Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Tanzania - Mt. Hanang, 3417m

Mt. Hanang, 3417m Base 1775m - 1642m Elevation gain - 4th highest peak in Tanzania. August 7th
Not wanting to fork out 1000USD to climb Kili, (can the experience of climbing one peak be worth that much $?) I opted for Mt. Hanang and paid a guide about 15USD to show me the way through the maze of farm tracks and trails on the lower slopes. I can’t recall ever having employed a guide to take me up a mtn and must admit that I enjoyed, with guilty pleasure, having my pack carried up for me.
Pre-alpine start with milk tea and chapattis in a cozy local joint and then set off by headlamp. Young Thomas was great company and speedy too, arriving at the top in 4:40. Trail was excellent, easy to do in running shoes with dry weather, lots of small trees on the lower slopes, changing to scrub, with a variety of flowers in the alpine region. Upon gaining the south ridge, the route stays along a spectacular, narrow ridge, passing two false summits along the way. The actual summit is still in the grassy/flowery alpine zone and never gets into truly rocky terrain. Views to the north of the Serengeti and to the NW of Meru and Kili, but too far to get a good photo. Soda lake to the west, with clouds forming out of thin air and rising up from the lower slopes. Coolish 8-10 celcius with a bit of a wind on top. Great just to relax and soak up the scenery and reflect on the fact the last time I climbed a mtn was almost a year and half ago in the middle of the Libyan Sahara! Hard to believe I could be away from scrambling for so long, but I’ve been really been wired into cycle touring lately.
4 hours down. Great timing as the summit clouded over in the early afternoon. Super hammered the next day with “post marathon legs” and a full blown cold. 3500km cycling from Nairobi since July 1 and 915km in 7 days from Kigali, Rwanda and I’d burned myself out. So I took 1 rest day.
I tried to find a free way up Meru, a classic composite volcano, to no avail. Even if I did find an old trail through the thick scrub forest on the lower slopes, it would have been an illegal climb, risking time in jail. I also opted not to harass the few remaining mtn gorillas in Rwanda and pay $500+ USD to climb a volcano.
All in all, a great experience, especially having the mtn to ourselves (can’t imagine that in Kili these days) and 985USD still in my pocket!
Steve Tober (endorphin goat)

No comments: