|Kilimanjaro - The worlds tallest free standing mountain.|
Initially I wasn't at all attracted to attempting Kilimanjaro, this was mainly due to the mountain losing some credibility as a serious challenge after having a bunch of unfit & (some) grossly overweight so called celebrities trek the mountain for charity some years ago. "If ------------ can do it anyone can do it" being the general consensus! It is also a very expensive mountain to undertake due to the park fees set by the Tanzanian government, non East-African citizens are charged a 'Park Conservation' & 'Camping' fee of well over $100 for each day of their trip ( Tanzania National Parks.) .
|A friendly local turned out to see us off.|
|Barry (George Clooney's Dad) brought some Hollywood to the trip at Machame Gate.|
|Leaving from Machame Gate at 1840m we would trek through the African forest up to the Machame Hut at 2980m. The trek took us on a good track rising steadily until the forest turned to Alpine moorland where heather grew up above 2m tall!|
|Lord Cocks leads his loyal subjects.|
Jimmy, who was our head guide for the trip, led the way with some African beats as he introduced all the team to us and we were encouraged to introduce ourselves to the team using the medium of song & dance. You needed to be there!
|Rob gets 'involved' with the introductions!|
We would spend a total of 6 nights under canvas in total, including the evening 'snooze' before summit day and an overnight on descent.
|Heading to Shira Hut at 3840m through the cloud.|
|Lord Cocks in deep thought preparing for his evening 'pep' talk as Barry (Hollywood) looks on.|
|Kilimanjaro looms over Shira Hut camp|
|Porter with 15kg load on his head.|
|On towards Lava Tower Camp.|
|Team photo in front of Lava Tower.|
|Rob can't help himself and climbs Lava Tower to kill some time.|
|Setting up camp under the Western Breach.|
|Blister Steve with the Western Breach in the background.|
|Camp under the Western Breach.|
|Night scrambling up the Western Breach.|
|'Chilling' at the Furtwangler Glacier.|
From the crater it would be just a 300m ascent to the summit up a volcanic scree slope. 'Just' 300m! It was excruciatingly slow after the excursions of the Western Breach and at an altitude of 5600 to the summit at 5895m. There was now less than half the air pressure available to us than at sea level where our lungs are designed to work the best!
N.B whilst the air is still made up of the same composition of approx 78% Nitrogen, 20% Oxygen & 2% other stuff(!) because there is less of the atmosphere pushing down on it so the amount of oxygen in each breath reduces the higher you go!
|Dawn breaking over the crater & glacier.|
|Its a lie!|
|Approaching the summit.|
|Paul, Blister Steve, Vic, Commander Rob & Barry Clooney at the summit.|
|Lord Cocks poses on descent.|
Rising for breakfast on our last morning we had just a 3 hour walk back into the African forest and to Mweka Gate at 1050m, lungs full of lovely oxygen!
|Drunk on oxygen with Kilimanjaro in the background.|
|All smiles at Mweka Gate.|
|& Barry (George Clooney's Dad) gives us the Hollywood smile!|
|This Is Africa!|
|Refueling back at Weru Weru!|
As with any extended journey or expedition Kilimanjaro had its high and low points and it is only after the end of the expedition that these could be weighed up. There were far more high points than low and in fact the low points weren't very low, piss wet through on the first of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks comes far lower than at any point in Africa!
Kilimanjaro deserves respect as do all those that undertake the trip to the summit, apart from some of those that do it full of Diamox & get helicopters from the top maybe! :-) Just my opinion x
* Video from Expedition Guide