Wandering Up A Mountain

So I think I’ve mentioned my Kilimanjaro trip a few times since I started this blog, but have only just gotten around to writing the actual post! I went to Tanzania in September 2010 with my sister on an Exodus trip. We chose to the do the Rongi Route as we had researched and been told that this was the best route to do. I did quite a lot of preparation for the trip as I wanted to be in the best shape I could be in. I got a personal trainer for 10 weeks and worked really hard increasing my overall fitness. I also did lots of long walks to make sure I was ready to be on my feet for hours. However I don’t think you can ever be truly prepared for this trip until you’ve done it. So we started off and got to the hotel. Kilimanjaro water anyone? Kilimanjaro in the pool. An amazing view of Kilimanjaro from the hotel roof. We were quite scared by this point! We only had one night in the hotel before starting the climb. This was the group after that first night waiting at the porter station to start. I ended up not taking that many photos on this trip as it was so much effort to take the back pack off and get the camera out. Proper name of the route. One of many rest stops. My sister not feeling too great. Everyone felt ill at some point on the trip. Altitude sickness is something you cannot prepare for at all. It was just luck when you got and how it affected you! Me at a happy point with the mountain in the distance. We are over half way through the trip and about 2/3 of the way up! After this photo thinks went down hill for me. we had to cross the flat area behind and get to the final camp the next day. Unfortunately that was when the altitude sickness hit me. I struggled all through the next day. We had a bout 6 hours of rest before getting up at midnight to reach the summit in time for sun rise. I did not make it. I feel behind the group fairly early on in the summit climb and struggled. I had a guide with me the whole way but I got worse with every step. He took my bag off me before I even started walking (they knew I was worse than I thought). I was ill climbing up. I could hold anything down, not even water. I reached the point where I couldn’t put one foot in front of the other without sliding down the scree. I keep asking the guide to make the sun come up as I was so cold. Everything in my body was telling me to lie down and go to sleep. Thankfully the guide wouldn’t let me. In the end I couldn’t take another step and the guide sat me down and told me we had to start down. I still get tearful thinking about it. I had trained so hard and begged to be let to carry on, but he knew I was ill and if I carried on I would have been going down on the bike stretcher. This was me after skiing down the scree arm in arm with the guide. Not one of best photos, but I am trying to smile. This was my personal guide 🙂 Altitude sickness is not a joke and nothing can prepare you for how it feels. Looking back I was so happy the guide made me go down, as it was instant relief! I later learned that I was on the severe end of the sickness scale, the only other thing that I had doing for me was that I could still just about stand up! This was us a couple of nights later at the hotel bar! Everyone in my group made it up (apart from me). I struggled that night and ended up telling one guy to stop trying to make feel better as it was only making me feel worse. We then went on a day safari. I was really glad we didn’t do longer as by the afternoon I was the only one still awake in the van! Monkeys! Giraffes! And no trip to Kilimanjaro can be complete without some Kilimanjaro beer! I would like to have another go at this, but going up a different (longer) route with more time to acclimatise. I’m making a list of people who want to join me a few years 🙂

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