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2008 News

Page history last edited by Frederick Belton 13 years, 3 months ago

January 2008: Vegard Laukhammer reports: We were four people that were only 50metres from the top when it erupted this Monday (January 14).  We barely survived. Luckily the lava never came towards us so we only had to get out of the shower of stones.  His email included reference to a website, http://www.vgb.no/14423/perma/280695.  A translation of the text from Norwegian to English has been provided courtesy of Sven Dahlgren, a  member of the Lengai 2002 expedition.  (Editor's note: There is serious doubt that there was actually any flowing lava involved in the eruption; evidently the guide feared lava but did not actually see any lava.) The translation is as follows:


 " We are still somewhat shaky after the extreme experience yesterday. After a fantastic excursion in the weekend, where we visited a Masai village on Friday evening and were on a spectacular safari at Ngorongoro Saturday, we were ready to climb the volcano Oldoinyo Lengai the night between Sunday and Monday.  The walk took us to nearly 2700 m a.s.l. and was very strenuous with 6 hours walk from midnight. The last two hundred meters we were climbing straight up like monkeys. According to Vegar’s watch we were at the summit at 06:52. The visibility was so poor and there were so much smoke that we decided to try to climb down again after 10 minutes. And LUCKY LUCKILY for that…. About 10 minutes later (07:15), when we had been able to climb about 50 meters down from the summit, a thundering, ear-breaking sound came from the volcano. A large shower of rocks (many the size of a football) were thrown out from the volcano directly towards us 4 on the top. Our local guide yelled what we all already felt – today we’re gonna die….!We rushed down the mountain slope (we just had been afraid to climb up). We were running, falling and rolling down within a big cloud of dust, rocks and ash from the volcano. Vegar and I, and our guide, managed in one or another way to fight us to the right and out of the main cloud. And we continued with some crazy stunts down the mountain slope in cracks and crevasses, when our guide is shouting: The lava is coming, the lava is coming!! With all the power we managed we rushed down for about one hour, the same distance we had spent 6 hours climbing up… In one or another miraculous way we were not injured (although Vegard got some significant scratches and cuts, both our butts are fairly well-scrubbed, and we are totally beaten up). BUT ALIVE!! Totally we were 10 persons on the mountain (the others did not reach the summit and were a bit lower down than us, though they were directly down-slope from the eruption. We were absolutely certain they had perished. Being afraid of new eruptions, and with a guide preliminarily blinded by the sulfuric dust, we spent more than an hour to maneuver ourselves out of a labyrinth of old deep lava crevasses and back to the car that was parked at the foot of the mountain. Totally exhausted we could with great satisfaction see that one after the other appeared in safety, and we could finally permit ourselves to react on the incident. The last man that was among us on the mountain, had injured both his ankles after a long and dangerous rush down some old lava crevasses (the lava was luckily limited, and to the other side) and he had to be helped down the last distance by our brave chauffeur.


January 2009: Andreas Brehm reported that during a climbing attempt from the northwest, his group reached the Pearly Gates and at that point "there suddenly came big bangs." from above.  He did not specifically say that they did not reach the summit but his report implied that they turned around at this time. Photos taken of Lengai from a distance (date unknown) show an ash plume. Photos will be posted here if permission is given.


January 2008: Jens Fissenebert of Moivaro - Lake Natron Tented Camp & Campsite has reported that the groups on the 14th January (see report of Vegard Laukhammer above) all went up the old west route through the pearly gates.  This explains why the guide feared that lava might flow down on them from above. This experience shows that the old climbing route is far too dangerous to use now! Jens also reports: "As we've been up on the 25th Dec., the south crater was filled with ash, but you couldn't see any stone impacts. On the 4th Jan. the helicopter group reported that it (the South Crater) was looking like after a bomb hail. That's why I'm worried even to climb up the new route and also to camp there." 

January 2008: Paul Johns
reports "We were the ones that took Jens up the volcano on Dec 25th. On Jan 6. we landed in the south crater and walked to the peak.  The volcano erupted on our flight to the crater and again 15 minutes after we left, I guess we were lucky. Once we landed we could see the size of the rocks that were being thrown into the south crater, we estimated that these rocks were less than 12 hours old, as the soil was still damp and freshly disturbed."


Impact site in the South Crater of a block (or possibly a bomb) ejected from the ash and cinder cone (T58) in the North Crater.  Photo made Jan 4,  2008. Photo courtesy Paul Johns.


January 2008: Tom Pfeiffer of Volcano Discovery has posted an extremely informative report of a 17-21 January expedition at http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/volcano-tours/lengai/activity_report/17-21jan08.html It is clear from this photo of the impact site and from Tom's report that visiting the summit area of Lengai is now extremely dangerous!


January 2008:  On the 19th of January, led by the Maasai guide William, Bernhard Donth (Saarbruecken) and Thomas Schulmeister (Berlin) climbed Oldoinyo Lengai from the old route (NW flank above the Pearly Gates). "During ascent there was occasionally rain of fine grey ashes and small white pebbles into the route.  About 200 m under the top plateau we heard (but did not see) the sound of nearby flowing lava (?) known from the former hornitos.  Our driver reported at the same time from the parking place by radiophone that there is a small flow of black lava to be seen on the left of the Pearly Gates wall. This observation could not be verified up to now. After eight hours climbing at 01:40 p.m. the active crater floor was reached.  There was no fresh lava to be seen inside and outside of the active main crater. Permanently there were small ash jets from the active crater.  While the eastern part of the plateau is covered by smaller and larger stones, the west side consists of much smaller particles.  While the way up is passable if an ice pick or geological hammer is used, the way down seems to be impossible without using further alpine equipment. Therefore we crossed the plateau and went to the south crater. For the way down the new route, beginning at the far southeast edge of the inactive south crater, was used. At the summit ridge we saw the Volcano Discovery team of Tom Pfeiffer, which camp in the south crater. We did not visit the top of the summit ridge because of the late hour. The new way down is steep and sandy but short and quite sure (less than 3 hours)."  Some first pictures can be seen at http://www.schulmeister.org/Lengai08  (ED NOTE: Many of these photos are panoramas and are extremely informative about the changes to the crater during this eruption.)


 January 2008: Phil Benham sent photos of their January 18 visit with Nature Discovery during which they camped on top for two nights.  He forwarded several photos, one of which is shown below: A large number of additional excellent detailed photos of the activity and summit area are posted at http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=86ee2wd.cdr2yfqp&x=0&y=d8d01o


 Photo courtesy Phil  Benham.

January 2008: Thomas Holden of Nature Discovery (A safari company in Tanzania) has reported on a new climbing route up Lengai. He writes: “Here's the latest news on the re-opening of Oldonyo Lengai on a new route from the SE: On the 18th of January, led by guides of Ngare Sero Natron Camp (with many thanks to Tim Leach of Lake Natron Ngare Sero Camp), we climbed Lengai from a new route on the South East, a mere 1 hour drive from Ngare Sero village to reach the starting point. We found this route a vast improvement over the old route (and also the other southern routes we recently attempted) and although a steep alpine adventure style trail, the route follows an unbroken ridge ascending without any big drops or exposed sections of scrambling. Most importantly, this route crests the summit area at the far southeast edge of the inactive south crater, with the summit ridge to the north acting as a buffer to the active north crater. From the south crater we continued to the summit ridge counter-clockwise to the west, to view the active crater from the top of the summit ridge. We did not descend to the active crater floor, as any significant eruption while down there could certainly spell big trouble."

In a later email Thomas adds this about the new climbing route: "The old route, near the top was steeper and more difficult than any part of this new route. The new route does not have any sections like that, nor does it have any chasms, holes, or drop-offs which one could potentially fall into. The only difficult thing about it is that it’s a new route, and we need to ‘wear it in’, as in- dig a few more footsteps and make a few switchbacks on the steeper sections, to make it easier to keep footing. "

New SE ascent route.  Photo courtesy Thomas Holden.


February 2008: Michael Dalton-Smith reported in a Feb 4 email:  “I'm in Tanzania and in view of Lengai. The mountain is very active, and I have seen several eruptions. There was a fairly big one yesterday at 12:00 pm with a cloud that rose about 3000ft above the summit. Activity was present all day with a stop around 4pm, and then renewed activity with ash rising 1000-1500ft above the crater. It was clear this was small effusive eruptions of ash. This morning atsunrise (6am) however there was a larger eruption with the ash rising about 4500ft. It was a fairly dense cloud that flattened out at the top. I am currently in the Gol mountains just east of Sanjan gorge, and the camp manger of asilia said there was a several large explosive eruptions 3 days ago. Two bangs could be heard in the morning and the evening. it was too hazy for photos. An interesting note, the guy here says that the position of the ash column has moved further north in the crater maybe suggesting that new vent has opened closer to the edge of the crater floor on the north side.”

February  2008: Michael Dalton-Smith reported in a Feb 6 email: "Opted out of the climb, eruptions have been too strong, we drove past Lengai today and it was having some of the biggest eruptions in a long time.  Active continuely from sunrise to about 2pm."

Lengai erupting on Feb  6. Photo courtesy Michael Dalton-Smith.

February 2008: Michel Picard was flying from Seronera to Arusha on Feb 12 and photographed a dark ash cloud above Lengai.

Photo courtesy Michel Picard.


February 2008: Gerrit Jan Plaisier and Rob Alakopsa of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines forwarded photos of Lengai made at 0755 UTC on Feb 15 by a MartinAir flightcrew. Plume is estimated to rise to 36,000 ft.


Photo courtesy Martinair flight crew.


February 2008: Nigel D’Aubrey sent the following photo that he made while on El Al flight 512 from Johannesburg to Tel Aviv on Feb 20.


Photo courtesy Nigel D'Aubrey.


February 2008: Jurgis Klaudius, who has studied Lengai for a number of years, writes a safety warning  from Freiberg, Germany: "I have to propose that the whole upper cone area shall be a "no go". I have experienced the sudden onset of the explosive eruptions, which appear without any kind of warning. and those I have seen are minor "puffs" compared to the event, recorded by the picture of the aircrew. it seems that the intensity of the eruptions is highly variable, therefore their impact is not predictable! if an eruption like this occurs during a stay at the summit area, there is hardly a chance to survive!"

February 2008: Claude Humbert writes:”I was part of a party of 11 people, mostly French (one Spanish), we attempted to climb on the southern side on February 24, 2008, starting at 3 AM. About halfway from the summit, the person in charge of the group decided to stop and start climbing down.”  Claude sent the following photo of lightening in the ash plume.  Additional photos of the same visit were forwarded by Evelyne Pradal.  A report will be sent later.

Photo courtesy Claude Humbert.

Lengai seen from Engare Sero camp area. Photo courtesy Evelyne Pradal.



Climbing toward the active vent. Photo courtesy Evelyne Pradal.


February  2008: Michael Dalton-Smith reported in a Feb 27 email: "It seems as if Lengai's eruptions are getting stronger. My business  partner is still in Gol, and said yesterday that Lengai blew 4 times  the height of the pictures I sent you. (See second photo above.)  He said it was a massive cloud and came with a bang. You may be interested to know, we asked the Masai from the village  closest to Lengai if they would evacuate or if they were scared of  the volcano, and they replied that if the volcano were to blow and kill them all it would be the wish of their god Lengai. I think it is a very heightened spiritual time there right now. The village closest all seem to be full of Masai."

February 2008: Dave Rhys writes: “I just returned from Tanzania where we witnessed distantly from the Serengeti Plain and Ngorongoro Crater three eruptions of Oldoinyo Lengai on February 27-28, and later by plane leaving to London on Feb. 29.  The single ash plumes rose rapidly each time but were not followed by any continuous eruption, and were dispersed rapidly afterward on Feb 27-28 by strongly northerly winds which dispersed the ash clouds southward. Thin ash coatings on plant leaves were observed around the rim of Ngorongoro crater the next day distant to roads which may have provided dust, and on surfaces which were previously clean the day before.”

Photo courtesy Dave Rhys.

March 2008: Max Voigt made the following  photograph while on a Nairobi to Johannesburg flight on March 1.


Photo courtesy Max Voigt.

February-March 2008: Ben Wilhelmi sent the following photos he made in late February and on March 1 and 2.


Photo courtesy Ben Wilhelmi.


Photo courtesy Ben Wilhelmi.

In this view it seems that the tops of two old hornitos appear at the lower right  rim of the ash cone.  Photo courtesy Ben Wilhelmi.

March 2008:The following pictures by Tony Drummond-Murray from 3 - 5  March are of possibly the strongest eruption ever photographed at Lengai! This shows the extreme danger present on even the lower slopes of the mountain.  The second picture appears to show a pyroclastic flow from a collapsing ash column, or if not that, a debris avalanche from collapse of part of the crater rim or the new cinder cone.

Tony  writes:: “My wife and I have just returned from Lake Natron Area (early March 08), and were prevented from scaling the mountain by several massive eruptions that seem to be larger than any shown on your, or other sites. The volcano, and immediate environs, is definitely NOT a place to be!
We saw several substantial emissions, each of which started "after breakfast", with a very quiet run up.  There were several massive ground strikes of lightning from the thinner  sections of the cloud to ground (the lower slopes of the mountain), certainly on  05/03/08. I was of the opinion that these were comparable in length with the actual height of the mountain itself. We thought there were strikes within the  cloud too, but these may have been ground strikes that we did not actually witness. Sadly on the 05/03/08 date, there was light cloud present before the eruption,  and this restricted views of the cone. I would not have thought that it was of sufficient size/density to have contributed to the lightning that we saw.
I did try, with binoculars from the Camp Site, to see if there was any "red  glow" to be seen at night (04/03 & 05/03). I was unable to detect any, but  suspect the high density of the cloud would prevent any visible light escaping the inner cone.
The whole of the valley between Oldonyo Lengai and the Escarpment itself was covered with a highly visible layer of light ash after the eruption on 04/03, a  process that was doubtless repeated on 05/03 too. We understand too that the local Villagers, certainly within the dusted area, were being evacuated, as their animals could not eat.

We did hear some thunderlike noises at the camp site on 3 Feb. We took this to be the sound of the eruptions, but this was our first experience of the volcano, and it might have been thunder, but I saw no lightning at this time.
On the 5th, the plume appeared larger, even, than on the 4th. From our vantage point, and we had driven out of the Camp Site and turned generally  "left" towards the top of the Lake (perhaps a mile or so from the Site), the  peak of the plume appeared to stretch from the summit to VERTICALLY overhead, as  well as being distributed downwind towards the Escarpment."

 Photo courtesy Tony Drummond-Murray.

Photo courtesy Tony Drummond-Murray.


Photo courtesy Tony Drummond-Murray.

Photo courtesy Tony Drummond-Murray.

Photo courtesy Tony Drummond-Murray.

March 2008: Ben Wilhelmi sent the following photo made 10h10 on March 5. Estimated plume height 50,000 ft.

Photo courtesy  Ben Wilhelmi.

March 2008: Ben Wilhelmi sent the following photos made 11 and 12 March.

Strong ash eruption seen from the east. Photo courtesy Ben Wilhelmi.

This March 12 photo shows that the powerful eruptions of March 3-5 did not significantly alter the ash cone or crater rim.  Large amounts of ash and cinders have piled up against the northward facing ridge below the summit.  Photo courtesy Ben Wilhelmi.

This image shows that the east, north, and west flanks of the ash ash cone have buried the original crater rim.  Oversteepening of the cone flank has in places resulted in small landslides which can be seen as dark material covering the lighter areas of older weathered carbonatite just below the cone.  Photo courtesy Ben Wilhelmi.

View of the south crater from the east shows an ash and cinder layer so deep that previously prominent erosion gullies are becoming indistinct.  It appears that all vegetation has either died or been buried under ash.  Photo courtesy Ben Wilhelmi.

March 2008: Kent Richter  made the following photo while camped at Thomson Serengeti Nyumba at Robanda on 16 March.


Photo courtesy Kent Richter.

March 2008: Thomas Unterweissacher made photos of the eruption on March 16 from the summit of Mt Meru.

Photo courtesy Thomas Unterweissacher.

March 2008: Ben Wilhelmi sent the following photos made on 18 March at 1530 local time.

Photo courtesy Ben Wilhelmi.

Photo courtesy Ben Wilhelmi.

Photo courtesy Ben Wilhelmi.

Photo courtesy Ben Wilhelmi.

Photo courtesy Ben Wilhelmi.

March 2008: Ben Wilhelmi sent the following photos (0930 March 22) looking straight down into the crater. He reports that as of March 22 there have been no reports of activity for three days, and that a smell of hydrogen sulfide is back after not having been present for a long time.

Photo courtesy Ben Wilhelmi.

Photo courtesy Ben Wilhelmi.

March 2008: Thomas Holden reports that as of March 29, there has been no activity at Lengai for 10 days.

March 2008: Paul Westerman reports: "I summited Ol Doinyo Lengai on 3/25 (pictures attached) around 11am with a friend from Arusha and a local maasai guide.  Walked to the top of the ash cone and heard the tremendous roar.  No sulphur smell but some heat.  The next day 3/26 we observed some smoke and ash fall (on the downwind side) starting around 9:30am while we were at the shore of Lake Natron."

Photo courtesy Paul Westerman.


April 2008Chris Daborn of Tropical Veterinary Services Ltd reports on April 2: " Lengai has of late quietened down significantly - first in changing ash colour from a "salty" white to a more inert black and now with much smaller eruptions that barely extend above the mountain.  We have heavy rains on at present which makes movement in the area difficult - but are also washing ash residue away.


April 2008: Jurgis Klaudius reports:" I just checked modis data and found that there was a thermal anomaly in the north crater on 3rd of April indicating that the eruptions are still going on."


April 2008: Ben Wilhelmi flew over Lengai on 7 and 8 April and sent many photos of the crater and the flanks of Lengai.  The flanks show newly formed erosion gullies in the recently deposited ash.  Lengai was inactive on the 7th but erupted on the 8th.


Crater on April 7. Photo courtesy Ben Wilhelmi.



This is cropped from an image of the flank and shows an unusual feature resembling a lava flow from a flank vent, but is more likely the track of a bomb tumbling down the flankor some other disturbance to the surface.  Photo courtesy Ben Wilhelmi.



Eruption on April 8. Photo courtesy Ben Wilhelmi.


April 2008: Recent reports from Ben Wilhelmi and Michael Dalton-Smith indicate that Lengai has shown little activity during early April, although visibility has been hampered by atmospheric clouds on several occasions.  Photos from the air by Ben Wilhelmi showed no activity on April 11.


April 2008: Matthieu Kervyn reports that MODIS data has indicated a significant hotspot on Lengai on April 17, showing that activity, although intermittent, is continuing.  MODIS also detected the eruption of April 8 shown in above photos.


May 2008: Chris Weber of Vulkan Expeditionen International and Marc Szeglat visited Lengai on 14-16 May.  Chris reports: "Only minor ash eruptions were reported by local Masai after the last noteable eruptions on 8 April and 17 April 2008. Some of the evacuated local Masai had returned back to their settlements, but part of the livestock had not returned from evacuation sites yet midd of May 2008. The volcanic fall-out of pyroclastics was still visible around the volcano. Due to a heavy rain period (season) vegetation damage was not as severe, as it could have turned out by this strong explosive eruption period of O. Lengai (BGVN 33:2). Up to around 1000 m altitude the vegetation, mostly “Elephant grass”, normal grass and some Akazia trees, were undamaged around the volcano, except for the western sides where severe damage of the vegetation occurred as far as 10 kilometers away from the summit. Some lahars had happened on the north and northeast of the volcano’s outruns. The elderly Masai reported, that in compare to their visible observations, the recent eruption period was stronger than the 1966/1967 explosive event.  The former common trekking route (track) up O. Lengai is not recommended so far, because of rockfall hazards and bad hiking conditions. We used a very steep route on the SE side (named “simba route”) of the volcano to climb up. From about 1000 m altitude volcanic ash-layers were clearly visible on the ground, but new grass had already grown since the eruption. At approximately 1500 m on the SE- volcano flank, all vegetation started to be covered (or being destroyed) by volcanic pyroclastics (“ash fall out”). From about 2500 m, additional impacts of volcanic bombs were visible. The volcano’s inactive south crater was the location of our camp site. All vegetation was wiped out and volcanic bomb impacts from the last explosive events on April 2008 were quite impressive to study. The active north crater of O. Lengai had a new morphology. The diameter of the crater from N to S was 300 m and from E to W 283 m. The crater floor was at approx. 2740 m altitude, accordingly 130 m deep seen form the west crater rim. Two vents were located as c1 and c2 inside the crater and obviously not at older hornito locations. Both vents were dergassing with strong pressure and quite noisy. On 15 May a period of powder ash eruption started until midday. This happened again on 16 May, unknown which vent was responsible for this. After our descent we visited an abandoned Masai boma on the west side of O. Lengai. The “ash fall” forced the local family Lesele to flee from their home only a few kilometers away form the summit of O. Lengai."


Photo courtesy Chris Weber.


Photo courtesy Chris Weber.

Photo courtesy Chris Weber.

June 2008: A fly-over by Ben Wilhelmi shows an ash eruption on June 8.  Photos made by Ben on 1, 3, 10 and 12 June show no activity.

June 8, 2008. Photo courtesy Ben Wilhelmi.

June 2008:  The photo below by Fred Belton shows an ash-poor plume above Lengai at about 3 PM on June 12.

Photo by Fred Belton.


June 2008: Fred Belton and Paul Hloben climbed Lengai on June 18 with Masaai guide Peter and other Tanzanians Paul Mongi and Mweena Hosa, and spent about 1 hour on the rim of the active cinder cone.  Mineral samples were collected by Belton.  For more photos and details of the climb see 2008 Expedition.   On June 17 a group of local Masaai from Engare Sero village climbed Lengai via the western route through the Pearly Gates, which has been closed to climbers for several months due to dangerous activity.  The climbers of June 18, led by the Maasai guide Peter,  followed the footprints of the Maasai group from the previous day.  The ascent route is the same as before except that the entire route is now covered by thick ash deposits.  The powdery ash has actually decreased the difficulty of the descent and in some places it is nearly possible to run down the mountain.  However, climbers should be aware that the route is subject to danger from above should there be a significant eruption from the cinder cone.

The alternative route that approaches Lengai from the NE via a dry river bed and grassy track off the Engare Sero-Engaruka road and terminates in the south crater is steep and dangerous. Most climbers attempting this route recently have turned back without reaching the summit. However, some groups such as Chris Weber's team have successfully reached the summit via this route. (See above report.)  We do not recommend it.

The new active cone covers the former crater floor entirely except for a region just north of the summit. The west, north and east sides of the former crater are now about 30m higher than before and enclose a deep pit crater with a couple of small vents visible in the bottom.  To the south, the rim of the new cone rests on the crater floor.  To the east and west the new cone merges with and covers up the old rim at the points where it intersects the arc formed by the summit ridge.  Thus there is now a section of the former crater floor which is bounded to the north by the new cone's southern rim and to the east, south and west by the original curving summit ridge.  This is much like the morphology of the crater after the 1966-67 eruption when there was a similar pit crater to the north and a "southern depression" below the summit, although this pit crater appears larger than the one from '66-'67, and the current "southern depression" appears smaller than the one formed in the sixties.

During the visit from approximately 9:20 -10:20 AM the pit crater frequently emitted an ash-poor plume from somewhere in the SW part of its floor.  Climbers on the rim experienced light ashfall.  Loud rumbling was continuous and occasional sounds of gas jetting and rockfall were heard amid other noises that are not easily described.  Occasionally there was a sloshing/hissing noise resembling the sound of  "lava at depth" often heard at Lengai in the past, but there was no evidence of any lava in the crater. 

The summit and south crater were not visited due to lack of time and poor visibility due to increasing atmospheric clouds around the summit.

Summit of Lengai behind new crater rim.  Photo by Fred Belton.

Small ash eruption on June 18.  Photo by Fred Belton.

June 2008: Ben Wilhelmi photographed 4 of the 5 climbers on his June 18 flyover.

Note the 4 climbers just below the crater rim.  Photo courtesy Ben Wilhelmi.

June 2008:  Photos by Ben Wilhelmi made on June 19 show no activity, but on June 30 he photographed gray plumes emerging from the crater.

July 2008:  On July 1, Ben Wilhelmi made photographs and noted a small collapse of the south part of the new crater rim.

On July 1 there appears to be a small crater rim collapse on the south (upper right) crater rim. Photo courtesy Ben Wilhelmi.

Ben overexposed this photo to reveal details of the inner crater.  Photo courtesy Ben Wilhelmi.

View of the south crater floor showing numerous bomb or block impact craters.  Photo courtesy Ben Wilhelmi.

July 2008: Ben Wilhelmi forwarded photos he made during flyovers on July 3, 14, 18, 23, and 25, all of which showed no changes and either no activity at all or very light smoking of the crater.  A photo taken on July 18, posted below,  shows white smoke emerging from a small area on the NE part of the former crater rim. at the place where the new crater wall has merged with it.

Photo courtesy Ben Wilhelmi.

July 2008: Thomas Holden reports: "On 27 July a guide witnessed a "small eruption."  (No details given.) "The guide gathered samples in a Maasai shuka which was burned and melted because he collected the materials when they were still hot."

August 2008: Ben Wilhelmi forwarded the following message from Remi Kahane about a climb on 3 August: "Severin Polreich and Remi Kahane (Arusha), guides Godson (Arusha) and Juma (Maasai from Lake Natron village office) went on the old route (NE) to the top of the vulcano. Jens from Moivaro Lake Natron camp site informed us that this old route had been used recently and successfully, and that the vulcano was quiet since 1 July, but still active and then dangerous. He also advised us to hire a local guide at the village, since a recent regulation from the village authority makes it an obligation. Fee is 100 $ and guide is not a professional. He knows the way. We spent 15 minutes at the rim of the crater (10 a.m.) and could hear very clearly strong and constant rambling of the vulcano, no smoke from the crater however. Fumeroles on the external rim were present, and sulfur odor was strong."

August 2008: Ben Wilhelmi sent photos from Aug 8 and reported that the mountain was quite. He photographed some climbers standing on the crater rim.  Ben also sent photos of Lengai made on Aug 23 which revealed no activity.

Sept 2008
Hervé Loubieres and Françoise Vignes of Toulouse report: 
“We climbed to the top on 2008 September 1st  through the NW route with Shiro, our Maasaï guide. This climbing route was hard, walking on ashes deposits,  and long (7 hours)  but without any difficulties. We reached the Crater summit at 7:00am.  While climbing we heard the roar of the volcano activity before passing through the Pearly Gates. There were white fumerolles on the external rim of the crater (picture SouthFaceFinalClimb). No sulfur smell. Inside the crater on the South rim (picture SouthCraterRim) there were also fumerolles. And in the crater floor there were 2 active vents erupting black lava (picture CraterFloorVent), one of them was bigger with a diameter around 10 meters and a permanent activity.  After having walked around the crater and a too short rest, we went down at 8:10 am by the same way, very exhausting due to the heat and to the ashes dust."


 Erupting spatter cone within the pit crater of Lengai on Sept 1, 2008. Photo courtesy Hervé Loubieres and Françoise Vignes.


Sept 2008: Ben Wilhlmi sent photos he made of Lengai from a distance on Sept 3.  No plume was visible.

Oct 2008:
Jens Fissenebert of Moivaro - Lake Natron Tented Camp & Campsite reported a small eruption on Oct 1 beginning at 1:45 PM. Details are not yet known.

Dec 2008: Carsten Bendix reports: We (Asger Graae and Carsten Bendix with a local Maasai guide nicknamed "Tall") climbed Lengai from after midnight December 7 2008. We took the NW route, which is not much of a route thse days. Theer has been some rain in the area lately, which has cut some narrow grooves in the ashes. They gave access to the looser material below the hard ash surface and this provided a better surface for climbing. Also the ash sides of the trenches served as highly useful railings. The climbing was strenuous but absolutely not impossible though rainy conditions probably would nase made it impassable. The climbing itself took less than 6 hours and we paused almost an hour - more than we actually needed - on the upper slope so that we would not hit the summit before sunrise.  We managed to reach the NW side of the ash cone around 6 in the morning. There were a disctinct hydro-sulphur smell at the top but even at the lower slopes also. Fumes were leaking out from several places around the remains of the original mountain top. There were fumes rising from the crater floor and a horrifying rumbling, but fortunately no explosions.


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