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July 31, 2006

Do we need hiking or trekking poles?

Jonathan and Carrie,

Thanks so much for answering the clothing question for us! I did think of another question of course. We read somewhere that there are usually hiking sticks for sale near the gate of the mountain. Did you find this to be true? Also, do you recommend hiking poles? We're packing our stuff and its really starting to hit us now! Thanks again for all of your advice! =)

Britten (and Chris)

Hi Britten and Chris! We're absolutely more than willing to help and glad we've been able to offer useful advice.

Should you have trekking poles for your climb? The short answer:

Are there trekking poles for sale at the entrance?

We believe so. Even though we didn't see people selling them specifically, there were people selling everything at the park gate. So we imagine that there would be trekking poles for sale there (as well as little bags that go aroud your day pack, in case it rains - which the first day in the rain forest was VERY rainy (big surprise, right - after all, we were in a "rain" forest))

The longer answer to the trekking poles question is that we loved having them. Going up, they were good to balance with (which, by day five, can be an issue for some people). The place we really loved having our poles was coming down the mountain. One of Carrie's knees had gotten a bit swollen and having the poles to brace the impact of stepping down was extremely helpful. The trekking poles also helped to slow the "Step-slide" method which is what you do for about the first 3,000 feet coming down Kilimanjaro from the summit.

We bought our poles for $20/pair (2 paris for $40 total) at a local outdoors outfitter here. It was the cheapest we found them, although we have since heard that some Wal-Mart Stores carry trekking poles (we didn't find them at our local Wal-Mart).

We would imagine that you would be able to find trekking poles at the park gate, and remember, even though there will be people trying to sell them at a high price, the rule of thumb is always BARGAIN, BARGAIN, BARGAIN! (Offer $10 or $15/pair and you can always negotiate up from there.)

We look forward to hearing about your climb when you get back!

July 30, 2006

How to pack for Kilimanjaro and clothing to wear

Hi Jonathan and Carrie,

My name is Britten. I just came across your website and found it very helpful!

My boyfriend and I are leaving on Tuesday to Africa for a Mount Kilimanjaro climb. This is definitely the most extreme adventure either of us has ever taken. I have been researching and reading up on everything I can find to prepare us for the trip and I was really thankful to come across your site.

I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions and get any advice that the two of you have to offer. One of my main questions is how to pack for the weather changes as you advance up the mountain. I keep reading that we should pack light but I'm afraid we won't pack enough of what is really needed. Should we pack more light clothing to keep cool or heavy clothing to stay warm?

If you could answer this question it would be so helpful to us! So far that's the one thing I haven't been able to get answered. If there is anything else that you think would be helpful advice that would be much appreciated as well.

Thanks in advance for any information you can give us and Congrats on your engagement!

Hi Britten!

We don't mind answering your questions at all, as long as we can post the question and answer on our site so everyone can read it!

Thanks for the congratulations on our engagement. We'll have the video (from the summit proposal) online soon!

Your 7-8 miles a day will come in handy. Here's the thing we realized about the mountain: If you're in moderately good shape, the most important thing about reaching the summit is just deciding that you're going to do it. Once you've made that decision (which you already have), then just stick with it.

How to pack:
Pack light and pack warm. How?

Most importantly - NO COTTON.

It doesn't breathe, and takes forever to dry out. We each wore a cotton shirt on the first day of the climb, and even by the time we left Mount Kilimanjaro, the shirts were still damp. (Icky.)

So, take a polypropylene underlayer of some kind (Short Sleeve shirt or tank top). You'll find that you really don't change your clothes that much, so you only need one or maybe two of these. We know that may sound gross, but on the mountain, no one cares. On top of that, a long sleeve wool or polypropylene layer. Over that, on summit day (or on cooler days), a zippered fleece layer is really good. Carrie has a Columbia jacket with an inner liner that zips out, so that served as her fleece layer - Jonathan had a $25 zippered fleece. (Jonathan's mom bought it for him, we think from Target. It was great to have.) Carrie's outer layer of her jacket served as a windbreaker/rainjacket, and Jonathan just wished he had a windbreaker. But he did have a poncho, just in case it rained.

(Doesn't this seem like a lot of stuff? It did to us too. It isn't really... Just only take one of each thing. Again, when you smell on the mountain, so does everyone else. It's really no big deal. You'll see when you go.)

We were fine with our heavy coats on summit day (over the top of the above-mentioned layers). Carrie zippered her jacket together, while Jonathan had his down ski jacket.

So that's from the waist up.

Waist down:

Jonathan wore boxer briefs underneath. They were frilly and lacey. Just kidding.

He had 4 pairs of boxers for an 8 day climb, because it just feels good to change your underwear. Because he didn't feel the need to change daily, Jonathan changed boxers every other day. (Is that too much information?) Both of us did the same (changed socks every other day) with our liner socks.

Long Underwear... Jonathan hates the way it feels on his skin, but he LOVED having it on Summit Day. NOT COTTON long underwear - get wicking material of some kind. Over the top of that, we put our zip-off pants (the kind that turn into shorts when you zip off the legs). This particular type of pants wouldn't be absolutely necessary, but we liked having them, because we each had two pairs of them, which meant we each had two pairs of pants and two pairs of shorts. They also had multiple pockets, which was SO nice on the mountain for camera, gloves, Clif Bars, etc. they also are very light material, but serve as excellent windbreakers

Which brings us to... ah yes, the feet.

Liner socks, again, NOT COTTON (noticing a theme here?) and wool socks over the top. (We've linked to them in previous blog posts so that you can see what we got).

Glad to hear you're breaking in your boots. Nothing worse than blisters on the mountain. (Well, okay, maybe there are worse things, but...) We took some NuSkin and bandage wrapping material (the kind that sticks to itself) that came in handy for Carrie's blisters on day one. She never had a problem with the blisters after that.

Other helpful advice

About the water - (see the earlier post on the water)

One of the best non-essential items we took was the Playaway and extra AAA Lithium Batteries to power them. They're audio books, and helped keep the mind distracted on long hiking days. (Jonathan "read" The World is Flat (twice), and Carrie "read" most of Angels and Demons, while we were on the mountain.)

Little snacky foods are helpful and fun along the way.

Beef Jerky was definitely the snack of choice for the trip.

There's a lot more we can share, but you leave Tuesday, and we're still working on getting pictures and videos live on the site. When you get back, contact us. We'd love to have you offer some of your tips right here on our site.

The best of success to you, stay safe, and most importantly, have fun!!!

July 28, 2006

Kilimanjaro2006 in the news!

Carrie is from a town in the NorthEastern part of the state called Holyoke. The Holyoke Enterprise did a full story on us and our climb, and we thought it was a really nice article!

We've linked to it, or you can click to continue reading and read the article right here on our site!

Couple climbs Mount Kilimanjaro one corporate logo at a time

By Elizabeth Sampson Holyoke Enterprise

Twenty-one businesses wanted Carrie Roll, 25, and Jonathan Kraft, 26, to go on vacation, and those business were willing to pay for it.

Roll, the daughter of Susan Roll of Holyoke and a 2000 Holyoke High School graduate and her boyfriend Kraft recently traveled to Washington D.C., New York City, New Jersey, Tanzania, Africa and Mount Kilimanjaro-all with the help of sponsorships by businesses.

For a fee of $100, the Parker couple offered to promote any company who signed up to sponsor their trip. The couple agreed to wear that company's logo during their travels, post company ads for three years on their travel website and upload pictures and videos of themselves wearing the company logos on their June 8 through July 16 trip.

Kraft said 21 companies signed up and there is possibly one other who still wants to get in on the advertising.

Getting sponsorships for their trip came from a need to find a way to pay for their adventure.
"It didn't pay for whole trip, but it definitely helped offset the cost," Kraft said.

Throughout their trip the couple kept a web journal updating friends, family and sponsors of their activities. People could log onto www.kilimanjaro2006.com to share in the adventures the couple was having around the world.

Each person who logged on could see the couple around the world-and the logos of the businesses who sponsored them.

Before they left, they did intensive training for their climb up that mountain that soars to 19,341 feet. But what really got them ready for their massive climb was their trip itself.

"The best thing we did as far as training was the whole trip in Washington D.C. and New York City," Roll said. "We had nine days where we had 10-12 hours on our feet walking around."

They traveled with a group of 17 people. Four were from Colorado and the rest were from Phoenix. The couple knew two of the other travelers before they embarked.

When they arrived in Africa, they went on a one-day safari in Tanzania, which both travelers considered the best part of the trip.

"It was so cool to see these animals that you usually only see in the zoo," Roll said. "They look different and they act different."

Their ascension to the peak of Kilimanjaro took six days.
"You have to acclimate," Roll said. "Your body can't really ascend more than 2,000 feet a day and keep up with it."

Kraft added that it depends on each individual.
"Any more than 4,000 feet in a day and the body will experience some consequences," he said.

Once they reached the top, it was a life changing experience for both of them.
For one thing, the view was spectacular.

"The summit was amazing," Kraft said. "You can see the shadow of Kilimanjaro as the sun comes up beyond the horizon. It is just a phenomenal view. It's really indescribable."

For another thing, both came down the mountain with a fiancee.

"Jonathan proposed at the summit," Roll said. True to form, the proposal and the acceptance is on video and will be on their website once they get the footage uploaded.

In addition to their own website, friends and family could see them on television before they left and after their return. They made an appearance on Fox TV's Good Day Colorado show.

Now back home in Parker, Kraft has his own business in which he helps people get access to the legal system and with identity theft issues. Roll is earning her master's degree in linguistics from the University of Colorado.

Looking back on their trip they realize the best way to live is just how they went about their trip.

"People talk themselves out of stuff all the time," Kraft said. "We tell people to just go for it."

Both encouraged people to take risks. Even though others in their situation might have thought they didn't have enough money to travel or weren't in good enough shape to climb Kilimanjaro, this couple didn't take no for an answer.

"Just find a way," Roll said.

July 25, 2006

Kilimanjaro Questions and Answers about the water

Jonathan -
I hope you don't mind if I occasionally ask you a question about your climb, we are climbing (my wife and 3 grown kids) in September. We're going up the Machame route - I think you did the same. Are there places to buy bottled water, at the bottom, along the way …… or do you have to get it from the guides / streams, and boil it and purify it? Do you then have to carry all 4 litres with you, each person, for the day?

Having recently done it - You are the expert of course - and I'm thrilled to know someone who we can ask a question to now and then (we're a bit nervous at this point). We just got our visas back from the Tanzania embassy yesterday - thank goodness.

Thanks Jonathan!

Hi Scot!

I definitely don’t mind answering the questions!

We did take the Machame Route. Who’s organizing the Africa side of the trip for you? Our guides and trip organizers in Africa were AWESOME! You might think about checking them out. Simon is the company’s owner, his brother Felix was our guide, and Francis (the books side of the business) drove us to the airport on the last day.


The most nerve-wracking thing for us was putting our passports in the mail to the Tanzanian embassy in order to get the Visas. (I actually called the embassy twice during the process to check on our visas) so that’s good you have that out of the way!

There is a place to buy bottled water at the bottom - but nowhere along the way (on the Machame route). Our guides/porters took care of the water for us at camp, and then Carrie and I each carried 2 liters, and I carried an extra liter some days (to share if needed) for each day. To be honest, I don't know where the water came from, but they boiled it, and then filtered it, before it went into our bottles.

Carrie is of the impression that the water looked like a science experiment because of all the floaties therein... I don't think the water was that bad. BUT, (and this is a big but) we were so glad that we had taken powdered drink mix with us. Someone told us before leaving that it would take the "edge" off of the water, and they were definitely right. Crystal light lemonade and fruit punch come in little tear packets, as does the berry flavor of Gatorade, which made it easy to get into our Nalgene bottles.

On the mountain, we got special permission on the last day to camp about 1,000 feet above the high camp. If you use Simon and Felix, they may be able to get this for you too… we were the only ones camping that high up, but it made a HUGE difference on summit day.

Feel free to ask any other questions you may have!

Thanks Scot!

July 16, 2006

A Few Kilimanjaro Favorites

So, we have some news, and some pictures to share!

Our news:

1. We're in Orlando, leaving for home in Colorado, and we are delayed. We may or may not make our connection in Chicago. Time will tell.

2. We're going to be on the news again! It might happen tomorrow morning. We say might because, well, #1. We might not make it on time.

So, because we're sitting here in an (another) airport, with annoyed people around us, we decided to use the free wireless internet access to do something positive with our delay.

So, here are a few of our favorite pictures.

A shot of the awesome mountain just seven days before our summit.

Jonathan as a cape buffalo.

Fiber Optic Flowers in Africa.

Carrie of the Frosty Hair.

Adam of the "I haven't showered in 8 days" hair.

Zebra Love
(A.K.A. You scratch my back; I'll scratch yours.)

The Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge (where we stayed the first two nights and our last night in Africa)

Carrie and Jonathan on Mount Kilimanjaro

Sunset over Mount Meru (Camp 2 - with Mount Kilimanjaro behind us)

July 06, 2006

Pictures from Kilimanjaro summit

We have over 1,000 pictures that we are currently cataloguing and organizing, putting into an easy-to-navigate and fun format.

But, a couple of people have asked us for pictures from the summit, so instead of having you wait for the next days' postings (from DC, NYC, and NJ, as well as our safari), here are just a few of our pictures from the summit.

Thanks for all your support! We have more to share, MUCH MORE, and it will be coming very soon!

July 01, 2006

We Made it! To the top of Kilimanjaro!

We made it to the top of Kilimanjaro! And we're back safe and sound. We don't have much time right now, but wanted to let everyone know that it was absolutely amazing, both Jonathan and Carrie summited the mountain, and we've got some exciting news to share as well!

From here, we leave for Amsterdam in 3 hours, where we will spend a couple of days. We're very excited about this next leg of our trip, and are glad to have the time to rest on the plane!

We've taken over 700 pictures, and have 2 1/2 hours of video to share with everyone, which will start appearing on the web site shortly, as soon as we're able to get everything put together into a format that will be accessible for everyone online.

Stay tuned!