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Journeedia | December 14, 2018

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Let’s talk about… our climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro

Let’s talk about… our climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro
Eliana Gramer | Larissa Peifer

In a short interview the both of us tell you how we felt during our climb, what the best and the toughest part was and if we would ever climb the highest mountain in Africa again.

 

For me the best moment was…

Campsites“every day when I arrived at the camp sites. You felt how much you had done and achieved and how – at the end of the day – you will be rewarded for this. Each day it was getting tougher and harder to reach your goals and seeing the camps even from a distance meant you pushed yourself a bit further again – and this feeling is hard to explain.”
Summit“reaching the summit? I guess that answer would be a no-brainer, since this was what the whole climb was supposedly about. And it was very impressive and really beautiful up there. But the best moment was, when about 1.5 hours after starting the descent we met Eliana and Amani coming up on their own way to the peak (and seeing that Eliana had not given up, though she had been mighty frustrated about having to split up beforehand).”

The toughest part was…

Toughest Part_1“the actual summit day. I struggled, as I have never done before in my life. Every meter that I walked on felt unbelievably hard. Unfortunately at the end, my body was unable to cope with the exertion and I collapsed. But until this point, fighting my way up to Stella Point, giving everything at the end, was the toughest part of the entire climb.”
Toughest Part_2“neither the hike nor the altitude. Surprisingly, I felt pretty good, no headaches, no sickness. It was finding myself in a situation where I had to quite suddenly face that this fun little „Mt. Kili“ adventure was not all fun, but could turn pretty serious pretty fast.”

Let’s talk about the food – my favorite meal was…

Food_1“beef with cooked banana. I was surprised how well that tasted. Nevertheless, our cook on Mount Kilimanjaro was amazing – so every meal was fantastic.”
Food_2“porridge for breakfast, pancakes and chicken for lunch, and plantain and meat stew for dinner. They say you might lose your appetite while hiking at this altitude. Well, I didn’t…”

Let’s talk about the shower situation – there were none, so…

Shower_1“the only thing we had was a bowl with warm water each morning and afternoon to wash our hands and our face. But you’d be surprised – after a few days, it doesn’t really matter anymore that you haven’t showered for so long since you can share this experience with everyone else.”
Shower_2“you have to make do with a little bowl of warm water twice a day. Which is perfectly fine the first two days, on the third and fourth day you start to get a little self-conscious about your state of hygiene and the rest of the week you just stop caring. Which does not mean that you’re not extremely happy about a hot shower once you’re safely back at your lodge.”

Let’s talk about the sleeping conditions – a week in a tent…

Tent_1“can get quite exhausting at the end. Especially when temperatures are dropping below zero and even though you are covered up in a very warm sleeping bag, not being able to sleep in a bed, can debilitate after a few days.”
Tent_2“is also not really a problem. It is not like sleeping on top of twenty mattresses and twenty feather beds and not getting a good night’s sleep. No, it means sleeping on a camping mat, feeling cold, and getting about no sleep at all during the night. But you get used to it really quickly, catch up on some sleep in the afternoon (when it’s still warm) and, curiously enough, never really feel the lack of sleep during the hikes.”

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro means seven days (of)…

SevenDays_2“no shower, no bed, exhaustion, great food, a wonderful team, meeting new people, and valuing the ones you have.”
SevenDays_1“doing the exact same thing every day and still getting excited about it. It also meant not thinking further than each day’s goal. I decided to not care about reaching the summit, because for me it would not lessen the experience if I didn’t make it up there. So the rule was not to worry about summit day till summit day (which can be difficult if you share a tent with someone who is quite keen on discussing every aspect of that day from the start).”

I would climb Mt. Kilimanjaro again, if…

ClimbAgain_1“I would feel fit enough to climb it. The walk up the mountain showed me how far I can go and I don’t know if I would ever be able to achieve an even higher goal than I already did. I wanted to climb all the way to the top, which I missed by about a hundred meters in height but nevertheless, I know now what I am capable of doing. So if I ever feel I have forgotton that – I might climb it again.”
ClimbAgain_2“I come to see it as a challenge again. I hope this does not come across as me being arrogant, because this time it truly was a challenge. Maybe not in the physically tiring way that I expected, but a challenge none the less. Which means, I have to find the motivation to hike up there a second time – maybe to another summit? Maybe along another route? Maybe when I need to remind myself that I am capable of walking up to 5.895 meters?”

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