Alison, Ray and Matthew Montgomerie are climbing Kilimanjaro over a 7 day period in June – 5 days ascent and 2 days descent. 50,000 people climb Kilimanjaro every year, usually between January and March but this team are, as with everything, constrained by the Scottish football season!!
At 19,000 feet, the mountain is unusual in the steepness of the ascent and the main issue is accommodating to altitude. This is because the higher you go the greater the change in air pressure which affects the ability to take in and absorb oxygen, causing you to have symptoms of anaemia-headaches, sickness, fatigue and difficulty exercising! The trick is to ascend slowly, slowly to allow for adjustment. There are 4 routes. We are ascending via the Lemoso route where there is a 64% chance of success in reaching the summit. The shorter routes (5 days) have only a 27% success rate. Longer routes 8 days, and over, have 85% success. We are assisted by a guide, a cook and several porters who very kindly carry your bags and set up your campsite-tents eating area etc. So, 5 star service without the pool and palatial surroundings! Temperature during the day is 22 degrees in June. At night this can fall to -7 as you near the summit. So generally wearing nothing during the day and every item you possess at night! On summit day you leave camp at midnight so that when you reach the top you see the sun rise over the African plains and then immediately descend. This means that on day five into six you are awake for 36 hours and walking for at least 24 hours in total. Tough going as you are virtually walking at a snail’s pace.
We have booked by ourselves but may be part of a bigger party; we will find that out on arrival. Given the numbers who climb, we are bound to meet other adventurers (idiots?).
The family are hoping to raise money for the IMC charity to help fund-raise a local boxing Gym in Saltcoats and also raising money for the Kris Boyd Charity for mental health. You can donate by following THIS LINK (Just Giving).
We wish them God’s blessing as they face quite a physical challenge and look forward to hearing all about it when they return.
(3rd June 2018)