Night climb started at 01:00 am, summit reached at 6:00 am before sunrise. Impressive volcano crater, hearing sounds of boiling lava, Mt. Meru rising through the clouds..
Unexpectedly easy climb (5 hours), via the northwest route, leaving at 5:30 AM and reaching the north crater by 10:30 AM. Was with a group of 21 (20 students and a professor), +2 guides (David and Steven), and a group of 9 porters who stayed with us plus 3 who descended.
Lots of activity was observed in the north crater including the vigorous draining of a lava lake in cone T57B towards the east through a breach in the base of the cone, and minor spattering from T58B. Many vents, including T37B, T45, T46, T47, and T51 were actively and intermittently degassing. Loud bangs were often heard around the cones and low frequency, rare rumbling was present at night from our north crater campsite up against the ridge.
Note: A major thunderstorm hit during the night of February 25-26, and lasted an hour with sustained winds of probably 50-60 mph plus faster gusts, periods of intense rain, and copious lightning, suspected to have been hitting the ridge and even potentially the cones themselves (very close strikes). People got soaked.
Reached the Crater by 4.00 AM; Cone n° T49 was active, a lot of lava flows streaming down.
Wonderful show on " the Mountain of God ".
Special thanks to my Guide, WILLIAM.