by Steve Buckley - 1 year, 4 months ago
We planned this climb a year ago and booked with Kilimanjaro Heroes in Moshi to do the seven day (six night) Rongai route. This is the one which has the best altitude acclimatisation we were told. It was long - walking in the first five days for four or five hours getting higher and higher and colder and colder.
In the afternoon of the fifth day, we reached the final camp, Kibo Hut at 4700m. We rested, had dinner and went to bed early, trying to stay warm. We were woken at 11pm and started the slog up to the summit. It was a grueling trek and, to get to Gillman's Point, took about six hours. From there it was only another two hundred metres or so up to the summit at Uhuru, but that took a further 2 hours. Twenty minutes at the top of Africa was sufficient as the altitude was starting to tell. The climb down was just as arduous and we eventually reached Kibo Hut, in a flurry of snow, at 12:30pm on day six.
With only an hour's rest and a brunch, we packed and left to head down to Horombo Camp at 3700m. The three hour walk stretched out to four and a half hours and we arrived in the dark. On the final day, it was a four hour trek to lunch and a further three hour trek to the final gate.
It was an unforgettable experience, harder than anything we've ever done and something that I wouldn't want to repeat. But a moment of great satisfaction to have done it!