So let’s have a chat about the climb, I won’t lie to you or sugar coat the experience in any way. For me it was single-handedly the best but also most challenging physical experience of my life. I figured it might be easier to break it down into three sections – Going Up, Summit Night and the Way Back Down.
The first two days were the most enjoyable stages of the climb. As this was before the altitude truly began to kick in and there were huge changes in scenery. It went from lush forest to a very dry almost lunar like landscape. We were all still high on adrenaline singing our lungs out as we walked with Africa by Toto (a shock I know) and the Pina Colada song being the favourites.
I also think at this stage the enormity of the challenge and what was to come was somehow still a distant reality.
Then we come to day three which was a much stepper climb, literally grabbing onto rocks at some points, to get to Baranco Wall. This had to be one of the most spectacular views during the climb and one of the best photo opportunities, so be camera ready.
After reaching the wall, you just climb higher and higher. From this point onwards I will admit the altitude had truly hit and my memory becomes a little hazy. All I can say is that the views remain spectacular throughout so focus on that and not how you feel…
From what I can remember this was one of the hardest nights of my life. Waking up at 12am to then climb up and down for around 19 hours sounds crazy and I can confirm it is! My main memories from the climb can be summarised as:
So so hard
I did it
It’s safe to say that the altitude truly hit me on summit night. I was only able to eat two jelly babies meaning I was relying on energy reserves to get me to the top. I felt horrendous and was sick a few times on the way up. Really selling this aren’t I…
But that feeling when I finally pushed myself to get there is indescribable for 30 minutes those horrible sickness feelings had completely disappeared and I was in awe of what I had achieved. It really is the best feeling in the world.
Going Back Down
In some ways this is most challenging part of the walk. You have already achieved your goal, you are cold, knackered and in need of a huge meal. However there is also something so special about reaching the bottom of the trail as you have truly and officially achieved your goal. One of the highlights of the trip for me is a the first night’s sleep after the climb in a proper bed, I can not explain how good that feels.
When asked if I would climb Kili again my answer would be yes, however its taken me a year to say that. It was hard, so so hard but those feelings pale in comparison to the achievement. That feeling at the top honestly makes everything worth while.