Mount Kilimanjaro: Take it slow and conquer

By June 2, 2015 Travel

If climbing a mountain has been on your bucket list, take a trek up Mount Kilimanjaro to satisfy the inner adventurer.

Pole Pole. That’s the only phrase, and philosophy, you need to know to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro.

 

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Pronounced pol-ay, and said twice, this Swahili phrase means slowly. If you follow the instructions of your guide to ‘pole pole’ you have a great chance of finding yourself 5895AMSL atop the world’s tallest free standing mountain.

At six days to the summit and back, it is not insurmountable for the non-hiker, yet has enough edge (specifically on summit night) for the adrenaline junkie.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is truly unique. As the mountain is situated just three degrees south of the equator, it is the only trek that takes you through virtually every climate the world has to offer. From rainforest to arctic (there’s glaciers at the summit) it is a climatic smorgasbord, with temperatures ranging from a high of 20 degrees on the first day to as low as -17 degrees at the peak.

Each year yLead takes on the mountain with 20 young at heart Australians and an expert team of guides from Zara Tours. Taking the Marangu route, the yLead group are joined by a team of over 40 porters and guides to take care of them.

This year, it could be you taking on the mountain with yLead for new years!

The first few days are fairly cruisey as you make your way through the forest and then the moorland.

Day three calls for an acclimatisation trek and half days rest to ensure the best chance at summiting the mountain. This allows the body to prepare for the high altitudes and also spend some time stretching and relaxing our muscles in prep for the summit.

AT 10.30PM on summit night you are woken by your guides. It’s time to put on as many layers as you can because the temperature is sure to drop below zero as you make your way to UHURU Point, 5895AMSL. By the time 11PM strikes you’ve smashed down a nice warm cup of Kili tea, some busicuits and popcorn and you’ve taken your first steps towards the summit.

Pole Pole – Slowly – you make your way to the summit.

After the long trudge through the night, you sit at Gilman’s Point sipping the most well earned hot cup of tea you will ever drink as you watch the sun rise above the clouds.

 

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Where on Earth would you rather be?

Approximately 2 hours later you arrive at Uhuru Peak. By this time you may have vomited on yourself, you may have a headache beyond belief, but no matter what struggle you have been through, there is absolutely no feeling in the world better that that of taking a selfie right in front of the Kilimanjaro, Uhuru Peak sign, 5895AMSL.

And that’s all there is time for, a quick selfie and group shot, and then its straight back down the mountain. With every meter lower that you travel, the better you begin to feel.

 

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Finally, after a few hours of trekking down from the summit, you make it to base camp. All you want to do is sleep, but there’s no time for it. It’s time to pack your bags and get lower, down to the next camp where the air is thick, your guides have cooked you a delicious meal and your bed is ready for you to collapse into.

It’s your last day on the mountain and although your muscles are tired and sore, you trek the last 8-10 hours to the bottom gate. Congratulations, you just summited Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest free standing mountain in the world!

It is the best feeling in the world. The trek to the top is a mental and physical battle. Anyone can make it, no matter what fitness level or age (you will run into people from the age of 15 to 60+), as long as you follow the philosophy – Pole Pole.

 

Cannes Red Carpet Dresses

 

The Mount Kilimanjaro Climb is growing in popularity, with 25 000 people attempting the summit each year. It rates highly on many bucket lists, and when paired with an African safari and an exotic trip to Zanzibar, it makes for a once in a lifetime adventure!

Time to take on the mountain? Join us for our Tanzanian Immersion and tick it off your bucket list!