Explore's Head of Tailormade Jenny Hendry recently made it to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. Here she tells us how that felt and whether she'd consider doing it again.
Jenny and her husband at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro
Summit night and nervous anticipation wasn’t the only thing building up. So was the snow. Outside our tents, mingled among the harsh rocks of Barafu at 4,700m, the ground had whitened with four inches in a couple of hours.
This was an added dimension for the tough push to Uhuru peak. On top of the altitude and cold it was going to be slippery. We had bedded down at 6pm to prepare. Dozing, rather than sleeping, from excitement.
Tucked up in down jackets, headtorches casting a caterpillar-like trail, our group of 10 kept a steady pace to the crater rim, panting with the height, stopping briefly to refuel and rehydrate.
Time compressed. Suddenly it was 5am. Five hours had flashed by. Stella Point appeared and with it the sun began to lift the darkness. A quick tea-stop then on again, following the gently sloping summit path.
Sunrise came and with it Uhuru peak and the view. A white fluffy blanket of cloud, far beneath us, stretched for hundreds of miles. Only the peaks of triangular Meru and jagged Mawenzi poked through.
Huge hanging glaciers were the backdrop as triumphant photos were taken. The snow long since stopped; the skies turning from indigo to azure.
The summit was jubilant. I was touched by the magic that comes with such an achievement. To stand on top of an entire continent, knowing that no-one else is higher at that moment is both humbling and ecstatic.
This was the culmination of six days of important acclimatisation through forest, heather moorland, alpine meadow, rocks and arctic desert. That the entire group made it to the top and back safely was testament to the effectiveness of the longer Lemosho route.
With it came the realisation that the Lemosho route is so much more of a rounded Kilimanjaro trek experience, bringing with it the best views, a real variety of environments, stunning valleys and the famous Barranco Wall scramble. We had climbed high and slept low, taking it pole-pole; the right recipe for mountaineering success.
Two days later, we looked up from the bustle and heat of Moshi, with a special understanding and respect for the volcano. Quiet satisfaction mixed with the wonder of an amazing shared experience.
Will I go again? Places like this can be addictive…
The camaderie while on trek adds to the triumphant feeling
Jenny travelled on our Kilimanjaro - Lemosho Trek For more info of making it to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, check out our page focused on it.