Here are a few short words by us all about our experience.
When we arrived in Moshi, Tanzania, it was really cloudy as it was the start of the Tanzanian wet season, and so it wasn’t until the third day of the climb we actually got to see the mountain at all!
It took 5 day hike to reach the summit, and 2 days for the descent. And it was prbably one of the hardest things I have done, both physically and mentally.
Headaches and nausea from the altitude sickness were a daily companion which had to be pushed aside as we walked across a wide range of environments from rainforests, to alpine deserts to the glacier capped summit. But it was an amazing experience that we will all remember, even if we didn’t have the hundreds of photos we took along the way!
I’ll always remember the final day of climbing, when we reached the top of the ‘Roof of Africa’, there were many times when we just wanted to stop and turn back – I even fell alseep at lunch because I didn’t want to be there!, but we pushed on and all 8 of us successfully reached the top.
Jonny ‘Jamba’ Stewart:
So how was the climb? It was hard work! it took 7 days of trekking in total – 5 1/2 days up, and 1 1/2 days down. You get out of breath tying your shoe laces up, and can only sleep for 3-4 hours a night due to the lack of oxygen at that altitude. During the nights the temperature got as low as -15 Degrees Celsius.We had 30+ porters for 8 of us, and while we struggled up the mountain, they ran past us with bags on their heads and on their fronts and backs. All 8 of us made it to the top, at 5895 metres, but 5 of us suffered from very bad altitude sickness, and struggled on the way back down. I literally had to be dragged down by a porter because I was unable to walk – I had a severe headache, my leg muscles wouldn’t hold my weight, my eyes weren’t working, I was dizzy, I kept collapsing and I felt nauseous. It was one of the most horrible things I’ve ever experienced, but definitely well worth it.
Once we got back to our hotel we had an afternoon of relaxation before we went to visit the children’s home. They’ve made great progress with improving the home since the last group of Spannerworkers (the company I work for) did the same climb to raise money for them in 2005. Instead of having 4 kids to a bed, they now each have their own beds. They’ve now got a big play area outside, and their education scheme has been formally acknowledged by the Tanzanian government so that kids at the home now leave with nationally recognised qualifications.
The climb was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve encountered – it was totally epic. Photos and words do not do it justice at all – you’ll just have to go and see for yourself! My best days were those prior to the summit day, which was frankly a bit of a nightmare and my memories of that day are rather dark to be honest because I was not feeling so great (major headaches=no sleep/lots of worry about whether my head was going to explode).
Anyway! My favourite memory was climbing the Barranco Wall – it was like something out of an Indiana Jones film – there was a real adventurous buzz in the air that day, equipment clanking and lots of shouting in the camp before we left. Brilliant. And scary.
In summary, I am totally chuffed that we all made it to the top in one piece, nobody got hurt or really ill, and we raised a shedload of money for a dedicated charity. Being able to visit the Amani Home and see how the money can help was really important to us, and I am even more pleased that we smashed our fundraising target. Mwake Mwake babake.