Kilimanjaro Climb Part III

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

Mount Kilimanjaro, 4.00am Thursday March 7th, temperature -15C, elevation 18,500 feet.

As the minutes and hours ticked by I was getting colder and more exhausted. My hands and fingers were freezing and I was starting to shiver. Seven hours after leaving Ashley and Andrew at Arrow Glacier Camp we arrived at Crater Camp. Lau looked at me and said "you're not going to the summit". My lips had turned blue and I was shaking like a leaf. Lau visited a number of tents and found one with a guide and six porters. Lenard had his own guiding team and they would work for any trekking company that would hire them. When Lau told him what I was trying to do and why they gave me a cup of hot chocolate. Then one of the porters cooked up some chicken and vegetable soup and a third porter suggested I turn my back to the stove to warm up. Soon I was feeling toasty inside and outside my body. After I finished a black, sugary cup of coffee I asked Lau if I could attempt the summit. He said yes. Lenard and his porters were my "Kilimanjaro Angels" and without them I would never had had a chance to reach the top.

At 5.15am we left the friendly confines of the porter's tent and started the trek to the top. We used well trodden footprints in the ice and snow to guide our way up the mountain. I was pretty well done. I had used just about my last reserves of energy and my breathing was a fast pant. Every so often Kidori gave me a push to keep me going. As we passed the 19,000 feet mark the sun came up. It was an amazing blood red and reflected off the huge glacier.

Lau pointed out the silhouette of the sign 300m ahead and at 6.15am, after 21 hours of trekking, we reached Uhuru peak, 19,341 feet, the highest point on Kilimanjaro and Africa. I had brought up a number of items. The first was the huge Right To Play banner, next was "Lammy the Lamb", Right To Play's #1 supporter and finally a commemorative card for Lindsay Leigh Kimmett. Lindsay had climbed Kilimanjaro and the mountain meant a lot to her. After the requisite number of photos at the top it was time to head down. We would take the Mweka route.

My stomach had been playing up and we hadn't gone far before it exploded. I was walking at a snails pass and my only thought was "get me off this mountain". We reached Barafu Hut and Lau found my "Kilimanjaro Angels", Lenard and his porters. He gave me Imodium and Cipro, an antibiotic, and would not take any money for them. I took the Cipro. Then he gave me a plate of soup and I asked if I could have a power nap in the tent. One of the porters found a foam mat and I laid down on it. They put a puffy climbing jacket under my head and Lau covered me in a Maasai blanket. I was out like a light. 30 minutes later I was up and feeling way better. We said goodbye to Lenard and the porters and we were on our way. The next two hours we marched to Millennium Camp and met up with our other porters Frank and Lala. This route was pretty straight forward and we made good time. The sleep and Cipro kicked butt. Literally.

We started the final push from Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate at 6.15pm. Thunder and lightning followed us all the way down and at 10.45pm we reached our destination. Kilimanjaro Quest 95.2 was done. We had completed the trip in 37 hours 50 minutes 30 seconds. Benjamin, our driver was there to greet us and before we knew it we were back in Arusha. Sue was waiting for me at Lau and Leesha's Guest House. She asked how it went and for the next two hours I told her about my excellent Kilimanjaro adventure.

If you would like to help us reach our $25,000 goal for Right To Play please go to www.marathonquest250.com and hit the big red "Donate Now" button.

Much appreciated.

Quote of the Day

"No road is too long, no honours too distant, advance slowly and without loosing heart for victory belongs to the most persistant"

Sir Winston Churchill

Sunrise over Kilimanjaro at 6.15am Thursday March 7th 2013.

Kilimanjaro Sunrise

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