The team dressed in darkness and had a ‘breakfast’ of tea and biscuits after a few sleepless hours due to sub-zero temperatures and a combination of nerves and excitement.
They set off just after midnight for the 1200m climb to the ‘Roof of Africa’; moving slowly and steadily, zigzagging up the heavy scree that covers the steep slopes of Kibo.
Illuminating their pathway with head torches, the team concentrated hard on putting one foot in front of the other; looking up was soul destroying as the long trail of headlamps seemed never-ending!
Within a short time some of the team began to suffer from fatigue, dizziness, confusion and vomiting due to the high altitude and freezing temperatures.
The reduced oxygen and elevated heart rates made each and every step physically and mentally exhausting.
Recognising signs of deterioration expedition lead Rich immediately took charge; daypacks were surrendered to the incredible team of porters supporting the team to preserve energy for the remaining challenging hours.
The team spirit and fortitude was immense and a proud, emotional team reached Stella Point in time to enjoy a spectacular sunrise and views of Kibo and Mt. Meru.
With a massive 214m left to climb to reach Kilimanjaro’s highest point, Uhuru Peak, the team had to dig extremely deep.
Fighting the temptation to sleep, carrying injuries, crawling on all fours and willing their bodies to continue required huge mental stamina, but each and every member of the team reached the summit and ‘Conquered Kili’!
Tears, hugs and a team photo on top of the world’s highest freestanding mountain, where it was -25°c, was quickly followed by orders to immediately descend to prevent further deterioration.
The porters literally took each team member by the hand and ran them down the mountain, slipping and sliding on the loose scree to the camp 1200m below, where their journey had began several hours earlier.
A short rest and lunch was enjoyed before continuing their descent to Millennium Camp where the team would spent their final night on Mt. Kilimanjaro.