Two-time Grand Slam tennis champion Garbiñe Muguruza summits Kilimanjaro as she decides to do something a little different during the tennis off-season and took on the incredible challenge that is Mount Kilimanjaro.
Known as the Roof of Africa, Kilimanjaro is the highest peak on the continent at 5,895 meters (19,341 feet).
Muguruza braved the five-day expedition in the freezing temperatures to finally set foot on the highest peak in Africa.
Some of the most difficult parts of the Kilimanjaro climb are the bitterly cold nights, which Muguruza affirmed in her social media posts about her journey: “We crossed waterfalls, rivers, icy rivers, caves, cliffs, and the hardest: frozen nights”.
She chose a good time to trek Kilimanjaro as temperatures have not yet reached their lowest points in early November.
Muguruza bravely ascended the mountain and, despite the strenuous journey up its sheer cliffs, successfully made it to the top.
The Brutal Summit
Muguruza and her group woke up extra early on summit day, which is always the longest and hardest day of the Kilimanjaro climb, to start the ascent of Uhuru Peak. This is the highest summit at a dizzying height of 5,895 m (19,341 ft) above sea level.
With icy temperatures dropping below -12º C, the party began their grueling journey to the peak.
Muguruza posted a picture of herself at the summit with the caption reading “We felt ALIVE! -12º celcius. TOP of Africa 5895 m. Thanks to my expedition and my guide”
The trek back down to Camp 1 took a further 16 hours – resulting in a brutal total of 22 hours of trekking on summit day!
The Struggle is Real
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a challenging and exhausting journey. While the experience is rewarding and unforgettable, it is not without its difficult moments.
“We climbed for 6 hours. At some point, I was crying when my guide told me to not look down at the 300 m free fall” – Muguruza reveals one of her struggles on the journey.
She also gives a shout out to one of her guides for helping to keep her awake on summit day.
“Special thank you to my guide for keeping me awake when I collapsed at the glacier.”
Why Climb Kilimanjaro?
According to WTA, Muguruza’s team had revealed that she had been planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro since summer. Muguruza was actually doing some research on the best beaches to visit in Africa when she came across some information on climbing the Roof of Africa. She then consulted her sponsor, Adidas, on what gear she would need and also spoke to some people who had successfully done the climb.
She decided to take on the challenging climb with a friend by her side and braved the tough journey in the freezing weather and increasing altitude.
More about Garbiñe Muguruza
Garbiñe Muguruza is a Spanish-Venezuelan tennis player who has won 7 singles titles. These include her two Grand Slam, or majors, wins: the 2016 French Open and the 2017 Wimbledon Championships. She has also won 5 doubles titles.
Muguruza moved to Spain with her family when she was 6 years old and started her tennis training at the Bruguera Tennis Academy near Barcelona.
In 2017, Muguruza bacame an Ambassador for Room to Read – an international education Non-Governmental Organization. She plans to help grow the impact of the organization in two key areas: early grade literacy and access to secondary education for young girls.
You can follow Muguruza on Instagram to find out more about her and see the incredible photos from her journey up Kilimanjaro.
For more inspiring Kilimanjaro summit stories and interesting facts, check out this article.