Hydamaka, Lynda – Kilimanjaro Climb

July 19, 2018 | Andrea Rempel

We woke up at 11pm on our 6th day of trekking and slipped out of our sleeping bags fully clothed with our cold weather layers, ready for the -12 degrees that was awaiting us outside our tents.  We sipped on hot water, clutching the cups to warm our hands and nibbled on biscuits. 

The adrenaline running through our veins in the anticipation of what we were about to do, took over our bodies and our stomachs did not complain.  We had warm mittens with hand warmers, gators over top of our laced up boots, balaclavas covering our head and chin, headlamps lit, 3 liters of water in our daypacks; we began our ascent to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.  Pole, pole (slowly, slowly) one step in front of the other, drink some water, pole pole… It was a clear sky and the moon was crescent and glowing orange.  There were millions of stars above us and as we looked back there was a trail of headlights glowing like fireflies, from groups below us slowly making their ascent to Uhuru Peak too.  We could feel the thin air as we sucked it into our lungs, hearts pounding hard in order to deliver the oxygen into our working muscles.  Pole, pole, the scree slowed us down, but did not stop us.  Our chest muscles were working very hard as our respiration increased the higher and higher we went. Pole pole, drink your water, one step in front of the other.  We had acclimatized very well so far, and this was the final crescendo.  The sky slowly started to get brighter, the stars faded, and our guides started to sing.  We paced ourselves with the mesmerizing sound of their rhythmic African voices.  It was hypnotizing… Pole pole, our steps were in rhythm with their song.  After 5 hours of ascending, we arrived at Stella Point 5,685m.  I was arm in arm with my 14 year old son. This is what we have been training for. The sun had not fully risen yet, we had about another hour to go to the top.  Pole, pole one step at a time.  The sky got brighter and brighter and the pink, glowing glacier at Uhuru Peak was in sight.  It was surreal, magical, breathtaking and exhilarating.  We wanted to sprint to the sign at the top of the summit, but our legs and lungs kept us in rhythm.  We did it!!! 5,895m (19,341 ft).  The glacier at the summit was majestic, the crater was magnificent.  It was beyond words.  We stayed at the top for 20 minutes, not wanting to leave, but knowing we had a long descent. We were all so exhilarated we could hardly utter a word.  The smiles on our faces said it all.  We all accomplished a long sought after dream.  Until next time…