They did it! Kilimanjaro for KCC

On top of Kilimanjaro
Phil and Claire climbed Kilimanjaro for KCC last week. They made it to the peak on Friday, this is their story.

From Kilimanjaro:

For all you doubters and skeptics who didn’t think we were going to make it, or were waiting for the proof before you handed over your $, here it is. We arrived at Uhuru Peak, the top of Mt Kilimanjaro 5895m (19,341ft) at 6.45am on Friday 17th May 2013! Mt Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and is the highest freestanding mountain in the world. To put this in perspective Mt Cook is 3754m and Mt Everest base camp is 5364m.

Summit Day
We left Kibo hut (4700m) to begin the final assent to the summit at 12.30am, after max 4 hours sleep and having climbed 1000m over 5 hours already that day. Resting heart rate measures before we went to sleep were between 105 – 110 bpm, oxygen saturation in the low 70s. Dressed for the occasion in 3 layers of icebreaker thermals, a woollen icebreaker hoodie, a puffer jacket, ski pants and long johns we set off up the main face to the crater rim. The face is a combination of rock and loose scoria and given the altitude and breathing problems Claire particularly was having it was a very slow and cold shuffle (seriously don’t think we’ve ever walked that slow in our lives before) to the first milestone; the edge of the crater at Gilmans point (5685m) which we reached at 4.45am. From there it was a comparatively easy stroll (if anything is easy at 5000 m above sea level) around the crater rim to Stella point (5730) where we witnessed a beautiful African sunrise from literally the top of Africa.

The final 100m was where the wheels really fell off, Claire felt like she had an elephant standing on her chest, was going to vomit and pass out all at the same time and even Phil who had been fine until this point began to feel a bit light headed! The relief of arriving at Uhuru peak was indescribable and may or may not have brought a tear or two to the eyes of the more emotional of the group. The sun was up, it warmed up, breath was recovered and from somewhere we discovered the energy to share a bottle of Kilimanjaro beer, get nude (some of us) and take some awesome photos.

It wasn’t easy and we definitely didn’t love every minute of it but it was an incredible experience. We both think probably the most physically challenging thing we’ve ever done. Giving up was never an option but there were moments when we were definitely asking ourselves why we were doing it and the memories of the children at KCC definitely helped us to keep putting one foot in front of the other.