Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro - 2 - Physical Training


I started my training for Kilimanjaro with our KC11 team in April 2017, this about 9 months before actually going to Tanzania to attempt the mountain. 

The team’s training schedule started easily with a Sunday trek every week, but then we started to add more days gradually in our training days. 

Summer in Malta is very hot and humid, so this presented us with some “problems” - mainly to avoid the gruelling heat of the sun - simply solved by starting our treks at 5am in the morning! This didn’t really solve the problem, since in August we were experiencing temperatures of around 25 degrees at night and with the first rays of the sun it went rushing up to about 28 in a matter of minutes. 

Training with the team is great and there are opportunities to engage into more elaborate and longer treks, like the 2 day around Gozo trek or a 3 day trip to Sicily to climb Etna (I will add another post all about this soon). But also individual training is key. 

Learning to train, walk for longer distance, carry your day pack (with weight), being relatively on your own and learning more about your body, how to overcome pain, fatigue and “bad thoughts” is essential. 

On the mountain all these scenarios come handy. Sometimes you’re on your own, you’re tired, you’re in pain and only you yourself can “heal” those feelings. 

My suggestion is not to limit yourself to just group training, go out training yourself, do extra time at the gym - get disciplined. While I was in Kilimanjaro, there were times I really wished I was more disciplined and that I had trained more, but then all I could do was to suck it up and push on! 



Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro - 1 - How it started

I never thought I would be here writing this, but yes, I managed to climb a mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro

You may say, “thousands climb that mountain every year”, and in fact they do and this makes it look easy and so reachable, but it’s not. Many still fail to reach the summit and many are overwhelmed by altitude sickness or by sheer exhaustion. Kili is still a mountain and mountains are hostile places where, we as human beings are totally out of our element. 

“So why do it?!”. For me it was simply to do something different, to have a target and to prove to myself I could achieve something which not everyone (in Malta at least) does. Also, unglamorous & egoistically as it may sound, it was a target to get myself training again, loose weight and feel good and fit again. I am 41 years old, so to shed the extra pounds is not an easy task, but I felt the challenge would make it possible and in fact it did. 



I joined a Maltese run organisation, who prepare a group to climb Kilimanjaro yearly. The aim is not only to reach the summit of Africa, but also to raise funds for children in need and last years target was a nice €75,000 to build a kindergarten school in Wushwush in Ethiopia. So in April of 2017, I became a part of KC11 (Kilimanjaro Challenge team 11) 

From here we started training and fund raising, which were the two most important elements to prepare ourselves, all18 members of the group for the Challenge of the 5985m. Training details in the next posts!  

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro - 8 - Summit Night

On the 6th Day (if you are doing the Machame Route), you will arrive to Barufu Camp , which is the last Camp site before reaching Kilimanja...