Climbing Kilimanjaro – Whats it like


Climbing Kilimanjaro – Whats it really like?

Climbing Kilimanjaro was something that Chris Moyles did it, so how hard can it really be?

Maybe it was the fact that well loved former radio personality was  assending Africa’s highest peak for Comic Relief that spurred him on to complete the challenge or maybe its that most of the event was televised, whatever the reason Climbing Kilimanjaro is one that Mr Moyles can now cross of the bucket list!

To Answer the question that we can asked so ofter, we asked our customers the question and find out the truth behind Climbing Kilimanjaro.

Climbing Kilimanjaro is one of those tasks that is on everyone’s “to do” list, its a once in a life times experience and can be completed by anybody !

 

John & Sarah Eves
Climb date: 02.04.2013
Route: Lemosho route

 

Both me and my wife have just retired at the grand age of 55 and as a little treat we decided to plan a trip to Africa and attempting climbing Kilimanjaro, something we have talked about for years, but thanks to the kids (sorry Oscar and Gemma) it never happened.

I would not class myself or the wife as particularly fit, however we both try and stay healthy with one a week trips to the swimming pool and then long walks at the weekend however we thought we were up to the challenge. The first thing we had to decide was which route to take up the mountain, we read many reviews about which path to take and after much deliberation and a few drinks we decided on the Lemosho route.

Climbing Kilimanjaro map

Now we both knew that although we were practically pensioners we were definitely up for the challenge, however we still planned for task of Climbing Kilimanjaro carefully.

After doing much research the main issues faced by fellow climbers was altitude sickness, which is pretty much the  consequence of climbing too high, too quickly. The symptoms are not that pleasant and basically consist of  headaches, extreme vomiting and problems with your digestive system. One of the reviews advised to walk very slowly, I think they described it “as slowly as a arthritic 90 year old walking backwards”, as you can imagine this walking pace was no problems for me and my wife! So after spending hours of researching Climbing Kilimanjaro we were ready, now it was a case of getting the correct insurances, some decent walking boots, which trust me it essential and we were prepared for the biggest challenge of our lives, the challenge of Climbing Kilimanjaro.

So the day of the TRIP came, and within 8 hours we touched down in Africa ready for our adventure and Climbing Kilimanjaro.

The first part of the adventure was in the form of a long drive from Moshi to Londorossi Gate, although the drive was long the scenery was beautiful and the time just flew by. As our car pulled up at Londorossi gate we were told a lot more about what was awaiting us and met our lovely guides. After a good nights rest and some great home cooked africian food we were ready for the first trek.  The first Kilimanjaro trek took us two days, in which we crossed the rainforest to Shira Ridge.

As you can from the photo the trek is a relatively flat hike One added bonus that we found was there was hardly anybody around, apparently other routes have a traffic making everything seemed rushed. As I say the route was not particularly challenging and as you tour across the thick rainforest belt, heath and moorland you really loose track of time or the fact you have been walking for so long! One of the other hobbies we started after retirement was gardening, so it was fantastic to see such amazing vegetation, ferns and Erica’s along the way. Although we found the initial part of the African Adventure the small trail did sometimes have very steep passages and we had not even started climbing Kilimanjaro yet! . Just as we were having a nice relaxed hike, taking in the scenery we joined the Machame route in which we encountered more people, to be honest there were not to many maybe 30, but it didnt spoil any part of the trek and we actually got talking to a really nice couple who we still stay in contact with!  After a good 6 hours we reached the Shira campsite at 11500ft/3700m for overnight camp, food, drink and a general rest!

 

Day 4 – And After a good breakfast we continued hike east across the Shira Plateau past the Shira Cathedral. The Shira Cathedral absolutes dominates the western skyline and looks like something out of Indiana Jones. The Cathedral was revealed following the collapse of the now dormant northern Shira Caldera. The views of the plateau are simply spectacular. After another long hike we spend a long night overnight at Shira Two camp

 

Day 5 – Starting the day with a good meal is so important and the guides were excellent cooks! We started to head eastwards and continued ascending through the dry landscape, which by this point had lost its beauty for me! I have to admit this part of the trek, for me, was a little tedious. After 7 hours of walking we eventually reached the Barranco campsite. We had a pleasent night at the camp and spent it under the starts, its very easy to forget we were at 13000ft! I think at this point it sunk in that we were actually climbing kilimanjaro.

 

Day 6 – Ok so things are now getting serious, and the path climbed steeply out of the Barranco Valley, so far this was the most testing part of the climb. At this part my wife said she felt a little sick, however it soon passed and before we knew it we were crossing the Karanga Valley. That night we spent it at Barafu campsite, we had now climbed over 15500ft, I have to admit I felt pretty proud that me, a grandad had achieved this, my old legs were actually Climbing Kilimanjaro!

 

Climbing Kilimanjaro

 

Day 7 – I am not good with early starts so being awoken at the crack of dawn did not sit particularly well with me! Today was the day which we had been waiting for, the trek to the crater rim at Stella Point, hopefully just  in time for sunrise! Although for a couple of grandparents I thought we were fit, this part of the trek was really hard, however I am alive to tell the tale!  Although we were the last ones to arrive we were just in time to see the sun as she rose slowly, covering the horizon with a deep pink and golden-orange ribbon, I have to say I have seen may sunsets in my life, however this was on a different league, and was absolute stunning!

After a short, but well deserved and appreciated rest we began a lovely 45-minute trek to Uhuru Peak, (5895 metres) . Although I was not at this point affected by altitude sickness at this point I was not feeling fabulous, The air was thin and I did find myself having to stop often to rest and catch my breath.  There was one point when my wife turned to me and said   “I don’t think I can make it all the way sweetheart!” I tried to reassure her, however at this point even I was feeling it!

After a few more moments we were there, standing on top of the world,  standing on top of Uhuru Peak, We took some time to admire this amazing sight, all of a sudden all the tiredness left me, and as the sun warmed my old aching bones and tired muscles I felt alive! Now I could cross off Climbing Kilimanjaro from our little list.

We took some obligatory photos to prove to the grand kids we actually did it and then started the downhill stroll past Stella’s Point. After two and a half hours we found ourselves back in my tent and within a matter of seconds I was asleep!

 

Day 8 – We started to Descend through the forest to the park gate at Mweka Wildlife College which took around 3-4 hours where we were met and transferred back to Mountain Inn for dinner and overnight stay, in a BED!

24 Hours later I was back at home having a cup of tea talking about our amazing adventure, it kind of seemed like a dream, however my feet were killing me so I knew it had happened. How can I sum it up in words, climbing Kilimanjaro was a once time experience that humbled me and made me realise how stunningly beautiful our planet is.