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


  1. Well done to everyone. What a challenge..well met. I'm just glad that all are safe and well, or as well as can be expected after that! I'm very proud of my nephew, Stephen. I always knew you were a gutsy guy. I can almost see your Mum beaming with pride with that gorgeous big smile of hers.

  2. Kathleen just read yor latest update.You and all your companions for the last week are the real STARS, and im so glad you are all safe and well...hope the final part of desent is met with the welcome sight of flat land! warmth! and all the comforts we all take for granted here on this earth. May you all have the deserved rest before heading back on Sunday to all your family and friends whom Im sure are eagerly awaiting your return on Sunday, and as for all the people you did this for, must be immensely grateful for everything you have accomplished on their behalf. Here's to a fine group of human beings and their strength, courage, compassion and determination. Love to all Lorna Trainer & Family

  3. So relieved that you all made it back safe and sound. No matter if all the way to top or not I'm sure it will have been a totally unforgettable experience. Can't wait to see your faces on Sunday at Glasgow airport. love Anne and Lauren xxxx

  4. Wow, Graeme, son, what can we say, hope you gave that porter a big tip. We know now you're safe and well. Go easy on the cider!

    See you Sunday.

    Maw n' Paw x

  5. hey daddy (keith) it has been a great day and have got lots of presents to show you when i next see you! i still have not packed oh well me and mum are just going up stairs to do it now! have been missing you and thank you for my card it was very funny. hope your a feeing okay now. there is some cake for you if handsom does not eat all of it for you! love you lots gillian and the rest of the family. xxxxxx

  6. Susan Woods & the gang xxx26 March 2010 at 21:35

    WHAT an achievment!!!you must all be so proud of yourselves,such a massive amount of monies made for a so so well deserved cause,and that is what it's all about.You must feel you have challenged something so much for yourselves and all the others that have followed you throughout your travels.We have been with you all the way and honour the stamina and guts you have all put into this trek.WELL DONE TO YOU ALL!!!!!!

  7. To Kathleen & John

    Many Congratulations & Well Done to everyone. All the family very proud. The great memories will last longer than all the pain you endured. Right John so you've conquered the China Wall and now this so what else is on your Bucket List! We think your next adventure should be bungee jumping!! Hope everyone enjoys their night of luxury at the hotel. See you on Sunday.

    Love Ian, Maris & Girls xx

  8. To Kathleen & John

    Many Congratulations and Well Done to you all. The great memories will soon take over all the aches and pains you have. So what's next year's adventure - bungee jumping perhaps!!!! See you Sunday.

    Love Ian, Maris & Girls xxx