Carl's Kilimanjaro Diary

Day 5: We've reached the summit!! (11:30pm)

  1. Carl Roland, via satellite phone

    At 11:30 am 30th September 2013 we summited. Amazing!! So happy - no signs of altitude sickness. From the satellite phone I tried to call Alisha to share the good news but never got through. I tried calling all week with no success. No answer. I missed Alisha so much during this trip and I know she wanted to share the experience with me. We've had 20 minutes on top of the mountain and now we must begin our decent.

Day 5: Beginning of our summit day (6:30am)

  1. Carl Roland, via satellite phone

    Sun rising as we left camp to start final accent to summit. The day was blue sky and limited clouds. It was once again much steeper than the previous days plus more loose stones. It was only 1300m I think from base camp to summit but it felt much further.

    The whole trip start/bottom of mountain to summit is 42km, on flat ground that is a tough walk but going vertical all the way is a real challenge.

    Within an hour tiredness kicked in due to extreme heat and altitude!!

    We could see summit flag which was few hours away but seemed a million miles away. We seemed to be never getting any closer and it felt such a relentless, never-ending climb. The final few hundred meters were tough as hell, really had to fight to keep going. My main concerns however was how I was dealt with the high altitude. After all this was prep work for Everest.


Day 4: 6:30am

  1. Carl Roland, via satellite phone

    We woke to clear blue skies today. We done the usual had breakfast and packed to head to base camp. The final camp before summit day. The first few hours was fairly flat and open space. It looked almost Mars like a strange planet. Even though it was flat it was still hard. We could see camp in the distance but it never got any closer by the hour. The final 3 hours we started to climb which was hard but bearable.

    We finally reached camp and settled unto camp, it was cold. We had an early night as we have to be up at 5:30AM to set off to summit 20,000 ft. Altitude could be a problem yet.

Day 2: 3450 metres high and rising...

  1. Carl Roland, via satellite phone

    Today we had breakfast at 7:30am consisting of porridge - essential carbs for today’s challenges. This was followed by a nice omelet.

    We left camp at 8:30AM and the sky was blue and the temperature +32 (very hot). The trek was steep and rocky which was very demanding in this heat but we made it to lunch.

    We had a large lunch but didn’t have time for it to digest before we set off for Camp 2 shortly after. When we set off it was heavy rain and thunder. The terrain got more and more rocky.

    At 4pm we made Camp 2, it was an amazing site for sore eyes (sore all-over from exhaustion). Altitude 3450 metres. Now at well above cloud level where the views of Kili are truly amazing.

    Was great to have a good wash and fresh clothes ready for our meal. Tomorrow we will break 4000m mark where we could start having problems with altitude sickness even though we are having tablets to thin out the blood and help prevent blood clots. Many people don’t reach the summit due to altitude sickness. Hopefully I'll be alright.

    We are getting into the steep terrain now. I have seen the summit of Kilimanjaro today and it looks amazing.

    The Tents already set up for us. Just enjoying plenty of hot drinks and great food. The carrot soup is delicious and I am about to tuck into my main course of beef.

    You simply can't do this challenge by yourself it's very dangerous. Certainly you'd never be able to carry the gear on your own! It is totally different from my North Pole Trek where you are self-reliant for the most part, pulling your own sled of supplies. This is different, you certainly appreciate the "luxury" of having these facilities already prepared for you - but this is no walk in the park and it is now about to get a lot tougher.

    The gear I am wearing is proving itself. The guys at Adapt Outdoors have done another great job in kitting me out. The Mammut boots I am wearing are amazing - they make such a difference on an adventure like this. My headlamp seems to light up everywhere - really powerful. When my headlamp is off the stars look incredible - never seen so many - absolutely out of this world!

Day 1: Getting off to a good start...

  1. Carl Roland, via satellite phone

    9:30am – Collected by guide Douglas at hotel in Moshi. Douglas is an African guide who speaks decent English. I have realised once again like at the North Pole I have lost my camera! This is my essential piece of kit. How could I be so stupid? Again!!

    We decide to hire a camera at Gate 1 of the mountain. Upon arrival to Mount Kilimanjaro, we are greeted by 15 male Sherpas. Shortly after Sherpas are ready and we are ready we head off to Camp 1 which is a short 4 hour trek up 2440 meters.

    It is hot and humid which we are not used to. This part of the trek is through jungle and we still have not seen the mountain yet.

    At 4pm we reached Camp 1 to be greeted by our camp set up by the Sherpas. Brilliant.

    I felt like I was cheating having people carrying my kit and setting up tents (there was none of this on the self-reliant the North Pole trip). But on this mountain, this is how it’s done.

    7pm had meal was good. The sky at night is unreal here there are so many stars and they seems so close. I have never seen the sky like this before - totally amazing.

    Later » Now we are about 2800 metres up. Been walking four to five hours each're probably thinking "That's not much!".

    Yes, the speed is quite slow. A general rule is that you should not generally ascend more than 300 metres per day and for each 1000 metres that you do ascend you should take a rest day.

    Kilimanjaro goes from "High altitude" (2400m to 4200m) to "Very high altitude" (4200m to 5400m) to "Extreme altitude" (5400m t0 5895m). This leaves very little time for the body to adjust. This is what makes Kilimanjaro such a unique challenge.

    The climate at this altitude so far has been very humid with plenty of broken clouds in the sky. We have 17 sherpas and another group which has been passing us from time to time, they are carrying the oxygen tanks in case of emergencies.

    Going to get a good night's sleep. We will be up at 7am the continue our adventure.