Friday, October 17, 2014

Kilimanjaro Challenge, 2014. My thanks to all the sponsors

The major achievement was getting deaf  Olympic swimmer Terence Parkin to the summit.
To the best of our knowledge, this feat on Friday 10/10/2014 at 07h20,
makes him the first South African Deaf swimmer to stand at Uhuru Peak.
You proved once again that the Deaf can do anything except hear!
I am certain that your students (and the staff) will be very proud of you
It must be said that his Olympic medal caused him some problems...
Not at the summit, but at both Kigali and Kilimanjaro Airports,
where security took an interest in it and examined it extensively.
Luckily, it was returned to him on both occasions.
I wonder what stories the security personnel told their families.

Most of the "spade-work" for this adventure
was done from my corner office with a view.
The Argentinean Bakery on the corner of 7th Street and 4th Ave, Linden.
They do the BEST croissants west of Jan Smuts Ave.
They also do a great health bread...
just for balance.

I have thanked our major sponsors extensively,
via my published Blog postings as well as in radio interviews.
It is now time for me to thank the smaller companies,
 who gave products or services to make the climb more comfortable and safe.

A surprise for me...
Rwandair had upgraded me to business class on the outward bound leg to Kigali.
Thanks Dennis!

Thanks to Carol Slab for making me a light coloured Kwand-hare.
The original one that she made for me, was too dark to take up the mountain.
To see what else she makes:

Although I did take my Pentax K5 with me...
and two lenses (50-200mm and a 10-20mm),
most of my pictures were taken on a Canon SX280HS.
I was most impressed with the fact that it behaved so well in the cold.
Even at -20C at the summit...

I have noting but love for this suitcase.
The amount that can be fitted into this 69cm S'Cure almost defies description

My thanks to Hi-Tec who supplied the team with boots.
These boots were the same ones that I used in 2006...
and once again they served me well.
I did not have a single blister!

This was the BEST jacket.
Given to me by Failte Ireland during my trip there earlier this year.
It was warm enough (with a Hi-Tec shirt underneath)  to wear to the summit.

Thanks to Penny at Cape Union Mart for the air-mattresses.
I was concerned that they would be difficult to inflate at the higher altitudes,
but I found that it only took a maximum of seven breaths.
Even at 4700m at Kibo Hut
They added an extra layer of comfort that made the nights bearable.
All of my climbing kit was also supplied to me by Cape Union Mart in 2006

It was thanks to our sponsors, large and small
that we got to see the start of sunrise from Gilman's Point on 10/10/2014

We stayed at this hotel in Moshi.
It was "basic" but the facilities were adequate.
There was hot water, but they did have ongoing problems with the power.
Would have nice to be able to connect to the internet from the side of the pool.
( There is free Wi-Fi in the reception area)
They do a really good pizza.

It was the 10th anniversary of the death of my Dad.
(and we reached the summit on 10/10/2014)
The actual anniversary date was 06/10.
He was with me in spirit, and I miss him every day.

Thanks to Simon ( and Bruce) for the T-shirts and baseball caps.
And the water-bottles...

Also carry bags for both Terence and I.
The Redged TSC-424 tripod, together with a RNB-1 head came in very useful.
I must thank Simon for lending me his personal solar charger...

Trevor Leigh from Ramrod was instrumental in getting us these.
The Mini-Maglite Pro+ was a must to light my tent with. 
One of the most versatile torches I have ever used.
The Gerber Octane multi tool came in useful in a variety of situations.
I had to remember to pack it in my check-in luggage for the flights 
as I did not want it confiscated
The Trail Runner worked well, while the batteries lasted.
Penlight batteries DO NOT like the cold.
Rather than carry spares, I had a second head light...
But luckily it was full moon and that helped.

The Travel Clinic supplied us with all the necessary vaccinations
and preventative medications.
And Yellow Fever certificates, that I often wonder about.
When was the last reported case?
I took anti malarial medication (Melinal)
I also took Diamox twice a day ( breakfast and lunch) 
to counteract possible altitude sickness.
I took Panado as well as a prophylactic.
The combination works as I suffered no ill effects at all.

Thanks to Penny Stein, we got all our medications supplied
To find your nearest store:

My thanks to James at Radio Today
for allowing me to promote the climb on my show.
This is second time that Radio Today has been to the summit

Rhona, the owner of Komatie gave us 2kg of biltong.
As a pure protein source it was ideal
After years in Emmarentia, they moved to 40 Greenhill Road, Greenside
Tel: 011 646 8412

Rembrandt Butchery in Linden gave us dried wors for all our training hikes,
and for the summit attempt. (about 8kg in total)
Many thanks...
My favourite butchery...
They can be found in 4th Ave, Linden
011 888 4663

To find out more about the school,
visit their website:

This was the itinerary for our 2014 Challenge...
Put together by Wild Frontiers.
It is the second time that I have successfully reached the summit with them.
Thanks to Debbie and her staff for putting this together...
and for absorbing some of the cost.
Highly recommended.

The Rongai Route
Sunday 05 October 2014  
After an early breakfast, a senior guide will conduct your climb briefing.   
You will then be driven to Rongai Gate, where you will meet the rest of your guides and porters. 
 After the formalities at the gate have been completed, begin your ascent to Simba Camp(1800m) 
 The climb should take approximately 2 to 3 hours.  
This part takes you through the cultivated area of the mountain, 
where you can see how local farmers tend to their lands on the slopes.  
Monday 06 October 2014  
Early in the morning, begin trekking out past the second cave, and on to the third cave.  
This should take you approximately 6 to 7 hours.  
The climb today is relatively difficult, taking you through forest and well into the moorland.  
Overnight at Kikelelwa Camp (3,800m).

Tuesday 07 October 2014  
This is an acclimatization day - you will hike further up the mountain, 
then return to third cave for overnight.

Wednesday 08 October 2014  
Continue ascending to Mawenzi Tam Hut, which should take approximately 7 hours to get to.  Overnight camping at Mawenzi Tam Hut (4,330m).
Thursday 09 October 2014  
Depart to Kibo Hut, which should take you approximately 4 to 5 hours.  
Settle down for an early night at Kibo Hut (4,703m). 

Friday 10 October 2014: 
Summit Day!!   
Today you will be heading for the highest point in Africa - Uhuru Peak (5,895m).  
You will be woken around midnight to commence the 5 hour hike,
 on heavy scree up to Gillman's Point (5,686m).  
You will be walking in the dark as the ground is frozen and this makes it easier to ascend this steep section.
 As you reach the Crater Rim, the sun should be rising to display Africa in all its glory beneath you.  
The views are spectacular and it makes the entire journey worth every step!
Continue another 1 or 2 hours to Uhuru Peak, along the wide paths of the crater rim, peering down onto massive glaciers shining in the morning sun. 
After a few photographs at the summit, begin your steady descent to Kibo Hut 
for a rest and some nourishment, 
then continue to Horombo Hut to camp for overnight.

Saturday 11 October 2014  
After breakfast, descend to Marangu Gate.  
You will be transferred to Keys Hotel for a well-needed shower and an evening of celebration. 
 Overnight at Keys Hotel 
Sunday 12 October 2014  
Your tour ends today after breakfast and you will be transferred from Keys Hotel to Kilimanjaro Airport.

Not once, but twice...
Once again, many thanks to all who made this possible.
Displaying Behind the Scenes_Master_JPG change.jpg
Publicity was handled by Di Sparks.
Thanks Di, not an easy task.


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