Thursday, 24 June 2021

Henley Probus Club meeting

ROBIN JOHN spoke about his 2005 trek to climb Kilimanjaro at the club’s 409th meeting in

ROBIN JOHN spoke about his 2005 trek to climb Kilimanjaro at the club’s 409th meeting in April, held at Badgemore Park Golf Club.

He showed stunning photographic images from many parts of the area.

Robin has walked and trekked for many years and felt that ascending Kilimanjaro was a challenge he could meet.

To give a sense of scale, Ben Nevis is 1,330m compared with 5,900m for Kilimanjaro and about 5,300m at Everest base camp, which Robin also achieved.

From a distance, the volcanic mountain is always covered in snow, although climate warming is threatening the ice and snow accumulations every year.

At the start, the climbers and their local guides and bearers were in rich farmland close to the equator, which quickly became jungle, then smaller trees and scrub with cold nights.

Camp 2 was 1,000m higher and above the tree line. Camp 3 was that much higher and still days away from the summit. Camp 4 was made up of loose scree, no vegetation and was dry and arid.

Robin’s group of four women and seven men all reached the top of Uhuru (Kilimanjaro’s local name) other than two who suffered from altitude sickness and were taken down to a lower altitude.

The local guides and bearers took all the equipment, food and drink and even tables and chairs — all but one were men. Hot meals were prepared every day.

On other occasions, horses and mules are used to carry the loads.

Above Camp 4 was the last section of the climb. They left at midnight, following the person in front in the light of torches. They trekked for six hours to reach the summit ridge just as the sun was rising.

Glaciers near the summit were more than 10m high, having been formed over thousands of years, but are now shrinking due to global warming.

The highest mountain in Africa is a solitary peak and a goal for many men and women every year because it’s there!

It was a long slog down, initially over unsafe scree, reaching Camp 4 by midday where a meal awaited them.

It took one-and-a-half days to reach their starting point, wanting nothing more than food, sleep and rest and to ease their aching limbs.

Over six days, Robin and his fellow trekkers covered 75km and climbed 4,000m. Henley Men’s Probus Club meets at Badgemore Park Golf Club on the second Tuesday of the month at 10.30am.

For more information, visit henleyprobusclub.wordpress. com

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