Summit number 2, there isn’t one word to describe how I feel four days pre expedition. Excitement, anxiety, doubt, confidence, guilt, gratitude, it’s a complex mix. On one hand I know I’m fit enough and am capable, on the other hand I’m concerned about the altitude. Africa’s also new, I don’t know what to expect, a different culture and a different environment. I also feel guilt, over-privileged, this is my third international trip this year. The Kokoda Trail (Papua New Guinea) in April, Mount Elbrus (Russia) in June and now Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), I’m so fortunate to be able to do this, but I have to keep reminding myself I worked hard and deserve this opportunity. The other thought running around my head is, should I have spent my money for this particular trip? I could have used this money to go do a full on mountaineering course in New Zealand or Chamonix, improving my actual mountaineering skills. That would be more beneficial for my future ambitions. Mount Kilimanjaro is a glorified hike with altitude. At the end of the day though, theirs no point dwelling on these thoughts, I’ve booked the trip, no turning back now.
Mount Kilimanjaro, a dormant volcano and Africa’s highest peak is also the highest free standing-mountain in the world (5895m/19340ft). Meaning Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in the world to be standing by itself, no other mountains, no connection to mountain ranges. As a result Mount Kilimanjaro stands out like a sore thumb.
Being one of the seven summits Mount Kilimanjaro brings thousands of hikers, trekkers and climbers each year, all trying to reach the summit, also known as Uhuru Peak. Theirs numerous routes to the top, all differentiating in difficulty, duration and time spent on the mountain. Some of these include; The Marangu Route, The Shira Route, The Rongai Route, The Lemosho Route and the Machame Route. The smarter trekkers take the routes that equate to the longest time spent on the mountain (eg. The Lemosho Route). This gives them more time to acclimatise to the altitude, giving them a higher chance of success. I’m not one of these people unfortunately. I’ve elected to take the Machame Route, considered the most popular and one of the more difficult routes. The Machame Route can take anywhere between 6-9 days. I’ve chosen the 6 day timeframe, hoping I’ll acclimatise quick enough to reach the summit without getting altitude sickness. The success rate is quite high though, 70-80% for the 6 days, so by those statistics I should be fine.
To sum it up I’m excited, and it’s crazy to think I’m literally living my dream of attempting to summit the seven summits. Mount Kilimanjaro is said to be a beautiful mountain and I look forward to getting started on the journey ahead.