Ed - Kilimanjaro Report
"The Kilimanjaro Climb was an absolutely challenging feat - and probably the toughest endurance project that I have ever undertaken.
Normally the training for any sporting activity tends to be the difficult aspect of the challenge. My training for the climb took 5 months and involved cardio work, running and definitely the most vital part of the training - power walking. In the closing part of the training I was walking up to 10 hours in a session! And that was not easy!
On the actual climb, which took me 6 days, you would think that the kind of training I did was enough to get me by without any problems - that was not to be. It was really testing, and there were days where we would walk up to 11 hours in a single day! Another challenging factor was the weather, especially the nights and the last two days when it was extremely cold.
The last night or summit night was the toughest. We started the ascent at midnight and it was a constant and unrelenting climb for 8 hours. And just 2 hours into the final attack to the summit, I got the notorious altitude sickness. Quite simply, your normal oxygen intake is reduced to only 40% because of low atmospheric pressure at over 5000 metres. I felt light headed, I had pounding headache, my legs were so weak and every step was a huge struggle. At times it was so scary I thought I could fall down any second. And I had to endure this pain and agony for the next 6 hours and in darkness!!!
Thanks to God I got to the summit in one piece. (Three of my fellow Trekkers could not make it which was very sad in itself.) But the feeling of excitement in getting there was unbelievable. You forget all the pain because of sheer sense of achievement and the amazing views and the terrain being at the highest point in Africa! The joy was worthy the pain! But the one thing that kept me going at the difficult and painful times was the reason why I was doing it! Supporting the Fiorentini Foundation and supporting the wonderful kids of Anna Fiorentini Theatre School!!"
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