August 12, 2010
IMG guide Andy Politz reported by sat phone that that the team members are all doing well. Today they climbed from Machame Camp to Shira Camp (about 12,500 feet) via a steep section of trail that winds up a ridge to the Shira Plateau. Again, they had no rain but cloudy skies kept them cool as they emerged from the forest zone and climbed up into “the zone of weird plants”.
The Shira Plateau is an immense remnant of ancient lava flows from the now extinct Shira volcano (Kilimanjaro is composed of three volcanoes, Shira, Mawenzi, and Kibo). At this point the team are above most of the vegetation on the mountain, with only occasional lobelia, groundsel, and other plants remaining.
It is easy to see these vegetation zones if you click on the Google map photos here, with the precise camp locations transmitted by Andy’s SPOT GPS Messenger.