AT our meeting on Thursday, September 8, the chairman introduced Robin John, who gave an entertaining
AT our meeting on Thursday, September 8, the chairman introduced Robin John, who gave an entertaining and informative talk about his 2005 climb of Mount Kilimanjaro.
The talk was illustrated with photographs of the five-day trek and a diagram showing its height relative to the highest peaks in the United Kingdom as well as the route to Uhuru peak, the summit.
He also mentioned the significant impact global warming is having with the dramatically reduced size of the glaciers.
Kilimanjaro is an extinct volcano situated close to the equator on the Tanzanian border. It rises 5,900 metres above sea level through five climate zones with progressively less vegetation: rainforest, smaller trees, heather and scrub, rocky terrain and scree.
It is important to take the climb “pole, pole” — slowly, slowly — to acclimatise to the diminishing oxygen supply which is only at 50 per cent for the final stage.
Altitude sickness is a risk and of the 11 climbers in Robin’s group, two were unable to complete the climb, both on the last stage to the summit.
The final climb takes place at night, leaving camp at midnight to arrive at the summit just after dawn, spend a few moments there, then return to camp before darkness falls — a 15-hour day.
The climbers are supported by a large number of guides and a local back-up team who take on all the portering, setting up camp and catering for the group.
It is their help which makes the climb possible.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, October 13 when the speaker will be Richard Kingston, talking about “Antiques and the influence of tea”.