Climbing Kilimanjaro In Tanzania, Belfry Meeting, 9th February

By Norma Green

There is a link with the previous talk in that Nick Parks lead the small group including Jane and Peter Fairclough on this trip to Africa. Jane provided the excellent commentary whilst Peter ably controlled the slide show.

The first week is spent acclimatising in the Crater Highlands, walking to different camps and seeing the superb Ngorongora Crater. There was plenty of wildlife and interesting people to meet and villages to visit.

There are several routes for the trek to the summit (and the writer apologises for not being able to remember which one Jane and Peter took). Many climbers do not make it to the summit. Most have to turn back because of altitude sickness. To minimise the risk of succumbing to altitude sickness, Jane and Peter opted for the 2 week itinerary which gives time to acclimatise properly and so offer a much better chance of reaching the top.

The climb itself is varied, first with jungle then tropical meadows, unusual stone formations then along a ridge to the summit cone. What appears to be snow on the top of Kili is in fact glacier formations (retreating as with all others). The ascent to the summit sets off in the early morning so the first part is very difficult with only a torch for light. The walking is tough mainly due to the extreme altitude.

The top is called Uhuru Peak and after brief celebrations everyone starts the descent back in double quick time. Particularly in Jane's case as two Masai took an arm each and her feet didn't touch the ground!

Thanks to Jane and Peter for a very inspiring talk on a journey where they saw and did so much - wildlife, African culture, meeting lovely people and ascending the Roof of Africa.