Glenn Slater

 

On February 3rd 2002 I left the UK to attempt a climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro. I did this as part of a group to raise money in aid of The Anthony Nolan Trust. Below is an itinerary of the trek.

Photographs from the trek can be found here

Day 1

Flew out from Manchester Airport to Amsterdam and then on to Kilimanjaro International Airport. Arrived 21.45 local time. ( 3 hours ahead of GMT ). Minibus transfer to Marangu Hotel, Moshi.

 Day 2

Awoken at 06.00 by the most amazing dawn chorus. Spent the day visiting 2 schools and an education project supported by Guerba, our tour operator. Back at the hotel, a kit inspection took place to ensure we had the correct equipment to start tomorrow's trek. Early night.

Day 3

Awoke 06.00. Went outside to photograph Mawenzi at sunrise - stunning. At 09.00 we all went outside to watch preparations for the trek. For the group of 25 of us we had 9 guides, a porter for each of us (carrying all clothing and equipment that wasn't needed during that day ), and 17 other porters carrying food, water and cooking utensils.

We left the hotel at 10.15 and were taken by vehicle to the Marangu Gate. We checked into the park and commenced walking at 11.30. We walked through the dense vegetation of the rainforest - pleasant walking albeit at a slow pace - VERY IMPORTANT. ('POLE POLE' - meaning slowly in Swahili, is something you hear from all the guides).

We continued on to Mandara Hut ( 2,700mt ) our base for the night. Before our evening meal we went for an optional walk around the Maundi Crater - excellent view of Mawenzi and the saddle, hazy views over Kenya and towards Mount Meru.

By 20.00 VERY dark outside, no moon but thousands of stars. Could hear monkeys in the rainforest moving around and calling to each other.

 Day 4

Breakfast at 07.00, walking by 08.00. Just after leaving Mandara the vegetation changed from rainforest to heather and other low shrubs. Steady walking until arrival at Horombo Hut ( 3,720mt ) at 15.00. Air is noticeably thinner now. Breathing exercises were keeping the headaches away so far and no other effects of the altitude, at the moment. Sky clear again - good views of Mawenzi at sunset and stars after dark. Bed 20.00 - last full night of sleep before the assault on the summit!

Day 5

THE START OF THE BIG DAY.

After breakfast 3 of us opted to take the high route past Zebra Rocks towards the base of Mawenzi. We felt that although this route involved a steeper climb, we reached a higher altitude quicker, and spent longer at this altitude whilst walking along the saddle to Kibo Hut.( 2 out of the 3 of us were later successful in reaching Uhuru! ). Landscape changed to alpine desert, very few plants, only mosses and lichens.

Excellent views of Kibo and as we neared Kibo Hut we were able to see the challenge of tonight - the zig-zag path up to Gilman's Point. Arrived Kibo Hut (4,703mt ) 16.00, ate dinner and attempted to get some sleep before tonight's walk.

We were awoken at 23.30 with hot tea and biscuits. Dressed in every conceivable layer of clothing. - Thermal underwear, shirt, pullover, fleece, trousers, two pairs of gloves and a ski suit ! Commenced the climb at midnight. In small groups we walked and walked and walked and walked............................. 

Day 6

Watched the sunrise over Mawenzi at 06.30 - it IS the greatest sunrise on earth. Still not at the top - Gilman's Point seemed to be getting further away. Eventually arrived at Gilman's (5,685mt) at 07.40 - exhausted but exhilarated. Still no effects of altitude so kept going up to Uhuru. Arrived at the highest point in Africa ( 5,896mt ) Uhuru Peak, at 08.55 and was promptly sick !!!!!!!!!!!!! The altitude had finally hit me.

Spectacular views over the icefields, clear blue skies and clouds way below us. Temperature VERY cold, removed outer gloves and condensation on glove liners froze instantly. Didn't stay too long - headed back to Gilman's Point and then down to Kibo Hut.

Arrived Kibo Hut for food and a brief rest before descending again to Horombo Hut. Arrived 20.00. Supper and straight to bed - totally exhausted.

Day 7

Breakfast 07.45. Walked down to Mandara Hut for lunch and continued to the Marangu Gate where we signed out and were issued with our Diploma for reaching either Gilman's Point or Uhuru Peak.

7 of the party made it to Uhuru Peak and 9 made it as far as Gilman's Point.

Back at the hotel it was time for a well earned beer, or two, and a hot bath.

Celebrations continued into the evening. 

Day 8

Morning at leisure around the hotel before evening flight home.

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