As many of you have been following Sabine’s charity climb to Mt. Kilimanjaro, we are delighted to share the final chapter of her adventure with you. Please join us in congratulating Sabine for pushing mind, body and soul to successfully reach the summit! The picture at left was taken of Sabine (alongside her gracious “tent mate” and good friend, Kathleen Holland) at the summit on January 26, 2011 at approximately 5:00 pm.
We made it!
Our group made it to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro on Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 after a grueling 12 hour hike that started with a wake-up call at 3:00 am. After gearing up for the day, and a hearty breakfast of porridge, toast, eggs and fruit, we started our final ascent at 5:00 am. Our guides predicted we would reach the summit around 1:00 pm, but since a few of the climbers were experiencing breathing issues, it took longer than expected.
Right from the planning stages of this trip, our group decided we would stay together on the climb and our fastest pace would be dictated by the slowest person of the group. Our goal, of course, was to reach the summit together – but more importantly, it was about experiencing the journey together. Our slower pace during the trip gave each of us ample time to reflect and take in the amazing and diverse views that Mt. Kilimanjaro has to offer.
Since our group had chosen the longest and less traveled (LeMoshi) route, we were truly able to experience and appreciate the various terrains. We spent two days trekking through the rainforest and crossing the Shira Plateau (heather and moorland) before getting to the mountain desert at higher elevations.
From a technical point, the most challenging day was when we climbed the 1000m (nearly vertical) Barranco Wall. It was definitely not real rock climbing, but we had to climb with our hands along somewhat dangerous edges with porters stationed along the way for safety. It was a lot of fun, and took about three hours to scale the wall.
Nothing surpasses the emotions we felt on our summit day as we watched a spectacular sunrise during our climb to Stella Point and then on to Uhuru Peak. Our slower pace actually helped us in the end. We were all in good shape at the top and no one suffered from nausea or severe headaches. It was a beautiful clear day, and was exhilarating knowing we were standing on top of the tallest mountain in the world at the closest place to the Sun on the entire earth. We spent almost an hour at the summit soaking in the stunning views from “the Roof of Africa” and taking photos before descending.
Our descent was an adventure in itself as our porters encouraged us to “let ourselves be free” and do a combination run / ski down over the scree (which is a light layer of dirt and gravel intermixed with bigger rocks). This was a “free for all”, and some of the group made it down in just over an hour. The descent proved more difficult for a few others who required oxygen and medical attention during their three hour trip back to the camp.
It truly was the experience of a lifetime, and one that I will not soon forget. The bond and friendships that were forged during this trip will surely last forever. Our group is already planning a get together reunion in March to share photographs!
We will also continue to help with our charity work… raising funds for the Leadership Centre at the African International University in Nairobi. While we there, we attended the ground breaking ceremony for the centre along with some future students, university trustees and the architect… a local young women. The center will be named for Leah Ngini in recognition of her leadership as a Kenyan educator, and an admired woman in Nairobi. The building will provide services and meeting places for women and their families at Africa International University, as well as women in surrounding communities. If you would like additional information on this wonderful initiative, I would be more than happy to answer questions or provide an introduction. Please send an e-mail to me at .
Finally, a huge heartfelt THANK YOU to all the encouraging messages and donations that I received before, during and after my climb… it was truly inspiring, and certainly helped me in achieving this personal goal. I’m not too sure what is next, but winter camping is definitely out the picture for now!