Wednesday 31 March 2010

A Note from Stephen

Hello it's Stephen Roberts here.

Having not had a chance or access to the blog due to technical reasons during the trek, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everybody that supported me financially with sponsorship and also physically (the Trekkers and support staff). It was an unforgettable experience with an amazing group of people for a terrific cause. My Wife Nicola is also deserving of a special mention as it was a difficult time for her and I'm sure all other partners of loved ones while we were often out of communication.

I'd like to dedicate my adventure to the memory of my Mum Frances, from whom my determination comes and without which I would not have made the summit (there was also a lot of luck involved !).

Stephen Roberts.

Saturday 27 March 2010

The Final Day

should I have a shave now???
John writes:

Following summitting yesterday we wake to the strange sights of us looking like we have all had plastic surgery! Weather beaten, sunburned there are also a few with painful snowblindness. The porters tell us that this has been the hardest weather on the mountain for years. We club gear together to leave them, gloves, sleeping bags, poles, gators are piled up & then tips are collected & we experience the final singing & dancing before they are given out to the cries of RESPECT! MAXIMUM!

We head off for the last trek to the gate & what was billed as 3 hrs turns easily to more than 5! Knees are done in. Beer & good food at the bottom though along with a monsoon type shower but we don't care.

Every day of this trip has been different & great. Best bit was seeing my wife coming back from the Uhuru Peak as I was slowly making the last 1km there. We were separated during the night & the doc got me confused with another guy & told her I was sent down.

To reach the peak was great & better because I did it with Steve Hyde, the man I talked into coming with us for his 50th.

Had a phenominal experience but I am never doing this again & camping will be in hotels from now on!

Beer time!

John McCallum

John has also sent over some photos of the last few days, you can view them here.

Friday 26 March 2010

The Trek - Day 6

Kathleen writes:

These past 2 days have been very gruelling. We left for the summit at midnight after 3 hrs sleep following a 10 hr trekking day. The weather on the ascent was particularly inclement and unexpected. Driving winds & snow compounded the freezing temperatures & several attempting summity including porters were fighting off frostbite with handwarmers. As we reached heights of 5000m the guides came into their own. The air was so thin that breathing was so difficult. Some lay down in the snow questioning if they could go on, others had no choice as eyes and legs went & without asking they were carried off to a lower & safe altitude by porters. I was walking towards the peak with Graeme when a guide ran up and grabbed him having seen the signs of Acute Mountain Sickness, he then walked the rest of the way to the peak & down with him.

The top of Kilimanjaro was beautiful, we could see Lake Victoria, Mount Meru and the plains & lush green of Tanzania. The descent was however another painful matter. Due to the usual snowfall over the past month it was very slow and difficult without crampons. Some of the guys were rushed down due to altitude or in my case I made it halfway back & then a kind porter helped with support & carrying the daypack back to camp. We got back & after soup had another 2hr trek to a new lower camp for dinner which was bittersweet.

For those who didn't summit there was disappointment and this included some of the fittest people I have ever met. It's no wonder they never televised the Comic Relief descent, mind you we have seen several helipads along this route. Heading back to Moshi this morning & we will all share in celebrating these past days & new friendships over a few beers tonight. Kathleen

Thursday 25 March 2010

The Trek - Day 5

Chris writes:

Completed summit climb successfully. It was the hardest thing I have ever done and have no plans to repeat! We started the climb in a snow blizzard and 12 of our party were unsuccessful, including the trek leader. Including the summit climb we have just finished a 36 hour day with 3 hour break!

Wednesday 24 March 2010

The Trek - Day 4

Chris writes:

Started at 5.30 this morning, reached top of baranco wall at 9.30. You can now add nose bleeds to the list of altitude symptoms. Having a ball! Wish everyone was here (instead of me!). This seemed like such a good idea a year ago. Everyone nervous today as we start summit climb tonight at midnight!

Kathleen writes:

Have reached Karanga Hut for lunch today having conquered the Baranco Wall at first light, not for the faint hearted or those scared of heights. Couple of the guys struggling with fatigue following another difficult night, the altitude has affected us all & at different times. The weather has been very wet and the landscape barren so we have past the time playing games to keep each other going. Heading for karanga and high camp for a sleep ahead of summit tonight.

Tuesday 23 March 2010

The Trek - Day 3

Update from Chris:

Everyone has now been ill at some point ranging from dizzy spells to sickness and/or headaches. Torrential rain yesterday but cleared up today, scenery and views unbelieveable, when the mist lifts!

David Ramsay having a bad day today, he swears he heard a dog barking, we suspect hallucinations as we are at 4600 metres!

We are camping overnight at baranco wall, arrived here with mist and when mist lifted we are now faced with 350m sheer wall which is tomorrow's climb! After baranco wall tomorrow we rest for a couple of hours before the summit attempt at midnight.


The guys are having some technical difficulties at the moment (mainly a lack of mobile phone signal!), stay tuned for more updates once they are back in better coverage areas. In the meantime remember you can track their progress through this link. Click the "Satellite" button on the right of the map to see a good indication of how close they are to the summit.