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Mt Rainer climb

After returning from Cape Town I was lucky enough to get to take a few more days off the following month and climb Mt. Rainer. I climbed with my buddies Justin and Eduardo and we used RMI as our guide company and they did and excellent job ensuring that most of our group made the summit despite a bout of bad weather once we were over about 4000m.

Our team had 8 climbers and 4 guides. Casey Grom was our primary guide and he was pretty solid as were all the guides. His climbing resume is pretty extensive as he has summited Mt. Everest 3 times I think. His stories of climbing all over the world were enthralling.

Below are a few photos from our way up to the mountain and our first day visiting the park and hiking around a bit. Was beautiful park to visit seeing waterfalls and tons of snow in the spring.

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After our day fooling around we headed to RMI to get the hotel sorted and get our gear prepared for snow school the next day. We met the guides, found out our gear was sub standard bought some more stuff and had some beers. Snow school was a great time as we learned how to self arrest and team arrest so that we were all up to speed on our safety practices. Below are some snow school pictures from our day low on the mountain.

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After the day of snow school and beautiful sunshine we got some much needed rest and got ready for an early start the next day. Think we left base camp for Paradise at around 9am and the first days hike up the snow field took around 6 hours I think. Wasn’t that far but was still a tough day after which time we needed to be in bed in at camp Muir at 7 so we could get our summit push started at midnight.

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The summit day started late perhaps around 1am, there are very few pictures from this day since it was very cold and I was pretty whipped so rarely got out my phone. Most of the pictures are from the way down but Justin got his camera for a couple of all of us on the top.

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Sorry for the rushed and unpolished nature of the post but I have wanted to get this published and found some time on a relaxing afternoon here in gloomy San Diego.

Best to all,
Justin

South Africa last day in photos

Have been way behind in posting recently but need to get up some more photos from the first part of the year. Below are the photos from the last couple days in South Africa.

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Two Oceans Marathon

The reason for my trip to Cape Town waste run the Two Oceans, 56k. The marathon is called the most Beautiful Marathon in the World and I fully support that their must not be another to rival how amazing it was. The elevation was indeed a challenge but the scenery and spirit of South Africa. I had no idea how athletic this country was, there are cycling events and marathons every weekend all over the country. No wonder the Two Oceans always sells out. Below are photos from the race on a perfect day to run in Cape Town.

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I met Sasja while Ken and I were running along and all of the sudden I see a women running with the Texas flag shorts that I had planned on wearing. As it turns out she and her husband were visiting from Houston so was fun to have a running buddy from home. We all went to a nice dinner after in Camps Bay and saw the magnificent sundown. Below are a couple of the after pictures including one funny one after Conor and I had a few too many.

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After all I have seen of Cape Town I look forward to seeing more tomorrow for my last day here. I highly recommend anyone who would like to try a overseas marathon to come to here and experience all that was the Two Oceans.

Table Mountain and views of Cape Town

I will keep the words brief today since need to get out to see more rather than sipping coffee and writing in my hotel. After my first day in Cape Town I am totally in love with this place. Below are photos from my trip up the cable car and a couple of the city.

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More to come this evening after enjoying the beginning of the holiday weekend here in Cape Town.

Starting 2014 thoughts and photos

Another quarter down, couple races completed, growth and change at the office and decided to come back to Africa. This time to South Africa to visit Cape Town and run the Two Oceans ultra. Still a bit on the short side for an ultra at 56k, but still enough distance to worry that I will not finish.

Sitting in the airport in Madrid and wishing that my tickets had some more flexibility and I could have actually visited the city rather than spending my layover in the lounge. One day I will need to come to visit Spain, seems I have over looked a significant portion of Europe so will need to remedy that soon.

Having my ironman training in full swing, I have run a couple long races this year with the one coming up being the longest of my running career. Also I have decided to try and qualify for the Boston marathon in the coming years. Got to the needed pace for short distance now just need to stretch it out a bit. All the training this quarter should have me fully prepared to climb Mt. Rainer next month and then hopefully a couple other 14ers this summer in Colorado.

As the stress from work drains away it always makes me sort of reflective, seeing additional change as we grow as an organization is interesting. The challenges that present themselves continue to prove that we all just need to communicate and partner better together. The silo effect I see in business is an ever present problem and I always think that one day there will be a magic bullet but we just can’t see it. Perhaps it’s a cultural change that we need to address, or an attitude change but I am just not sure to even determine what the various actual impediments are to this question.

Below are a couple photos from the first quarter of the year and in the coming days I will be posting on my time in Cape Town. Since I am posting remotely and lazy the photos consist of a whole range, San Diego panda, elephant hanging out in Las Colinas, me running on a frozen lake in Pagosa Springs, Just Brewing growler from Drink Tanks, eyeball in Dallas, camping after bad weather, and Me learning to go all Hipster.

Best to all

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Tanzania Adventure Part 3 East African Safari

After coming down off of Kilimanjaro we spent an afternoon and evening. resting in the hotel and letting our gear dry a bit before heading off on a traditional East African safari for 4 days in three different parks. We visited Lake Manyara, Ngorongro  Conservation area and the Serengeti national park. Below is a pictorial version of our journey that shows the landscapes and animals we got to observe during the trip.

A few snaps from Arusha and the hotel before departing. All the rooms had mosquito netting as a malaria precaution.

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These turkeys lived in the hotel and actually just made me think about hunting in Oklahoma in the spring.

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On the way to Lake Manyara

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Libby in out truck getting ready to see animals in the park. Apparently all safari vehicles in Tanzania are Toyota land cruisers.

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Baboons were all over

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Some hogs having a disagreement

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Think this is just a bunch of animals enjoying the sunshine on a perfect day.

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Zebra enjoying life

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Impala

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Verdet Monkey, also known as the blue ball monkey

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Elephants of all sizes

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Libby, Victor and I looking over the park. Such a cool first day on safari.

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Overlooking Ngorongoro crater on the way to the Serengeti national park

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These guys were headed somewhere.

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Hard working dung Beatle

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Wrapping up in the Ngorongoro crater was pretty amazing end to the safari. All in all Victor too great care of us on the whole trip. Below is his contact and company information. Also he is a contact of mine on LinkedIn if anyone plans a trip to Tanzania I highly recommended shooting him am email.

In the last few hours before our return flight Libby and I had Christmas dinner in Dar Es Salaam at the Sea Cliff hotel. That place is great the staff service food everything was a really nice way to spend Christmas Day including a trip to the beach. Think Libby and I were the only Anglos on the beach that day. Last few pictures and that wraps up Tanzania, highly recommended and a wonderful introduction to Africa for a novice traveler.

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Our great guides company and contact info:

Gaze Africa Safaris & Tours Ltd

Manyanga E. Victor

Managing Director

Cell: +255 787 145 515

victorz2000@yahoo.com

http://www.gazeafricasafaris.com

 

Tanzania Adventure Part 2 Kilimanjaro

After coming down from Mt. Meru we both dozed off a bit on the drive back to Arusha since traffic was bad so it took two hours rather than one it took to get there. I think our crew was pretty happy to be coming back and the mood was jovial in the mini bus all the way back.

We came back and settled in for a nice dinner at the Jacaranda before a good rest in advance of our morning drive to Kilimanjaro national park. I will not go into the details here but, the guy sitting beside us made us both uncomfortable since it seemed that an older Dutch man had found/purchased a local young Tanzanian fellow. That made for an awkward dinner to say the least.

After a good nights sleep another simple but delicious breakfast, Victor and the team arrived to cart us off to the mountain. We made our requisite stop for fresh vegetables and supplies and hit the road. While heading out we were stopped at a police checkpoint where I learned a valuable lesson, if a police officer asks for your sunglasses don’t give them to him, I almost lost a pair and everyone got a good laugh. Next time if asked, I will just offer to sell them. After our drive of a couple hours we made it too the gate and were pretty giddy about starting the climb.

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There are some formalities at the gate while we got permits and the porters weigh the gear to make sure they stay under the 20kg limit. As with the first mountain between Libby and I we only had one bag of less than 20kg with porters. I wonder if next time I’m climbing I should carry my own gear, less glamorous but more realistic.

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Plenty of rain that first day so not too many pictures but was an amazing day wandering through the rain forests on the slopes of Kilimanjaro.

This was the first night in our tent together and we were still trying to get things dry from the first mountain so it did feel a bit damp in the tent but as my mother has always said, Champions adjust, so we just dealt with it without complaint. The first camp was at Macheme Hut and that morning was beautiful but cold. We got some much needed sunshine and views of the mountain.

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Day two was the toughest day for me, straight out of camp was a steep climb along a muddy route for few hours. We did well and made good time but I could really feel the Meru summit day in my still recovering legs.

Victor kept our spirits high and told us stories of other climbs and all about the mountain and Tanzania.

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One high point of climbing Kilimanjaro during the rainy season is certainly that everything is so lush and green and that there are waterfalls and streams running everywhere. Granted this is at the expense of being in a poncho most of the time while trying to stay dry.

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The weather was only clear in the morning before the rain began so each morning despite it being cold it was beautiful with the sun shining. The camps were busy but not crowded and on mornings where we got a slow start you could see how transient the camps were being that they would be totally empty by 10am.

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On our way up to the lava tower the rain turned to snow which was actually quite pleasant until realizing how hard it was blowing in a place we had to stop for acclimatization. I believe the cave we huddled in for lunch was at about 15,500 feet.

After coming down off the tower the snow subsided the the rest of the day was quite nice and only a touch damp. Making camp at that night we slept well knowing we were getting close to summit day, which was reaffirmed the next morning with beautiful views of the snow wrapped massif.

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That morning we would climb the Baranco wall which was daunting until we got up to it after which time the path became clear and very doable. The views while the weather was clear were pretty spectacular.

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The breaks were well deserved and full of smiles and good cheer.

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After the wall most of of hard vertical was done for that day and we were ready to be in camp for last good rest before the darkness of summit night.

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Once we got past Gilmans point we knew we made it, all snow for the last few hours before dawn but so amazing to watch the sunrise from the roof of Africa, Uhuru point on top of Kilimanjaro is indeed one if the top picks on my spectacular sunrise list. We got our sign and flag and posed while enjoying the coldest Heineken I have ever had, and certainly the only custom one emblazoned with the family name.

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It was cold on the summit and we wanted our pictures more than others but it is pretty cool to mention that one of the climbers in another group brought his trumpet and as he played much to our delight, out guide Victor immediately whipped out his harmonica and join in the festivities. I unfortunately didn’t get photos but this was indeed pretty special way to celebrate our success.

On the way down to camp for a well deserved nap there was more great views and I think Libby and I may have both gotten a bit of a sunburn with the reflection off the snow but was such a great morning we barely noticed.

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Once we got to camp Libby dozed for a bit while I laid down and tried to shut my eyes but I think the mountain had me, I was still sort of stunned to have just that morning set foot ok my first peak above 19,000 ft. Was amazing to say the least. After a brief rest we headed down to the low camp for out over night before the last morning on the mountain, which I will say was just as cool as the first morning just in a different way.

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Last views of the summit on the way down were a little bitter sweet.

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Once back down on the forest we knew we were there, the crew was happy to soon be getting back to their family’s and Libby and I were ready to have the comfort of hot water and a night not sleeping in a tent.

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We got a great song from the guys thanks in no small part to Victor’s nephew Jackson one of the coolest porters ever, he actually came to the summit for his first time with Libby, Victor, Dominick, and I.

A very special thanks goes to Victor and his team. I would highly recommend his guide service throughout Tanzania.

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