Our February expedition to climb Kilimanjaro was once again a great success getting 10 out of the twelve on the summit
Our party of twelve travelled to Nairobi in Kenya on an overnight flight then travelled by bus from Nairobi to Moshi in Tanzania via Arusha taking in the sites of Africa, a first for most party members.
Whilst enjoying a pleasant 2 night stay in a lovely hotel in Moshi, where we made good use of the swimming pool, we collected any necessary equipment we needed to hire, were introduced to our climbing guide Dickson and some of his staff and were briefed about the climbing route “Machame route”.
Next morning we loaded up the bus after a good breakfast and travelled to the starting point at the Machame gate, a 45 minute journey from Moshi. It took our guide Dickson and four assistant guides Isaiah, Dennis, William and Remi approximately 2 hours to choose and load 36 porters, 2 waiters/kitchen boys, 2 cooks and a toilet man, making the total of our team 46.
The walk up to the first camp was fairly easy and everybody reached it without problems, slightly jaded due to travelling and the change of altitude but otherwise ok. At each camp we had five two man tents and two single tents, two toilet tents, a dinning tent with tables and twelve chairs
The guides and porters had some tents and also slept in the kitchen tent.
Every day we made our way higher up the mountain over a period of five days until we reached the base camp area, from where we are to make our summit attempt. Unfortunately a persistent headache forced a party member down accompanied by her father, as the others, some feeling worst for wear moved on up to the base camp and prepared themselves for the very long slog up the mountain to the summit at mid night and then back down to base camp, a time estimated at twelve hours.
Our time so far on the mountain offered no views due to cloud cover. The occasional glimpse of the snow covered peak could be caught through the gaps in the clouds, rain and snow at night had been the norm, but this morning it was clear and with a big bright moon lighting our way, we were in luck. The up hill climb seemed forever and at 6.15 we reached Stella Point, the first summit marker post with great relief, some others in other groups collapsed and stopped hear but I led on with all our group following up to Uhuru Peak 5895m, it was now 7.40am -2° and we had done it.
The view was magnificent, and as day broke and the large African sun came up we treated to a vista of pristine towers of ice that formed the glazier and the snowy white mountain slopes glistening in the early morning sun, we were so lucky.
Some of the group were raising money for a charity and five of them were soon dressed in animal themed onesies posing on the summit for photographs.
It was 8.15am when we started down the descent route, carefully at first down the snowy ramp from Stella Point and then, with a little more ease, down the loose scree paths that led back a different way to our base camp. The group now quite ragged and split, with some feeling very sick and needing a help down, some plain exhausted, and some of us fine, were greeted with hot tea at the base camp site then straight to bed for a couple of hours sleep before we continued our journey down the mountain. Our last night on the mountain was spent at a forest camp at 3000m high and by morning everybody had recovered or felt slightly better as we were given a farewell song and dance by the porters and guides then trekked the final 3 hours down to the park exit gate where our transport and Zoe and Robert were waiting. Now off to the beach.