Kili Weather

Kilimanjaro Factfile

At 19,340 feet, Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the only one of the seven summits (highest mountain on each continent) that is accessible without mountaineering equipment and experience.

It's the highest freestanding mountain in the world and one of the largest volcanoes, dormant rather than extinct.

On the summit, the lungs can only absorb half the amount of oxygen compared to sea-level.

The summit at Uhuru Peak is more than 1,600 feet higher than Everest base camp.

Estimates vary, but around 20,000 people attempt to climb Kilimanjaro each year. Almost half fail to reach the summit.

Thursday, 8 February 2007

Early days

With hindsight, the run up to Christmas wasn't a good time to initiate this blog. A combination of the holiday and a bout of 'flu over the New Year meant my training programme was curtailed for almost a month. Blogging time was limited by my attempts to catch up with work and life in general once I had recovered. I resumed training two weeks ago, and was surprised at how little fitness I'd lost, expecting to be almost back to where I started in October, but both lungs and legs seem to be working at almost pre-christmas level. My training at the moment consists of a daily climb up (and down, of course) the three hundred vertical feet from lowest to highest point of the farm, a distance of about half a mile. I wear my daypack, a Karrimor Trail 25 containing 15lbs of ballast and walk on tip toe for 200 steps on one of the steeper sections.

I've been for longer walks in the hills some weekends and plan to do this at least once every two weeks. Last Saturday, a beautiful crisp sunny day, I climbed Lord Hereford's Knob and Rhos Dhurion, two minor peaks in the Black Mountains, a distance of about six miles. The views were stupendous across three counties of England and Wales, with the Brecon Beacons and minor hills rising like blue islands from the white haze of mist that covered the lower lying ground. The scene reminded me of a chinese painting, with the silver ribbon of the river Wye winding between the hills. The ground remained hard all day, thawing only where the sun's rays had fallen since early morning. It was slippery going downhill whether the ground was soft or frozen, ice and mud being almost equally treacherous underfoot. When I looked at the map on my return home, I was slightly disappointed to discover I'd only climbed a total of 1000 vertical feet during the course of the day.

The plan is to increase both mileage and height of climb each time I take a weekend walk. I also intend to go swimming once a week, although it is rather time-consuming to make the 24 mile round trip to the nearest swimming pool. I may join a gym for some upper body strength training, but that's another 24 miles to consider.

Today's news that British Airways is introducing a one piece luggage limit next week is a blow to my plan to take warm clothing to Tanzania for the porters who carry the climber's gear up Kilimanjaro. I'd more or less decided not to fly direct to Kilimanjaro with KLM via Amsterdam because of the history of lost luggage on this route. Climbing without all my laboriously gathered expensive kit would definitely not enhance the experience, so my preferred route would be to fly directly to Nairobi with BA and then take a shuttle bus to Moshi. Being limited to one bag means I won't have much room for extra fleece jackets and trousers. Luckily, I'd chosen a frameless daypack which fits within BA's cabin baggage limits -- a deliberate decision to sacrifice a little comfort on the climb for the certainty of having the real essentials safely with me at all times.

I haven't yet decided upon a date for the Big Climb, but will have to work out my itinerary quite soon. And my progress towards the goal of climbing to the roof of Africa will be regularly posted on this blog from now on.

No comments: