The world out there

Climbing Kilimanjaro and raising money for Sarswati Foundation

Dear All, thank you for your words of support and trust in my capabilities! Here comes a short summary of my adventure with Kilimanjaro:

Several months after booking of the trip and first down-payment, a 10 hour flight later and a rucksack filled with newly purchased professional clothes, boots and equipment I finally stood a couple of miles away from the proud looking mountain of Kilimanjaro. It looked monstrous and much more demanding than I’d anticipated.

The first of the Seven Summits would soon turn out to be a physical and mental challenge that I’d never experienced before and would certainly remember in a long time to come.
The first day – a 7 hour walk uphill through the jungle was a great warm-up before upcoming challenges. Very tired but certainly ready for more I laid my head down in the first camp. The following day we continued through a much poorer flora and very rocky surface. In return we were lucky with mild climate, perfect for hiking; small waterfalls and streams – in general a very picturesque views.

On the third day, only a few hours after leaving the camp, and seconds after passing the snow border, at approximately 4.000m ASL I suddenly got a heavy headache and started to feel very nauseous and before long I vomited twice. Thank God I get better and can continue the challenge with only minor discomfort in my head and stomach.

Day 4 is much colder and windy. The surrounding nature is poor, with no plants, huge rocks and snow here and there – a true moonlike landscape…

Now, here comes the tricky thing about the 5th and last stage of Kilimanjaro climb – also known as the summit stage. After only a couple of hours rest in the camp at the end of day 4, at approximately 11pm you need to put yourself together and get ready, both physically and mentally, for the final 8-9 hour walk. It’s the middle of the night. The only thing you feel like doing, if you feel anything at all at this point, is to dive into your sleeping bag and fall into a deep and quiet sleep, undisturbed even by a sudden midnight urge to visit the toilet. On the summit stage there is though no time for rest, sleep or other luxury. It is an extremely tough uphill walk, in total darkness, lightened only a little bit up by the stars and the full moon (we were lucky to have that! J ). The walk continues for approximately 6 hours before you begin to see the world around you just slightly clearer. You wonder why that is so you turn your head around and look behind you to quickly notice that what you only barely can witness on the far and vast horizon is an exceptionally wonderful sunrise.

The rising sun continues to accompany you all the way to Stella Point (5756m) which is only 1 hour walk away from the actual summit – the Uhuru peak (5895m). At Stella Point you really feel like you can’t any more. Like you’re really exhausted to such an extreme extent that the only reasonable solution to your condition is hurrying downhill to get more air and above all a well-deserved rest. So what had kept me away from that thought – first prayers…than simple routine for many hours of the summit stage and finally at Stella Point, where I really felt like a human wreck – it was the thought of doing the whole thing for a higher, much more noble reason than just reaching the top of Kilimanjaro. I knew that nobody would ever want to join me in supporting the Sarswati Peace School Project if I give up now, if I do not put myself together and continue to the very top. Ania Lichota’s supporting words that were well imprinted in my memory – it’s only 25% of what you feel at this particular moment that has anything to do with your actual physical capabilities. The rest, the overwhelming 65%,  is up in your head.

The strong believe in the fact that I can actually control what’s about to happen; that I can tell my body to obey my orders gives me a sudden kick that helped me drag my body for me all the way to the top. …the rest is only history… :)

Diving in Ras Mohammed reef

October 2010

A great adventure; an underwater world that I’ll certainly return to.

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