My name is Rob Morse,since the scares of global warm were announced, it has been an ambition of mine to go to Kilimanjaro to see the glacier before it finally melted. I had planned to go for my 50th birthday but I never got there. Last year, after several moans of not achieving my goal my wife Wendy bought the trip as a present for our 30th wedding anniversary (bless her).
Kilimanjaro at 19340 ft is the highest point on Africa and is made up of three extinct volcanoes,
The journey involves a 4day trek to the base of the mountain and a six-hour climb in total darkness to reach the summit.
During the 4day trek you pass through rain forest alpine regions and dessert gaining altitude constantly to acclimatise. Altitude sickness is the probably the main reason people don’t reach the summit which effects people in different ways and at different times. 1 of our party were unfortunate to come down with altitude sickness after only 2 days and had to rushed off the mountain to a lower altitude the only cure.
The final ascent as I said is made in total darkness starting at around 12:30 at night, as soon as you leave camp you climb up volcanic ash paths and scramble over boulders only stopping to take a sip of water and eat a snack of chocolate or high energy food to keep you going. After an hours climbing we lost another member of the party, as the strain was just too much for him.
As we continued to climb, snow started to fall and the temperature plummeted to a freezing 20 deg C. As we prepared ourselves for the final push to reach the summit at Gilman’s point our drinking water froze in the bottles even inside our rucksacks and cameras stopped working. Reaching the top of the crater rim and looking around at the sunrise you could see the Moon Jupiter and Mercury just above the horizon.
Looking down from the top you can see the planes of Tanzania and Kenya spread out in front of you and the most important thing for me that glacier a wall of ice and snow, still there but for how long.
This is the hardest thing I have ever attempted in my life, would I do it again? Maybe but life is too short and there are so many other wonderful sights and experiences in the world. Get out there and experience them.