After exactly a year of reaching the summit, I have decided to start my blog writing about the amazing experience that has been climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and about how it has changed my life and helped me get to where I am now.
Mount Kilimanjaro is the largest freestanding mountain in the world and the highest peak in Africa at 5,895 metres above sea level. It is a dormant volcano with three volcanic cones known as Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira and it is situated in Tanzania.
In all honesty, climbing Kilimanjaro was never on my bucket list but one evening a good friend of mine were chilling with a glass of red wine and I signed up to the challenge thinking it was a great idea. We decided to go with a charity called Dig Deep that aims to provide sanitation and clean water to rural areas in Kenya. Things started to get real when we got set the target to fundraise £3,000 to cover our travel costs as well as provide a substantial donation for the great work that Dig Deep carries out. Let me tell you, £3000 is a lot of money to fundraise. I sold most of my wardrobe on Ebay, baked all of the cakes, organised Zumba fundraiser and basically begged family and friends to help me out..
Once you get over the hurdle of reaching your fundraising target, you’re not even close to being done because that mountain you’ve been dreaming about for the past year is there waiting for you with perilous paths, altitude sickness and a serious appreciation for your home bathroom.
We took the Machame route up the mountain, a very scenic route which measures 2km from gate to gate and provides hikers with incredible views and varying landscapes. There are no parts on the route that require any technical climbing skills, but it is far from being an easy climb with the ascent of Barranco Wall on day 4 and the steep (OMG it was steep!!) incline up to Kibo on summit night.
I do not want to share every single moment on here because each climb will be personal to each one of us and you just have to go and see for yourselves. What I can say is that this is a once in a lifetime adventure which I will treasurer forever! Due to all the strength training I do in my day to day life, my muscles were really conditioned and I was able to easily walk for long hours and carry my backpack without any major muscle soreness or pain. I was also lucky enough not so suffer from altitude sickness, which hit many of my fellow climbers and this really allowed me to enjoy every moment and take it all in! So if you are considering it get yourself in the gym lifting some weights..
The bond between my friend and I definitely grew stronger on the mountain.. I slept with her sick in the tent so can’t get much stronger than that! I also met two amazing women who made my climb so much more enjoyable by sharing their sweets and their toilet paper, making me laugh and encouraging me everyday. Those also made this adventure so much more special were the incredible Kilimanjaro guides and porters. They become our family for those 6 days and told us stories, carried our heavy bags, cooked delicious food, brought us warm ginger team in the morning when they woke us up at ridiculous hours and made us feel at home. The thing that made it for me was them singing to us though the dark and cold summit night up until sunrise, a sunrise I will never forget. Their songs and the red Masai cloths I could barely make out in the darkness really gave me the courage to get to that summit!
There are so many things I could tell you about this climb, but what I am getting at is that sometimes you need to accept unexpected and unplanned events that present themselves in your life because something wonderful might come out of them.. and never believe you cannot make it because you have the force inside you to achieve all of your dreams. Each one of us struggled with different monsters on that mountain but we all got up there and we were all winners. Personally, my challenge was in my head to reach the beautiful Kilimanjaro summit and take a moment to say: