Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Operation Certain Death

Some of you already know this but my brother Justin and I as well as two others (so far) are climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in October.

This was all decided over Christmas. It appears that my brother is having a bit of a mid-life crisis and in November was talking about buying a motorbike. He obviously realised that this was a stupid idea and instead came up with this African adventure.

At first I thought he was joking when he asked me if I wanted to come. While he is fit and healthy (although a bit of a wuss with bones you could break by staring at them hard) I have never been known for my physical prowess or level of peak fitness. This combined with my total lack of climbing experience made me initially think this was a crazy idea. Then Justin explained that climbing Kilimanjaro actually involved no climbing and it was a hike. A difficult one I'll grant you but a hike all the same. No climbing experience required!!

Now, as Kilimanjaro is the highest place in Africa the fact that getting to the top is 'just a hike' is no real comfort. It is almost 6000m (20000 feet) high and therefore altitude sickness is a real issue. The temperature can drop as low as -25C and you are walking up hill for 5 days in a row. It is no easy thing to do. I was still worried about me level of fitness. This is an expensive trip and I want to make it to the top!!!

By an amazing coincidence I have been taking my fitness much more seriously recently. I have been rowing between 5 and 10km 5 days a week since last September and have been eating very healthily, thanks to my excellent cook of a wife. I've not smoked for years and I don't drink a vast amount these days. My general level of fitness has therefore greatly improved. I was still not sure that the trip was for me but Justin convinced me that in 10 months I could get to the correct fitness.

So, it was decided. Tanzania here we come!!

This week we have paid the first part of the trip. There is now no going back. On October 5th we will fly out to Tanzania for about a week to 10 days and climb a mountain. There is much preparation to be done and there is loads of stuff to buy, all costing a fortune, but I think it will be worth it. I will also be stepping up my training as soon as the weather gets a bit more pleasant and Amelia is a little more settled. Lots of long walks are in order and luckily we have the entire Peak District to climb.

There are so far 4 of us on the trip. Apart from myself and my brother our step father David is coming and a friend of Justin's is coming too. We can have about a dozen in our group and can add people at any time until we leave so if you feel up to the challenge feel free to come along. :-)

I am really excited about this adventure. It is on a par with going to a Grand Prix which means I am VERY excited! I just hope my camera can handle the low temperatures.

Of course Phil has christened the trip 'Operation Certain Death' and I am sure that Victoria is worried that I might die, but I'm sure all will be well. Only about 15 people a year die getting to the top so how dangerous can it be? :-)

2 comments:

Victoria said...

I notice that my new kitchen & the family holiday haven't had a mention since Christmas, thanks Justin!

Tracy said...

I am extremely impressed. And completely speechless :)

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