Kili is conquered!
- Sarah Wills
OK so actually its had a light slapping, and
I know who's come off the worse for wear. The only skin
still peeling off my body is on my fingertips. My neck was
the worst though - nothing quite as attractive as scaly
So you wanna know about these 36 hours?
Right. We tried to get away from Horombo Hut (3700m) by
8am on summit day, but with a group of 28 people it was
a little difficult. Especially when our team of blond bombshells
had to put their lippy on. Also we thought it might be the
last chance to pose all together - so 28 cameras later...
Halfway to Kibo Hut (4700m) we emerged onto this huge dusty
brown plateau, it slopes uphill gently to the Hut, but the
lack of oxygen was really starting to bite. We saw a couple
of people on trolleys pulled by 4 porters each being rushed
back down the mountain - the best way to cure altitude sickness.
When I staggered into the icy room at Kibo around 5pm with
my best pals Julie & Oginia we all started crying. I
think it was part exhaustion and part fear. Right beside
us was the massive bulk of the Kilimanjaro crater which
we had to climb that night.
It was all about keeping warm from then on. Layering took
over - just after 12pm standing outside about to set off,
I had 4 layers on my bottom half & 8 on my top. It was
a real rush to get ready at the end. I had got into my sleeping
bag a few hours earlier after forcing some pasta down my
throat but hadn't managed to sleep. Then it was up trying
to see with our head lamps because the solar generator had
run out of juice. I stuffed some biscuits in my pockets
and we were off while I was still fiddling to get my gloves
The Slog. Literally inching up the scree in a zigzag. The
moon was bright so I could turn my headlamp off but I don't
remember too much of the next 6 hours. Actually it was how
you would imagine walking on the moon would be like - completely
foreign. I remember feeling nauseous fairly early on and
having to stop & double over, until finally I threw
up. My water froze but I had my trusty thermos with some
hot chocolate (thanks Gav!). I remember the rest breaks
and closing my eyes and thinking how nice it would be to
just stay there like that. On the last break before the
summit a guide pulled me to my feet and pushed me off in
front of him. Those guides were quite simply fantastic -
one of them told us later he was trying to find a less risky
job because he didn't want to die. The week before we got
to the top 3 people including guides had died on an expedition.
Then it was some boulder scrambling & then we were at
Gilman's Point (5681m) - on the edge of the Kili crater.
The sun had come up behind us (one of the reasons for climbing
during the night) but it too much effort to turn round.
I guess it was beautiful. At Gilman's I lay on the path
and people walked over me taking pictures and saying congratulations.
So now it was really really cold, about -30 Celsius with
the windchill. My hands were the worst & I was freaking
a little remembering the guides warning us about frostbite.
Eventually I got up, and someone took a photo with me draped
over the sign, the crater and some glaciers in the background.
Most of the others had started off to Uhuru peak which is
the top bit of the crater (the real summit) but I took the
very easy decision to go down to Kibo. Woohoooooo!!!! Scree
jumping - take one step & you slide 10. Tumbling down
the mountain - we were back in our sleeping bags just after