If you thought last week's Year 9 achievement of scaling Little Meru was impressive, just wait until you read about our incredible Kilimanjaro climbers this week!
Our willing teacher adventurers, Ms Elvinah Obuya, Mr Andrew Flanagan and Mr Rob Wallace, gave us this report:
A small but determined groups set off for this year's climb: just five Year 10 boys and 2 girls along with Mr Flanagan, Mr Wallace and two gap students, Moritz and Jackson, and Ms Obuya. Not to mention the small army of porters, cooks and guides.
The climb from Marangu Gate to the first three camps went well. All the students were strong and kept up. No-one dragged or moaned. The weather was dismal but not awful; dull and overcast with drizzle and sometimes heavier rain but never torrential rain and everyone seemed adequately prepared for it. Of course, due to the weather, the views were limited but without that distraction we could really get to appreciate the remarkable flora; club moss, giant groundsel, liverwort Mountain Forest.
As we reached the last camp, we finally rose above the clouds and got some spectacular views of Mawenzi, and the Massai stepp below us. On arrival at Kibo hut, everything looked good for a spectacularly successful trip. However it is above 4,500m that altitude strikes and the next morning the class woke to find that their spritely, male teacher leaders had transformed to decrepit old men. Fortunately, Jackson and Moritz retained the sprightliness of their youth and, along with Ms Obuya, successfully led the majority of our team to the crater rim. With a few adventurers succumbing to altitude sickness and turning back at or before Gilman's point, Rajvir, Jaivir, Janina and Pendo continued on and successfully made it to Uhuru Peak, along with Jackson and Moritz.
Back at Kibo hut, the rest of the group were recovering and, as the last of the summit team returned, we were ready to set off for Horombo Hut where we all rested for the night.
Next day, descent to Mandara hut a mere 3 hours away seemed too tame so we strode powerfully the whole of the rest of the way to Marangu gate managing the whole climb in 5 days rather than 6 and securing ourselves a comfortable night’s sleep in clean sheets. Such bliss.
"Never again!" said most of us but already the seeds of the next trip are in our minds. Bring on next year!