To the Roof of Africa
For any adventurous spirit a hike up to the highest point on the African continent is a bucket list trip of note. I have been lucky enough to spend time in some of the most pristine mountain ranges on the planet including the Himalaya, the Andes and the Caucasus. That being said [pull_quote]I simply cannot wait to watch the sun rise over Africa[/pull_quote] I simply cannot wait to watch the sun rise over Africa from high up on the slopes of Kilimanjaro!
With a team of hardened and determined adventurers one might be fooled into thinking achieving the summit is a given. This assumption would be wrong. The effects of the thin air on climbers and summit hopefuls is brutal and has turned many a fine athlete around long before summit day even arrives. As we progress up the mountain and especially above 5000m everything becomes infinitely more difficult. Changes occur to almost every body function and most of these changes are both unexpected and unwelcome! Almost everyone is affected on some level at altitude, and fitness, age, or any marker cannot be used to explain a person’s ability to adapt to the diminishing levels of O2 in the air.
Not only will our team have to cope with their freezing and battered feet, but as the condition of their feet worsen, so they will also start to feel the affects of the altitude. The first signs are usually that of headaches, ranging from slight, to severe migraine type pain. I would best explain it as the feeling if someone were to place the back of your head in a vice and slowly apply pressure.
A loss of appetite is often next on the list, this can be accompanied by nausea and difficulty sleeping. A general shortness of breath is another sure sign that you are up in the thinner air and every little task becomes something of a serious mission. Pitching a tent can quite literally exhaust you to the point of having to take a prolonged rest afterwards.
I have heard it being said that the altitude eventually starts playing ‘mind games’ with climbers. It affects you both emotionally and of course physically. The perfect storm so to speak.
The comfort we have is that with a lead guide of Sean’s caliber and experience, and with the expertise of Doc Ross on board, our team are in brilliant hands. With lots of caution and strong will we will all stand on top of Africa, freezing feet and all!