Sunday, 8 July 2007

Hell and High Altittudes...

Won't slow us down.
Matt and I are safely back at base level after an amazing 5 days on the tallest mountain in Africa.
Needless to say we are both a wee bit knackard, however we are both in high spirits.

Our journey began 5 days ago.
The two of us, 4 porters, one cook, an assistant guide and our guide, Safiel, piled into a van and drove to the Muchme gates.
There we unloaded, signed in, met some other teams and finally started our much antisipated hike to the 'rooftop of Africa'.
4 hours of relatively easy hiking through lushous rainforest, we were at camp...
We were shocked, the climb was going to be easy if this is all Kili had in store for us...
It wasn't.
6 AM wake up call the next morning, breakfast and then started our grulling uphill hike some 2000 metres. We left well ahead of our porters, as they had to pack up but not an hour into the hike they passed us.
These porters are amazing, they carry everything on their heads, sometimes some 50pounds, as they navigate the wyndy and sometimes quite challanging trails.
Matt and I arrived first at the camp, it was quite the stroke to our egos, the mountain was ours for the taking...
6AM day three quickly changed our minds. Hiking up to a lava tower some 4,600 metres up, then back down through a valley to our camp, which lay 600 metres below...
Both Matt and I were not excited for the slow decent through the glacier fed valley to the camp, knowing that every step down ment we would have to climb again tomorrow.
The camp site was amazing, they all were, but this one especially. The glaciers lay above us, looming some 2000metres above, and the forest below, what seemed like 4000metres straight down.
We were awe struck and spent some much needed time in God's presense as we gazed at His emense creation.
Our guide snapped us out of it a little while later while explaining our route the next day, all he had to do was point to the monsterous wall beside us and both Matt and I felt like mush.
It was one of those trails you should be tied in for, and as we embarked it the next moring we both hugged close to the walls.
The wall climbed what looked like a vertical 200metres above the campsite, with the only thing to break your fall being the forest canopy the 4000metres down.
We made it however, and the view was amazing.
From there it was another 3 hour push to the next campsite. The longest day in my books and much of it was strenous uphill, meet by hazardous downhill, and then again more uphill.
Some 20 mintues from camp however we stopped for a much needed game of target practice on some rock trail markers.
We made it to camp, napped, ate and were awoke at 11 sharp for our summit attempt.
Headlamps ready we snaked our way up the switchbacks from our camp, we passed some other groups but everyone was set one watching their feetwork and keeping their minds off the cold, biting winds.
It was 4:00AM when we reached the top, it was time for the final push to the summit, Uhuru Peak, the tallest point in all of Africa.
We pushed for another 30 minutes fighting fatique, -20 degree winds and he slippery glacier which lay below our feet.
We fought and won,but it hurt.
The mountain stripped us of most of our pride and we made a hasty gateway after a few photos.
Altitude sickness hits hard and fast. Matt started to feel it near the summitt and we needed to get down.
We decended back down to camp, skating along scree slopes, the accent took 5 hours, the decent not even an hour.
From there we headed quickly to the basecamp.
27,500 feet in just over 12 hours,
We're both back in the hotel now, one day early but very thankful.
The high altitude camping, freezing temperaters and rock hard beds are the things that memories are made of, however we're quite happy to be resting our heads in a hotel tonight.
We have a couple days in town yet, we fly on the 11th, home on the 12th.
We're both ready to be heading home.
We're both feeling well, kings of our own worlds and are getting along great.
That's all for now.
Grace, Peace and Blessings,
Brent (& Matt)


peace said...

Great post Brent - we love the details... congratulations on reaching another goal in your travels!

See you on the 12th!

Jamie and Judy

Brock said...

amazing times dude.
makes me want to go and conquer it.

Judy MacD said...

SOOOO happy to get the news that you made it up and back down safely.. can't wait to hear the stories and see the pics. You guys are great!! Get some well deserved R&R.. don't miss your flights.. we are anxious to welcome you both home! love, j

rkucheran said...

Incredible Brent!!! Check that one off your list.

Robert Kucheran

Katie Marie said...

That sounds nuts, Brent and Matt! Way much harder than crossing the Pacific. You are our heroes. I am so proud of you both. Congrats on finishing. I can't wait to go hike it sometime in the future! Take care, and have a safe and relaxing trip home.

From, Ang and Katie