Kilimattjaro

My journey to reach the roof of Africa

Job Done!

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Job Done!

We reached Kilimanjaro’s 5,895M / 19,341ft summit at Uhuru Peak on Sunday 23rd June at 06.45am. It was by some measure the most challenging thing I’ve done so far. I’ve posted a set of photos to my Kilimattjaro Facebook Page.

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Time to Go

Right today’s the day then. We leave this afternoon for Istanbul and then onwards to Tanzania arriving early in  morning Sunday. We begin our climb on Monday taking an 8 day Rongai route – you’ll be able to keep an eye on how we’re doing via the climb tracker. I’m taking my iPad / iPhone but I don’t know if I’ll be able to blog during the trip. Keep an eye on Twitter though as I might get an odd update out on that.

Didn’t get chance to write up on my packing kit list but I’ll certainly review what worked / what was superfluous once I get back. Finally, thanks to everyone who’s supported the project and donated to PSC Support. I’m off to fly my PSC Support flag at 19,340ft next week – wish me luck. Thanks!


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Talking To Myself

motivationletterJust a few days before we leave and so as you might expect the trip and the challenge ahead is never far from my thoughts. I feel good about the preparations and training I’ve done – my fitness is better than it’s been for many years and my weight is significantly lower than a year ago. I’ve also obsessively read and research anything I can find on climbing Kilimanjaro, trekking gear, hiking skills and high altitude physiology /medicine. I’m both exited (like a kid waiting for Christmas type excited) yet wondering what lies ahead. I know it’s likely to be tough in places and it’s the personal challenge to see what I can do that played a part in my first thinking about “doing Kili”.

Yesterday the team, our families and I did a local short walk and then shared a meal and drinks in the evening sun. It was great for us all to spend some time relaxing and talking about the trip ahead of us. Today I’m off for another IHE session and tomorrow is my last training session in the gym. I’m then into resting until we depart on Friday – the sports performance professional’s call this “tapering” – I call it taking it easy and eating loads of carbs before the climb 😉

The other aspect of my Kilimanajaro challenge was of course to raise funds and awareness for PSC Support. I’ve been delighted, amazed and humbled at people’s good will and generous donations – so much that I have had to rise the fund raising target couple of times. Jeff in our team has also been fund raising too and between us we’ve already raised in excess of £6,000 which is absolutely fantastic. Thanks to everyone who has helped make that happen. Of course if you’ve not yet donated there’s still time to help and every single penny will go to good use to help those affected by PSC.

Meeting my half of the sponsorship bargain will be a significant point of motivation when I’m on the mountain. To help reinforce my commitment and in an attempt of some amateur psychology I’ve produced a Motivation Letter to myself to remind me why I’m doing this and who’s supporting me. I’ll be taking a laminated copy with me in my back pack and plan to read it daily. So if you’ve sponsored the climb you’re going to the summit with me both in my grateful thoughts and on my motivation sheet. I’ll produce a final one on Thursday night before as I pack so why not get you name on there by sponsoring me?

This week’s main challenge will be how on earth do I pack all my gear and keep within my weight limits for the airline and mountain porters? I’ll write up a separate blog on my Kili Kit list and packing – it’ll be interesting to see what I actually find useful vs all the stuff I’d like to take.


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Exposure

photo3I’ve just started a course of Intermittent Hypoxic Exposure (IHE) using the Altitude Centre’s POD in Manchester’s Ellis Brigham store.  It works by allowing me to breathe rarefied air and so expose me to lower oxygen levels with the aim of triggering some physiological changes to help me “pre-acclimatise” before I get on to Kilimanjaro.  I’ll be trying to get a 40 minute session in each day until we leave a week on Friday.  I don’t know to what degree it’ll help but I’m pretty much happy to try most things to give me the best chance of reaching the summit!


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Langdale Pikes

964072_10151635059494421_245297392_oJune’s here and it finally felt like summer might be on its way as I planned our penultimate training hike.  I selected a Lake District route around the Langdale Pikes and Bowfell , armed myself with a map and compass and arranged with Paul and Debbie  to meet at 9.30am at the New Dungeon Ghyll hotel.  Jeff wasn’t free to join us this weekend but we’ll get the whole team together for one last walk next weekend before we head out to Tanzania.

It was a little overcast but presently warm as we set off , each of us enjoying being able to wear just T-shirts. I led the way out of the car park and with minutes we were onto the pathways and picking our way along and up a rocky climb alongside a stream. After about 30 mins of hard work we were all hot and ready for a rest as we came up and over a crest to see the  Stickle Tarn. This wasn’t in the plan but I’d manage to take us up a more northerly track. Still it was a pleasant place to stop for a snack and drink as we studied the map and worked out a revised route. I’m definitely going to book myself of a navigation training course when I get back from Kili.

We left the tarn for High Raise to the north and climbed over some very wet ground and ten onto some pretty steep slopes. We stopped off at Sargent Man to take a rest and shelter from the wind and have a drink. We were rewarded with stunning views to the south and east over the Lake District and out over Morecambe bay as we basked in the sun’s warming rays. On went the fleeces as we got back into the wind and made our way over to High Raise’s trig point.

We then turned south west and headed down to pick up the Cumbria way foot path with the intent of looping over to Angle Tarn. However we missed the path and so ended up carrying on to follow stake gill as if flowed own into Mickleden Beck at the base of the imposing Langdale fell and its many stony crags.  Our knees were glad to find the valley floor (sometimes going down is just as tough as going up) and we waked parallel to the Beck as it led us back the last few miles to the car park.

At just over 8 miles this wasn’t a massively long walk but it had a lot of steep ascent and descents which all help work the muscles we’ll be needing for Kili in a couple of weeks.  I’ve post some photo on the Kilimattjaro facebook page and the climb stats and map.