Here we go again

After the uncertainty of the last few weeks, I’ve finally re-booked to climb Kilimanjaro in January. I’ve learnt my lesson from previous training and I won’t be overloading my back pack and pounding the streets with it. I’ll be using walking poles – although I don’t like them – as they can reduce by up to 25% the impact and strain on the leg joints. I’d be silly not to use them.

The route is a different one to that I had originally planned to do. This one winds around the ‘back’ of Kilimanjaro on a little used trail and takes an extra two days. The key to acclimatisation is time and slow ascent. Two days is a valuable addition to that acclimatisation time, and the route ascends and descends so fulfilling the other acclimatisation goal – climb high, sleep low. Still, summit day will start at around midnight and it will take at least 7-8hrs to get to the top. On that day will will climb around 1100m. To give that some perspective, Snowdon is only 1083m above sea level and if you climb it from the visitor centre/car park, you only climb around 700m. Pen y Fan is a mere 883m from sea level and if you take the popular route from the Storey Arms, you only climb around 430m. ¬†Add to that the fact that we are climbing from 4800m to 5900m and it becomes a different matter.

It’s great that I will be accompanied by a friend from the last base camp trek this time. One of the things I realised on that trek was the value of friends to help you along on the tough bits. I’ve also had lots of support from friends here, and in work. It’s easy to underestimate the value of that support. Thanks everyone, in advance.

I’m off now to make up a training plan. I’m sure you’ll read about here in future posts.


Thunderbirds are go!

Just got the all clear from the doc to say I can go on the trek.

Because I suffer from asthma brought on by allergies (ironically, I’m allergic to Rufus but he’s very good and tries not to make me sneeze too much) I have to tick the box on the medical questionnaire that says ‘asthma’. And that instantly requires the autograph of a friendly doctor. My doctor is well aware of my adventures and so he understands.

I saw him this afternoon and during the consultation, he had to take a phone call from another doctor. When he’d finished, he said that the doc he’d been talking to had done Kilimanjaro too. After he’d signed the form, we talked about diamox – the medicine that can help with acclimatisation. He said they were using viagra as an aid to acclimatisation now. I mentioned that on my first trek to Everest Base Camp,. I’d taken part in drug trials and I found out later that viagra was being tested (I don’t know what I took and I didn’t have any outstanding problems afterwards!) and I happened to mention the name of the doctor. My doc laughed and said the phone call was from the same doctor! It’s a small world.

So I’m off. All I have to worry about now is the small matter of training. Watch this space for the adventures of Rufus and Dave on as many hills as possible.