Why were you inspired to do this?
My friend Christian came up with the idea that I fly to Africa to do this. I actually knew very little about the Mountain and was just thinking it would be another unique challenge. I had once heard a radio DJ in Vancouver broadcast from the top and was amazed at how much he was struggling in the low altitude.
What were 3 things you did to make this happen?
Preparation: I trained for a few months to get in shape, lots of stair climbing and I needed to get plenty of shots. I flew into London then onto Nairobi, Kenya and took a bus to Arusha Tansania to meet our group.
Trip provider: We organised our 2 week trip through Roy’s Safaris which included 7 days hiking on the Machame Route (5 up 2 down) with 1 Guide, 1 Cook and 6 Porters. We also did a five day safari in the Serengeti.
Budget Cost: Approx $3k for entire two week trip including a 5 Day Safari and $2k for flights
How did you feel once you had accomplished this?
It was tough hiking but we were well looked after by our guide. We started to feel the altitude effects on our first night after a tough slog through mud. At about 12k ft we really felt the air get thin. “Poli Poli” –which means Slowly Slowly was the advice from every porter who passed us. It was important to conserve energy on the accent.
The Summit Push night was the most challenging as we climbed straight up for 6 hours from 16k ft to 21k in the middle of the night. It was very cold and physically a struggle. It was surreal in the night with a line of lights heading up the hill. I have never been through a more taxing physical or mental challenge as slogging up that mountain face in the middle of the night. I actually felt I had no choice but to go up. Stop and I would freeze and going down in the dark was not an option. So up it was… What seemed like forever all three of us reached the top in time to watch the sun came up and see the spectacular glacier that Kili is famous. We were on the top of Africa and I will never forget how good I felt to have made it.
As we descended we immediately felt better with each step down. The joy and buzz of having made it to the top was certainly one of my greatest experiences.
Additional notes and tips:
Dress warm, take ski poles and have Gaiters. Once you are done with the gear you can give it to the guides who will be very grateful. Ski poles can be rented by the guides and give them a longer-term income from your gift.