Made it! The team reach the Summit

They made it! After 8 arduous days of climbing and a few incidents along the way, the team made it to Africa's highest point in aid of the Stuart Turner Foundation.

Summit

Rory Topping, Customer Service Manager for Stuart Turner and the organiser of this incredible journey, kept a diary during the event as follows:

Stuart Turner - Kilimanjaro Trek April 2015   

Day 1 - Thursday 2nd April 2015

Kili Day 1

We are picked up from work and head to Heathrow Airport. We are met by our lady Team Doctor "Grainne" who has climbed more mountains than we have had hot dinners. We fly overnight to Nairobi and take a connecting flight to Kilimanjaro International airport. One of the crew is already not one hundred percent fit. 

Day 2 - Friday 3rd April 2015

On arrival we are met by our Guide Leader "Jonas" who has climbed Mt Kilimanjaro over 250 times!! We board a minibus which has a "robust but antique feel" and this takes us to the hotel we are going to stay for one night. On arrival at the hotel we are instructed to ensure our main bag weighs no more than 15kg (it is amazing how little that is!)

We have an evening team briefing by Jonas and our bags are weighed, we are informed that to help us adjust to the increase in altitude we will be climbing high every day but sleeping at a lower altitude. All of a sudden it is very real!!!

Day 3 - Saturday 4th April 2015 - D day!  Machame Gate to Machame Camp, start height is 1800mtrs and the finishing height is 3000mtrs -11km distance - 6hrs trekking

We leave the Hotel and go to Machame gate were we have to sign in before we can set of for the mountain.day 2  It is here we meet our 51 porters and staff (guide leader, guides, camp manager, camp staff, camp porters, choir master (man giant!), medical porters, cooks and assistants, toilet porters, kit porters) who welcome us warmly. Our bags are weighed again and distributed amongst the porters. We meet our guide "Julias" who will set the pace and we set off through tough, dense and damp jungle and travel a distance of 11km and climb in altitude just over 1200mtrs. On arrival at camp we are welcomed by all the staff singing and are actively encouraged to join in. We are then shown to our tents and discover how "compact" these are. We freshen up and with no washing facilities we are already thanking whoever invented "baby wipes".  We have a formal introduction to our toilets and how they work…That is all we are going to say on the subject.

We have our first meal of the travels in the mess tent, it is unbelievable that they lay table clothes, knife fork and spoons with a serviette! There are even flowers every day and to top it off the food is nice (soup is very popular). We retire for the day and TRY to sleep but alas we have "Snorers" in the camp.

Day 4 - Sunday 5th April 2015 - Machame Camp to Shira Camp, climb to 4000mtrs with a finishing height of 3827 mtrs - 6km distance -  6hrs trekking

We are woken early with a cup of tea / coffee and freshen up before breakfast (breaKili day 4kfast is a daily porridge, egg pancake and toast). We set off in the rain and due to illnesses the team is quickly broken into two. David R manages to crack his head on a rock, we don't know how as I walked straight under it! When we arrive at camp the weather is still horrendous and everyone is soaked to the skin. The tents have only just been put up and both the tents and our kit are soaked. Two of the crew are now under the watchful eye of Grainne (Team Doctor) for altitude sickness.  We have our evening meal including soup and because it is Easter Sunday the chef has made us a cake which tastes lovely. How do you cook a cake on the side of a mountain?

Early evening the sun actually breaks through and we can hang some of our kit out to dry. It is now we get the first view of the mountain and it looks miles away, covered in snow and "very big".

Day 5 - Monday 6th April 2015 - Shira Camp to Barranco Camp, climb to 4625mtrs with a finishing height of 3960mtrs  -11km distance - 7hrs trekking

We leave camp and again the team is divided into two, first section of the team arrive at 1800hrs and the Kili day 5second half of the team arrive at 1915hrs in total darkness. The wet weather at the beginning of the trip is taking its toll and even the experienced Grainne is feeling the pinch. Today was the first day that saw team members back packs taken from them and carried by porters so that we could maintain the pace. When we reached the highest point of the climb we were two hours behind schedule. We then walked downhill for 3 hrs to reach our sleeping height. The weather was mainly dry but misty so we got to look at some nice views but not a lot. Three people are now under the watchful eye of Gronia. There is a tummy bug and antibiotics are handed out. We now have two shorter trekking days ahead of us before the summit night.

Day 6 - Tuesday 7th April 2015 - Barranco Camp to Karranga Camp, climb to 4059mtrs with a finishing height of 3865mtrs - 6km distance - 6hrs trekking

We woke up to the view of the Barranco Wall which will be our first event of the day and this will take us twoKili day 6 hours. We watch with interest as the first of the porters set off (the kit they carry and how they climb the wall is amazing). The wall is interesting but passes off with no issues. Today is a steady walk and the team stick together as one unit. We have a late lunch and some free time in the afternoon. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and we start drifting into conversations about 'summit night' which faces us tomorrow. Please note that we are still grateful for 'baby wipes' but a suggestion would be to include a range of 'nice smelling' baby wipes and of course we have settled into our routine meals which continue to include porridge and soup. Diamox is now handed out to the crew to help them deal with altitude sickness which is rapidly spreading amongst the crew. We are now fully conversant with going to the tent toilet in the dark and operating the toilet system, whether the toilet tent zip works or not is another matter!  The 'three striped mice' are spotted running amongst the tents but seem harmless enough…  Two people from the team remain very ill but are determined to get to the top!  Fair credit to them.

Day 7 - Wednesday 8th April 2015 - Summit Night - Karranga Camp to Kosovo Camp climb to 4800mtrs with a finishing height of 4800mtrs - distance 9km - 9hrs trekking

Jonas our Guide Leader is very well known and is currently working with the National Geographical Association to climb the highest 7 peaks of the world and because of this we will be allowed to walk further to the summit today and shorten our summit night walk. We will be able to climb 'the slab' before darkness which will give us a two hours head start on summit night - TONIGHT!  We have an early tea and settle down for an evening sleep before we are woken up at 2300hrs.  Kili day 7

Day 8 - Thursday 9th April 2015 - Summit Night - Kosovo Camp - Summit - Millennium Camp climb to 5895mtrs with a finishing height of 3800mtrs - distance 16km - 15hrs trekking

We set off at midnight and with a head-torch each, we climb to Stella Point in time to see the sun rise. We then regroup and set off towards Uhuru Peak.  It is at this point sadly we have to send one of the crew back down as it is no longer safe for him to carry on. He is transported down in a trolley similar to the B&Q plant trolleys with two wheels, except this trolley has four porters running it downhill as fast as they can!!  We reach the actual summit at 0830hrs.  Once the pictures

Summit small

have been taken it is time for our first leg downhill!!. We trek for 8hrs firstly to Barafu camp for breakfast and then onwards to  Millennium camp - What a day!! - Everyone's knees and thighs are in bits! We meet up with our team member who was sent down early and once again we are a complete team. We are advised to go to bed early as we have a 0530hrs start to our final destination - Mweka gate.

Day 9 - Friday 10th  April 2015 -Millennium Camp climb to  Mweka Gate; 3800mtrs with a finishing height of 1800mtrs - distance 16km - 6hrs trekking

As promised we are awoken at 0530hrs and we set off to the Mweka gate for our final reception and certificate presentation.

We trek to our final destination where we are greeted by the support team (51 of them) who are singing and dancing. After our two long sessions on downhill trekking, everyone's knees and thighs are in bits (to say the least), but dance we did!!  The singing was more like screaming!!.

We finished dancing and screaming and received our certificates, drove to the hotel, had a very much needed shower, discovered how stinking our clothes were, packed our bags, drove to the airport and had a beer and a feed before flying home - What an adventure!! 

Summit view

During this whole adventure NOT ONCE did we hear anyone moan or not want to help one another.

May the Team, the Foundation and Stuart Turner Ltd Thank you for your support during this whole event.

Thank you!

 

ST Foundation Logo

 

Written by Stuart Turner at 16:00

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