Sam joined a group of 17 people, mostly from Euromoney PLC, a city of London based media company to climb Kilimanjaro earlier this month. 15 of the group, including Sam (and his mum, Ros) summited the 5,895m high Mount Kilimanjaro at 7:15 am Monday morning, 15th June.
In order to reach the summit the group had set off from Barafu camp (at an altitude of 4,600 metres ) at midnight on the 14th June. Wearing their head torches, about 8 layers of clothes against the cold and wind, and clambering over boulder-fields and up steep inclines of slippery scree, they finally made it to Stella Point, which is a few hundred feet below the summit – the sun was coming up and after six and a half hours of walking in the dark, uphill at high altitude – the sunrise was a beautiful and welcome reward!
Another 45 minutes of walking uphill led Sam and the team to the summit. By the time the group reached the summit, everyone was feeling the altitude in one way or another! Some of the symptoms felt by the team included nausea, headaches, dizziness and shortness of breath as the air is very thin at altitude.
Sam trekked at the front of the group and although he was encouraged by the mountain guides, he took every step himself to get to the summit, despite suffering from nausea several times on the way up!
The photo above shows the team holding the banner they took with them, at the summit. According to the team temperatures at the summit were very cold, at least minus 10 degrees on the summit and so unsurprisingly they didn’t stay there very long before starting the descent.
In readiness for attempting the summit the group spent four days trekking from the Machame gate of Mount Kilimanjaro and camping at ever higher altitude. Each day they walked for between 6 and 10 hours, through rainforest-type jungle, through increasingly arid and semi-arid desert zones. In fact the Machame route passes through five different ecosystems and in all – from the ascent through the Machame gate to the departure back at the Mweka gate, the distance walked is about 62 kilometres. The Machame route is considered one of the tougher routes but also the most scenic. Some of the trekking is quite physically challenging, including scaling the Barranco wall which is a precipitous scaling of a boulder face, using scrambling techniques – and importantly – not looking down! Sam loved it!
So far the group have raised £47,000 for their chosen charity, The Haller Foundation. Their weblink for donations is here:
https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/capacityclimbers as you can see the “sub group” has raised £23k of the £47k group total. The Haller foundation is a small charity that brings sanitation programmes and clean water to remote rural communities. The funds will be used to benefit local communities.
It is believed Sam is one of only a handful of people his age to have successfully completed the summit climb and is possibly the youngest British boy to have successfully followed the Machame route.