THE KILIMANJARO TRIP 2022
After a very successful first time on Mount Kilimanjaro, in October of 2021, the demand for another trip was loud and clear. This trip had showed many people back in Dubai that this challenge, while difficult it was something that was achievable and could be ticked off a bucket list.
The Physical Training Company partnered with Summit Expeditions, Dubai's number one mountaineering operator and planned a bigger, better attempt for almost exactly twelve months to the day.
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The prospect of combing to the roof of Africa with the number one company for personal training in Dubai and the number mountaineering company in the Middle East, attracted many new names to sign up. However, for a small group of those who attempted to summit in 2021 and failed due to fatigue or illness, this trip was a chance at retribution and a second bite at the giant cherry.
Eight names reappeared on the team sheet. Eight determined people who had the attitude that when they set themselves a goal, they achieve it. These people were on a very special mission all year. They knew what to expect from the mountain. For a first timer the volume of new information as to what warm clothes to pack, what will the food be like, what the tents and campsite will be like, it can all be overwhelming at times. Accordingly, the summit night is a particularly intense experience.
For the first time people will wake up on the stroke of midnight in the dark cold African night somewhere around four and half kilometers high in the sky and start their approach to the summit in the dark with nothing but the ilght of their tiny headlamp shining on the heels of the person in front of them. Seven to eight hours of this while enduring the sensations of altitude before they even think about the summit, not to mention the subsequent 4-8 hours back down to camp for that final resting spot campstie.
Doing it for the second time brings a level of experience and calm that can only benefit the climber and position them as a beacon for those who have questions and anxiety about what's in store for the rookies.
The logistics of this time around were different too. The Lemosho Route was selceted which is 7 nights and breaches the crest of the volcano at Stella Point which is 5756m, only 139 vertical metres short of Uhuru Peak at 5,895m. The support was double the size with nearly a 1:1 ratio of guides to hikers on summit night.
The infrastructure was completely self supported which meant the night before summit night we could camp 200m higher on the mountain in Kosovo camp rather than the usual Barafu Camp. This extra 200m were achieved by the group front loading their second day with a 11 hour hike so they could get higher on the mountain early while the group had lots of fresh energy.
The last masterclass in Summit Expeditions' chosen strategy came in the form of three separate departure times on summit night. While fastest group would leave 1am with the objective to reach Stella Point on the crest of the volcano ridge just after sunrise, around 7am, the slowest group would leave at 11pm, two hours earlier and a middle group would leave at midnight.
This was executed with the aim of the entire group coming together in the last 200-400m of the mountain, instead of the group separating as the night with on. This would also enable the guides make on the fly changes and break away individuals could rejoin as small groups for safety and moral support on their pursuit of the summit at different speeds.
So on Thursday morning, 6th of October one of the most amazing mornings unfolded as 26 of our happiest hikers made it to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. For many of this group, the week long treck to the summit of Kilimanjaro was the hardest physical endeavour of their lives (so far).
The entire week there was amazing demonstrations of never giving up, mind over body goal focused discipline and determination.
Not only did the challenge create memories and bonds for life, but we also raised over 200,000AED with Gulf For Good and Summit Expeditions whilst doing so.
This amount also beat the previous year's fundraising total of AED140,000 for the primary school in Tanzania called The Enjoro Primary School. This year's money will also go to Enjoro Primary school, towards building a fresh water drinking station and plumbing as well as a playground for the most vulnerable children including those with disabilities.