So, did we make it?

Trip Start Sep 12, 2008
Trip End Sep 29, 2008

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Right so we are now back in Moshi after our attempt on Kilimanjaro, all 5,985m of it!!

So as you know we had a rest in Moshi before setting off for the big one.

To be honest I'm not sure there is allot to be said about the whole thing, i will see what i can make of it though.

This time we were to sleep in tents as we were tackling the Machame route up the mountain. This route is said to be one of the most technical as well as giving the best chance of summitting. These facts also mean that it is one of the busiest. No kidding when we turned up at the gate where the trek was to start there must of been 150-200 tourists as well as 3-400 African porters, guides and chefs etc!!!! Not really what we had expected.

Anyway we crowded at the gates having to listen to loads of people trying to sell Kilimanjaro hats, maps, t shirts and much more. I cannot believe how unorganized it all was, well i spose i can, T.I.A.

So we paid and then set off on the trek, we had 10 people to help us attempt the mountain this time. I think we only got to know 4 of them. The others were either well ahead of us, well behind, or cooking. A safe bet was though that they were all smoking weed whilst doing or being what or where they were.

So we hiked up to our first tent site, met a few people on the way. Ate some popcorn on arrival, went for a walk and then ate some dinner before going to bed. That is pretty much how all the days went throughout the trip. We were waited on all the time by our chef, guide and waiter, yes we had to take a waiter with us. At one point we had a hastily arranged lunch on a very cold spot. the guide came into our tent to see how we were and noticed that the waiter had forgotten the table cloth. He then shouted at him until he got it sorted. Me and Andy couldn't believe it!!

The schedule for the trip was to spend one night at 3,000m, one at 3,900m. The head up to 4,600m for lunch and to help acclimatise before dropping down to 3,900m again to sleep. Finally the last day we had to walk up to 4,700m before having some lunch and then heading up to the summit at 12pm.
This is pretty much what happened. There were no animals on the trek, a few birds etc but nothing else of note. the days mainly started of clear before clouding over throughout the day. as night fell things cleared up again and we got some nice views of the mountain. to be honest though its not the most impressive mountain in the world. being an old weathered volcano it just more of a lump. Doesn't really compare with the peaks in Nepal. Anyway the views we got were mainly of the summit ridges as well as the shrinking glaciers on and around the top. the nights were very cold, both nights at 3,900m the inside of the tent froze. It was just above freezing in the tent so must of been between -2 and -5C outside.

On the Forth day as we headed to our final camp i suddenly got really quite ill. I started feeling really sick and had lost all my energy. If I'm honest i started to panic for a little while as i thought that maybe the altitude had caught up with me. Anyway turns out it was just that i had taken a malaria tablet without any food!!! After i had eaten something i was fighting fit again.

So we get to3pm on the 24th September. We have just arrived in camp after quite a hard days trek. the day was up and down. i think we finally finished the day 800m higher than we started it but we probably climbed about 1,200m. The day began with a climb up a 2-300m cliff!!

So we got to the camp at 3pm,ate some popcorn before going to bed, the aim was to get an hours sleep before lunch and then a couple of hours after lunch. This didn't happen as i couldn't sleep at this altitude much so just arranged me stuff ready for the off at 12pm that evening. I think i managed about 2hours sleep. We had our last meal of pasta and fish sauce (yum yum) and i guide gave us the last talking before he headed off. He told us not to ask him how long we had left at any point in the trek as it can be very demoralizing. So that was that. Our waiter woke us up at 11pm with a flask of coffee and biscuits. We looked out the tent and could already see people well up the mountain heading for the summit. So we ate and drank before getting dressed. It was really cold. I had 2 long sleeved shirts on, 1 shorts sleeved,a jumper and windproof layer on top half. 3 trousers on the bottoms well as hat , 2pairs of gloves, balaclava and buff!! And throughout the whole walk i never really got warm!!

So off we went, i cant really remember much about the hike. Apart from the fact that is was very monotonous. It started up some rocks for about 30minutes before going into a semi steep zig zag which seemed to go on for ever.I didn't want to stop much as every time i did i began to get really cold. So as a result we slowly overtook loads of people on the way up.At one point our guide said that he thought we would be a little early for sunrise. Stupidly i thought this meant we were close.We were still two hours away. Now i know why he said don't ask. We carried on up and and then after what seemed like a life time he said well guys welcome to Stella point!! I couldn't believe it, this was the last of the landmarks on the way to the summit and i know that most of the mountain was climbed. I really was in shock because loads of people Had told us how hard the last hour was up to Stella. They had said that the material under foot was really loose and meant that we would be slipping down all the time. it just didn't happen. So at Stella our guides wanted to have a rest but i was too cold and far to keen to get to the summit. So off we went, it almost seemed like we were running there but in reality i think it was quite a slow walk. On the way i realized that by now we had overtaken everyone. In fact i was to discover on the summit that we had done the normal 6-6.5hr trek in 4.5hrs!! We arrived the first people to stand on the roof of Africa that day. Unfortunately it was dark when we arrived so we didn't see any glaciers etc but it didn't matter. we took the photos and headed down, very happy indeed.

We raced down as fast as we could. I think we actually arrived back into camp at the time we were meant to make the summit!!!!

The rest of the day was a blur, we decided not to stay on the mountain another night. This meant we had to walk out. in total we walked from 4700m up to 5895m then back to 4700m. after breakfast we then walked from 4700m to 1700m where we caught the bus back to Moshi. When we arrived back we were spent.

Anyway it has now sunken in a little what we had achieved. Its been a really good couple of weeks here but I'm ready to come home. Just kind of kicking our heels for the ;last couple of days. Haven't really had time to do anything like safari so have just chilled in Moshi. Yesterday we had a fun day buying presents!! We got dragged around every shop by a procession of touts!

Went to a club last night and met a few people who we saw on the trek, they described it as the hardest thing they have done. To be honest i didnt really find it that hard. I Think the time we spent on Mt Meru really helped. It took allot mentally and physically to get to the top but I hope life has bigger challenges to offer me than this.

Right so that is pretty much it, im now sat on he slowest internet i have ever used in my life trying to get this finished. Think we are off out later with our guide for a beer or two before a 9 hr bus ride tomorrow morning to dar. Like i said its been a great few weeks but im really looking forward to getting back home.

See you very soon.

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