Thanks to all my wonderful family & friends, my gear “wish list” is almost complete. I have borrowed a great sleeping bag, thermarest mattress and a Z-foam mat, so I will sleep comfortably. I received lots of last minute necessities – including a new headlamp, hut booties, water bottle and water bottle parka, liner socks, gaitors and toque. My husband gave me the most recent Garmin 910XT watch. It includes an altimeter and tracks the grade I am walking. I took it on a test walk, and the steepest grade I could find was on Montreal Street – 26%
Who knew one trip could require so many new items?!
I have been asked on a few occasions if I received my passport yet…..the wait is over. My passport arrived in the mail today, and has a Tanzania Visa inside! One piece of this preparation puzzle is complete!
Outward Bound Canada has started to blog about the 2014 Kilimanjaro Expedition. Each week, they plan to post articles featuring the participants that will be raising funds for OBC and climbing Kilimanjaro. I am the first climber featured 🙂
When we are on the mountain, they will continue to blog, sharing our journey on a daily basis.
Today I had my appointment at the Simcoe Travel Clinic. I have all of my prescriptions ready to go – Malarone (for prevention of Malaria), Diamox (to reduce symptoms of acute mountain sickness) & a broad spectrum antibiotic. I have an oral vaccine for traveller’s diarrhea ready to take 2 weeks before I leave. I also received vaccinations against Typhoid, Hep A and got my flu shot! Here’s to staying healthy during this adventure! 🙂
Today I applied for my Tanzania Visa. This process involves sending my passport in the mail – which is a little unnerving…but they promise me I will see it again. One more step in making my dream a reality.
I first learned about the opportunity of this adventure in November, 2012. I submitted my application video in April, 2013. It became a reality that I will be going to Tanzania in May, 2013. It seemed like a long way away…..
Two months from today – I start my adventure.
The reality is setting in. I feel like the majority of my preparations are falling into place – medical, fund raising, fitness training, gear, etc. However, the thought of being away from my family for 12 days is not getting any easier.
As I share my upcoming adventure with friends & family, several recurring questions arise. To the best of my “pre-climb” knowledge, I will answer some of those questions now:
How much weight do you carry? I will only carry what I need during that day’s hike. I carry my lunch, 2L water, camera, extra layers of clothing, hat, sunscreen, etc. It will likely be about 15 lbs.
What happens to all of your other gear? Porters will carry the majority of our gear up the mountain. I am allowed to bring 25 lbs of gear (including sleeping mats and sleeping bag) in a duffel bag.
What about the bathroom? There are public washrooms along the climb to the summit. I have been warned that they are less than pleasurable. Chagga Tours will provide our own, private latrine, which will be set up at each camp, inside a narrow little shelter.
How do you avoid altitude sickness? It is advised that I take Diamox starting a day before our climb, and every day we are climbing. The Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA) is the world authority on high altitude trekking and they state, “Trials with thousands of trekkers show that Diamox benefits most climbers adjusting to the increased altitude. A small minority of climbers experience no benefit.” It is also advised to drink 4L of fluids each day (and we circle back to the last question). Most importantly, we will be climbing very slowly, to allow our bodies time to adapt to the elevation.
What happens at Summit? It has been explained to me that every day on the mountain is leading up to Summit. We try to go to bed very early after Day 5. Day 6 will begin at midnight. We will hike, slowly, in the dark & cold with a goal to summit by 8:00 am. I cannot tell you the emotions that I feel – thinking about being at the top of Africa watching the sunrise!!!!!
Outward Bound Canada hosted a “Meet and Greet” for alumni and 2014 participants of the Reach Beyond Expeditions Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb. I met five of the eleven participants that I will be climbing with. We were able to share our fundraising successes (and challenges), training regimes and get to know our fellow climbers for the first time. One of the alumni told us that the experience is “like doing the hardest thing you’ve ever done – while nauseous”. The other climbers that I met come from various backgrounds, different parts of the country, range in age and experience. We all share a common excitement for this opportunity and can’t wait to meet again in Africa!
We had a presentation on gear and packing by an experienced climber. At the end of the night we received a “swag bag” with some Outward Bound promotional material. My favourite part of the whole night – I got a BUFF! As a true Survivor fan (guilty pleasure) – I am very excited to have a buff 🙂
Today I met Sarah Wiley, the executive director of Outward Bound Canada. She participated in the Huronia Triathlon (and won her age group!), so my family & I met her after the race to chat.
Sarah has climbed Kilimanjaro on a few occasions before. She shared with us that last year two of the ten climbers did not reach the Summit – but other years all of the participants did summit. We learned that for the ten participants and two OBC guides, there will be approximately 40 support people from Chagga Tours – Guides, Porters, Cooks, Wait Staff, one poor sole has the responsibility to transport our latrine.
Today I started the medical piece of this adventure. I had a doctor’s appointment to discuss necessary immunizations. There is a travel clinic in town, and I will have an appointment this fall. Moshi, Tanzania is ~3000′, so I will not be exposed to some of the tropical conditions typically associated with travel to Africa. I will need to make arrangements to have my anti-malaria medication and high-altitude medication with me on the trip.
Tonight I had a phone call with Sarah Wiley (Executive Director of Outward Bound Canada and expedition leader) and the other participants. There will be 9 climbers and 2 Outward Bound guides on the adventure. The other climbers are from across Canada. Amazingly, I realized that one of the participants was in my Physiotherapy class at McMaster! What a small world.