We have received some wonderful e-mails from Sabine’s “tentmate”, and are living vicariously through their adventure to the top of Kilimanjaro. We are delighted to share their experience with you.
The group of 14 women met in Nairobi, Kenya on January 18ththen departed for Moshi, Tanzania. It was a long 7 hour journey through heart of many small villages and Masai rural thatched hut villages. The ladies were excited to learn they were going to have peanut butter and jelly for lunch – but ended up being served peanut butter and bologna. Stumped by this mistake, their host eventually realized “mama bear” (who managed the kitchen) likely heard “peanut butter and deli” vs. jelly!
About 3hrs from their destination they spotted Kilimanjaro …way, way above the clouds – which brought a shrill of fear into all. They spent the next day in orientation and then packing. The only point of concern was when they were shown the stretcher and oxygen tanks – for emergency purposes only!
On Day 1 of the climb, they had a 3 hour bus ride to get to the starting point (7000 feet), followed by a 3 hour hike through the rainforest to their first camp at 9000 feet. When they arrived, the camp had already been set up by the 59 porters serving their group of 14 – apparently there are some “Club Med” type perks associated with this climb! Day 2 was a 7 hour hike taking them to 11500 feet, followed by Day 3 as they approached 13600 feet.
Unfortunately, on Day 3 one of their teammates had to turn back and was unable to complete the rest of their journey. Apparently everyone on the team has been affected by the altitude in various ways, but in general the rest are healthy. As part of the acclimatization process, on Day 4 they climbed to 15000 feet for lunch, and then went back down to 13000 feet to sleep.
Sabine and her tent-mate agree that without a doubt this is the most mentally, physically and emotionally challenging thing they have ever done. It seems every day has gotten progressively more difficult. On Day 5 (the day we received the last e-mail) they actually climbed the Barranko Wall – apparently, if they had known before the experience what they know now, they may have had to rethink the entire experience. But, they did it!
In true Sabine style, she has maintained a sense of humour throughout her experience. She has declared that winter camping will not be in her future plans, and keeping clean……….well that’s another story! After the exhausting Day 5, the girls decided it had to be time to wash their hair – so, they started a Karanga Camp hair washing salon outside the main tent. They felt truly blessed for hot water and Aveda rosemary mint shampoo! Apparently the porters just watched in awe – a site they may have never seen before!
The next few days will be the true challenge. Day 6 involves climbing back up to 15000ft and spending the night there before their ascent. On Day 7 they will be waking up at 3:00 am to start their ascent at 4:30 am. Their guides expect it will take 9 to 10 hours to summit (to 19,500 feet), and then 3 hours back down – now that’s a full day!
Sabine truly appreciates your thoughts and prayers as she pushes herself to the limit. She is confident that all of her training and preparation will pay off – and we know her determination will give her that extra burst she will need to push through those final steps to the top. Given the circumstance, Sabine and her tent mate are pretty relaxed as they signed off the e-mail with “Akuna Mahtata” (no worries). We’re pulling for you girls!