Summit day on KilimanjaroFebruary 12, 2015
The hardest goal I have ever set before myself was to climb the world’s tallest freestanding mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro. I had no previous climbing experience, but I saw Kili as an opportunity to achieve greatness.
After four days of climbing for eight hours a day, day five started at midnight in order to reach the peak by sunrise. Only the stars in the sky and the snow around us were visible. I remember singing with our guide “Jambo Bwana, habori gani?” to stay awake and moving.
Around seven in the morning, I slowed down. I was barely moving my feet from exhaustion and lack of oxygen. I kept thinking of my friends and family at home who were proud of me for attempting this feat as motivation to continue. Mike, my new friend who joined me on the climb was behind me yelling at me to keep moving like a coach would in high school sports (actually, Mike coaches cross country, so exactly like a high school sports coach). I needed it. Xang, another guy I was climbing with from China tried giving me his gloves when my fingers went cold, but they were cold from a lack of blood circulation not temperature. I give my team of climbers, LX6 as we called ourselves, huge credit for helping me on my journey. After reaching Stella Point, I knew I had to keep ascending despite my exasperation. I started long before my teammates to the top, but they passed me quickly. I was moving slowly.
An hour later, at 5,895 meters, I began to cry at Uhuru Peak because every limit I thought I possessed was shattered. The five minutes I spent at the top of Kilimanjaro were so exhilarating; every ailment left my body. I was the happiest I have ever been.
However,I still had two days to climb down. Not long after leaving Uhuru Peak, I passed out from an over exertion of my body. Fortunately, an Argentinian man passing by had seen me fall and gave me oxygen. He let me throw one arm around him, and we climbed down together for a few hours until I was able to continue on my own.
Despite the set backs on the Machame Route, I do not regret my experience on Kilimanjaro. The sites were breathtaking, and I felt like I was in a fantasy novel as I gazed upon melting glacier waterfalls set next to pineapple plants. I was waiting for one of Maurice Sendkak’s “Wild Things” to appear in this beautiful and exotic place. This adventure helped me learn dedication and perseverance like no previous task. I have the confidence that I can accomplish any goal.
Some of my Kili team!
Sometime during the second day of climbing. Hanging out above the clouds.