thick socks for camp, 2 pair of long wool socks, 1 pair of mid wool socks, 1 pair of low wool socks
  • Thin glove liners and the warmest goose filled mittens EVER!



Ready for the AFTER photo?


Totally shocking that all that fit into these sacks!!!  This is packing at it’s finest!





This is everything I need for my slumber!

I was totally spoiled by one of my sponsors Teton Sports with this setup.  They provided me with the following to test out on Kili:

  • Tracker +5 UltraLight Sleeping Bag with Innovative PolarLite™ insulation keeps you warm even though entire bag is thin and light. 3–piece no gap hood pulls in perfectly around your face. Bag shapes to body lines and has a vaulted foot–box with body mapping to keep feet toasty, even in freezing weather.  Not only am I the first person to ever sleep in this bag but I will also be sleeping at the highest altitude this bag has ever seen!
  • ComfortLite Self Inflating Sleeping Pad that is 2.5 inches thick and self inflating!  I have tried this out already and it is super easy to inflate and deflate to get the exact comfort level you want
  • ComfortLite Self Inflating Pillow Great for campers, backpackers, military, commuters, road trips and air plane rides.  I will be taking this with me on the airplane too!
  • The cocoon silk mummy liner is for inside my sleeping bag.  These came highly recommended and silk was bar none the way to go




I will be carrying my daily pack with about 20lbs in it of personal items for each day.  The clothing will change depending on the route and weather and I will load up my snacks from my larger mountain bag that the porters will be carrying prior to departing in the morning.


I will have these items in my pack all the time.

  • The wipes are awesome since we will NOT BE SHOWERING FOR A WEEK!  They are naturally cleansing with Tea Tree oil and Eucalyptus
  • The Gear Tie’s will work for multiple needs
  • My Mom and Auntie gave me an angel and traveling Rosary to carry in my pack so of course they will be coming along with me!
  • Journals
  • Ipod
  • My Goal Zero solar charger for all my devices requiring a charge!  It will tie to my pack with the gear ties so I can charge things as I hike
  • My Ego Liquid Image camera and accessories
  • First aid kit, prescriptions, bug repellent (homemade and all natural), sunblock, headlamp, multi-use tool, flashlight, lighter, hand and feet warmers and my Nalgene bottles


The Grand Finale!!!


Believe it or not all that stuff fit into these two packs minus the food!  IT’S A MIRACLE!!!!

  • The large Seal Line dry bag is a total waterproof bag and also has the hardware on it to be carried as a backpack.  All my bedding, clothes, shoes, and snacks are in there.  It is 100% waterproof and can even be submerged underwater.  It rains often on the mountain.  Keeping my stuff dry was a non negotiation.  The bag weighs 39 pounds full.  40 pounds is the limit that each porter can legally carry.  Porters will haul this from camp to camp
  • The smaller bag will be on my back daily with everything you saw above inside.  It weighs about 18 pounds and has room for some snacks and clothes depending on the day.


WOWWWWW!!!!!!! Well that’s it guys!!!! I am off tomorrow morning for the adventure of a lifetime!  They say the adventure starts the moment you walk out of your garage. It began 5 short months ago for me when I loudly exclaimed that I wanted to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.  I CAN’T BELIEVE it is happening.  I CAN’T WAIT to share it all with you!!!!

Here I go…



7 thoughts on “Pre-Kilimanjaro – Travel, Itinerary, Route, Fuel and Gear Report!

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  4. Melissa Jul 18,2013 1:27 PM

    Interested to know how the Teton +5 Tracker bag worked out for warmth. I’m always looking for light and warmth 🙂

    • Jes Jul 19,2013 7:51 AM

      Hi Melissa!
      The bag was excellent- even summit night when it was close to zero degrees at 16K feet. I am working on part three of the trip and will be writing up a full review of the bag.

  5. Pingback: Kilimanjaro Part Two – The Climb ← Chronic Climber Chick

  6. Dave Jun 27,2013 9:38 AM

    Awesome! Enjoy your adventure, I’m envious in the good kinda way.

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