Blog originally posted on The GLOBE Scientists' Blog: http://blog.globe.gov/sciblog/2012/10/03/xpedition-day-nine-special-crater-camp-to-summit-to-mweka-camp/
On Sunday, 30 September, the team made it to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The summit sits at 5,895 m (19,340 ft) above sea level. What a fantastic accomplishment for the team!
Team at the summit
Hiking on a glacier near the summit
After the team spendt time celebrating their success, they began their descent, stopping at 3,200 m (10,498 ft) at Mweka Camp. To celebrate the summit, the bloggers were asked: What is it like on the summit? Describe what you see, what you’re feeling what has this taught you about yourself?
No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to come up with a description of the summit that will do it justice. After spending the night at Crater Camp, we ate breakfast and explored the closest glacier before beginning our short, hour-long hike to Uhuru Peak. None of us felt great… trying to sleep at over 18,000 feet is almost guaranteed to leave you with a headache. We trudged up to the summit, struggling with the high altitude. And when we finally arrived, every challenging moment of the last 8 days was made worth it. The sky was so pure and blue… untouched by clouds. Instead, the clouds billowed for miles beneath us, looking like pink, purple and white cotton candy (maybe the altitude was getting to me). The glaciers around us shimmered like I never thought they could. And we were all so excited to be there: dancing, singing, and even crying (ok, maybe that was just me). Oh, and of course taking photo after photo after photo. I could easily list a million things I’ve learned about myself and life in general on this trip: but what was most prominent at the summit was that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. Determination is a powerful force, and with a supportive crew behind you, so much becomes possible.
Reaching the summit was amazing! The hike from the camp to the top was pretty challenging for the entire group, so it felt just that much better when we finally did get to our goal. The day was sunny and blue because all of the clouds were well below us. We could see all of the summit area including several of the glaciers on the top. The blue of the ice and the features of each glacier were beautiful as the sunlight shined on their faces. I felt a great deal of pride for the entire group having finally reached the top and feeling that we had all helped each other along the way. It really does go to show that any goal can be met when you set your mind to it. It also shows the power of team work and cooperation. I am so proud of our team and the porters, guides, and cooks who brought us here!