Tanzania’s ultimate test
To earn this climbing certificate you’ll have to rise to the challenge, as Candy Warrick discovered the hard way…
“Trekking Kilimanjaro, in a word: amazing! Sure, it was difficult at times, particularly on the steep ascents, but it was definitely achievable. I made it to the summit at 5895 metres (19,340 feet) above sea level, even though I was a little unfit and hadn’t physically prepared in advance (note to self if I try something like this again!).
Many people don’t reach the summit, but it’s more the altitude that stands in the way rather than lack of fitness or determination. The altitude can get anyone – even the very fit. Though with a slow pole-pole pace (translated as ‘slowly-slowly’) we plodded upwards and into the clouds.
To reach the summit at sunrise our Intrepid Marangu Route group started walking at midnight for the final ascent. With plenty of stops for a deep breath (there’s not much air up there) I reached the rim at Gilman’s Point just as the sun hit the horizon. After a brief rest break and a cup of tea we proceeded to the summit. On the way you pass a few ice-caps – giant walls of ice that sit atop the mountain. Then onto the summit for the photo of a lifetime. What a thrill. It was a clear day and we cold see the plains far off into the distance.
The air is even thinner at the summit, so after quickly capturing our achievement on camera we turned around and started making our way down. Our Intrepid guide, porters and cook were a superb support team and without them, their encouragement and good humour, it would not have been so enjoyable. It had been a real dream to make it to the top of Africa and thanks to my fellow travellers, a great crew and a very slow pace, I’ve ticked that one off my bucket list!”
Photo: Kilimanjaro trek, Michelle Tennent