Kilimanjaro notes; under a month to go!

The final countdown

As I write, it’s under a month until I start my ascent up Mount Kilimanjaro. Lots of thoughts and emotions are running around me at present. Mostly, they are of excitement and wanting to get to base camp. A year of planning, training and hoping all comes down to 23rd September when the climb starts.

I was asked recently what my hopes are for the climb. It was a great question and left me stumped. Having had time to think about it, I really hope that I can enjoy this amazing experience and hope the summit is not covered in cloud when we get to the top. That said, there’s no point having a worry over something that I have no control over. If cloud descends – what can I do?

Kilimanjaro is 5.9km high or 19,000 feet (there or thereabouts), and so altitude sickness is a big concern. Many people who attempt the climb suffer from ailments ranging from headaches to extreme sickness. With this firmly at the front of our minds, our strategy for climbing will be slow and steady to avoid these ailments. To some who have climbed, these illnesses have been so severe they’ve been forced back down, so with luck (and lots of it), I’ll be aiming to be safe.

My trip starts on 21st September, and the climbing starts on day 3. Myself and my group will be following the Machame Route which approaches Kilimanjaro from the south, through dense tropical rainforest all the way up to the snow-capped summit at 5,895m. We will attempt to make the summit on 28th September 2017. This will involve leaving our base camp at midnight so that we can reach the top at sunrise for a spectacular view – here you can see the meticulous planning.

Talking of planning, being based in eastern Africa, you’d have thought packing would be easy and light. We start at base camp in heat and travel through dense rain forest, yet when we ascend it could reach as low at -20c and then there’s the snow-capped peak!

We will be camping on the mountain as we ascend. We will be taking not only a sleeping bag but also an inner thermal sleeping bag to help us keep warm at -20c. My travelling companions and the organising guide have been great in directing me on the full range of kit to pack and to have easily accessible. These includes a full range of clothing from shorts and t-shirts to thermal base layers, balaclavas and, obviously, a good pair of walking boots! Altitude sickness tablets too.

All in all, what is certain is the kit I need to take will not fit in the overhead compartment of the plane we’ll be travelling on!

Why am I doing this?

I am raising money for the British Red Cross.  The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, across the globe. A voluntary network at the front line responding to those affected by conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies. I chose this charity, as my daughter, who is 8 years old won a British Red Cross dance competition with her dance troupe. Along the way I got to see exactly what the British Red Cross does and this inspired me to do this challenge and raise money for the British Red Cross.

Your support is greatly appreciated as the money goes directly to a very worthy cause. I wouldn’t be undertaking this climb without the generous help of individuals and organisations including, Oliver Myles Marketing and Oliver Myles Events (Oliver Myles Group). You can still donate here: