Monday 6 June 2011

Instead of Sitting at my Desk I'd Rather Be... Climbing Kilimanjaro.

Since watching the celebrities moan, whinge and ponce their way up Kilimanjaro it’s been a dream to follow in their footsteps (with notably less whinging and poncing!) and summit the highest free standing mountain in the World and in Africa. We had booked for this summer, but circumstances meant a change of plan, maybe for the best it will give us more time to train and improve our chances of standing on the Roof of Africa. 

I have watched every You Tube clip I can find, read as many accounts of the climb I can find on the internet and imagined what it would be like to climb from the sub-tropical foot hills to the arctic summit.

I have researched which route to take, the affects of altitude sickness and the importance of porter welfare. I have downloaded kit lists and studied articles discussing the best hiking boots, the best jackets and the best companies to travel with. (Exodus is our number 1 choice with the Rongai route!)

As I sit here at my desk, I type a raffle prize for a lucky person going to trek the mountain this year and I feel a longing to go. I would love to feel the humidity of the ‘jungle’ on day one, to see the barren moor land of the saddle, spend a night at Mawenzi Tarn. What would it be like on summit night at Kibo camp, knowing that with only a few hours sleep there’s 18 hours of hard walking, the first hours of which are in the dark by headlamp, or by the light of a full moon?

I imagine watching the sunrise over Africa from Gilman’s Point and the final few hours around the crater, surrounded by ever dwindling icecap on the Equator, to the true summit, Uhuru. Imagine seeing that famous sign on the summit, the feeling of joy and elation of making it, the view above the clouds and the porters singing the ‘Kilimanjaro’ song.

Of wearily heading back down, ‘skiing’ the scree slopes and looking forward to a cold Tusker beer or ice cold Coke on the descent and of returning to the hotel for the first shower in 6 days and a dip in the hotel pool.

So as I sit here at my desk, I wish I could be there on the slopes of Kilimanjaro and who knows, maybe one day I will…

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