Kilimanjaro Climb Part 1

Posted by martin.parnell |

Next Quest:

TransRockies Quest 888 (Quest #8)

  • 5 months (May to September 2013)

  • 9 trail running, mountain biking, road running and road biking events

  • Completing over 888 race kilometres

On the morning of Wednesday March 6th having breakfast at the Kibosho Lodge, only 200m from the Umbwe gate, the start point of our climb, was very peaceful. It certainly hadn't been that way the last 24 hours. Lau, Kidori and I had left Arusha at noon the previous day. I had given Sue a big huge and told her not to worry. The drive to Moshi was another bone cruncher. Along the way we picked up porters Frank and Lala and some trekking gear, gas stove, pots and pans and hiking poles. In Moshi, Lau went into a climbing shop and came out with a critical piece of gear: an oxygen bottle.

Time was ticking and we had to get to the Machame Gate by 4.30pm. We got there at 4.40pm and Lau said not to worry we're on Tanzanian time. Lau needed to purchase a permit for the climb and he headed into the office to talk to the Warden. He came out 15 minutes later looking very worried. He said "They told me the one day permits have been banned, I don't think we can go up. I'll see what I can do". He then turned around and headed back into the office. The next 30 minutes were hell. Was this the end of the Quest? What the heck was I going to do now?

Lau came out of the office smiling. The Warden had contacted the #1 Warden of the park and had explained about the Quest and the raising of funds for the children's charity Right To Play. After more phone calls and discussion he decided to give us special dispensation for our attempt. Also, the #1 Warden is a relative of Lau's which probably didn't do any harm. We all piled back into the van relieved that the Quest was still on.

We reached the Kibosho Lodge at 7.00pm just in time for supper. Over a meal of BBQ fish and rice we chatted about the route. A couple of days before Lau had dropped a bit of a bomb shell on me. I thought we were taking the Marangu Route also known as the "Coca-Cola" route, it is the oldest and most establish route on the mountain. Lau said that I was mistaken (must have missed that memo) and we were in fact taking the Umbwe Route. It really didn't bother me as I thought each route would be very much like the other. However I found a guide book on a table at the lodge and I checked out what it said about the route: "This short, steep route, possibly the most scenic of the lot, is not recommended as an ascent route as it is very steep in parts and involves one short stretch of genuine rock climbing". Excellent.

So here I am at 8.00am on Wednesday March 6th, sitting with Lau and Kidori, having my last breakfast before the climb. The permits bought and the route selected. By 9.00am we were at the hut, next to the starting gate, signing climbing forms and waivers. At 9.14 and 50 seconds we started the count down. 3…2…1 and we were off like a heard of turtles. Kilimanjaro here we come.

Quote of the Day

"Climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow, 'til you find your dream"

Julie Andrews, Sound of Music

Martin and Lau at the start of the Umbwe Route at 9.15am Wednesday March 6th. Kidori took the photo.

Kilimanjaro Climb Part I

comments powered by Disqus