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Monday, 22 February 2010 15:55

Climbing Kilimanjaro: Blog 1

Written by Tim Hornby
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Our very own Tim Hornby (who works for us in IT Support and helps us out when our computers go wrong) has just found out that he is to climb Mount Kilimanjaro this year! He will be taking part in our Shira Trek and has agreed to keep a blog of his preparation and the climb itself and will update us about once a month until the climb at the end of September 2010. (I am currently also trying to encourage him to take a blackberry or iphone up there so he can send us live up-dates during the climb...) This is the first in Tim's series of blogs, oh and here is a photo of the cheeky chappy...

Wow. Kilimanjaro. Wow. I don’t like to make a mountain out of a mole hill, so to speak, but Kilimanjaro is a pretty big deal. I still can’t quite believe that in just a little over seven months I’ll be getting a shot at climbing the summit of this monster. Is it the highest mountain in the world? Well, no. But is it the single toughest mental and physical challenge I will have ever faced in my life? Erm, no again actually, it’ll be the second (there was the time I stupidly took on a five kilometre fun-run with a terrible hangover dressed as Santa, but I’m expecting Kili to be somewhat more enjoyable than that). Am I looking forward to it, a little anxious and very excited? Definitely, yes. Oh yes indeed. What now, though? I’ve got seven months to prepare, but I don’t even know what to prepare for to be honest. I love trekking and I’ve got some pretty worn boots that have accompanied me to some pretty amazing locations around the world, but I’ve got a feeling they may be a little too worn now. New boots will have to go on the list and I’ll have to sort that out soon to give myself the chance to get them properly worn-in. I can’t think of any other equipment that I’d have to acquire this far out from the departure; it’s not like you have to wear-in your sleeping bag or socks (or do you?). It’s lucky that I work here at Explore: even in the IT department we get influenced by the travel vibe and experience around the office (and there’s a lot of experience here). It’s great when I mention to my work pals, while waiting for the kettle to boil for a cuppa, that I’m setting off to Tanzania – in a continent I’ve never ventured to before – to attempt the summit of Kilimanjaro. I’m not even surprised when my esteemed colleagues just smile because they know I’ll be up for the challenge (I think that’s why they grin), rather than gasp and look at me in awe as I would hope and expect my Grandmother, for example, to do. There are ex-tour leaders working in the office who have done this numerous times before, but that doesn’t detract from the excitement and potential pride I feel about doing this, instead I’ll pick their brains and put their experience (and equipment, perhaps?) to good use. For example, I didn’t know that there seems to be very little correlation between your level of fitness and whether you’ll be struck down by altitude sickness. (Perhaps I can go and get that kebab tonight after all!) It’s early days yet: I’ve not long known that I would be going on this trip, so I haven’t even read the tour notes for it yet – big mistake really as I don’t know the specifics of what I’ve let myself in for! This would be a big “no-no” if I didn’t have sadistic (here’s hoping they don’t read this) managers who think I may be capable of it and know the itineraries inside out. What I do know is that I will need to get some equipment that I don’t currently have (such as the aforementioned non-worn walking boots), I will need to be in pretty good physical shape and that the potential altitude sickness may not allow me to make it to the top, regardless of the quality of equipment or whether I manage to develop a six-pack (unlikely) before the end of September. The trip appears to have come up at the right time for me. I’m soon to be 28 (so perhaps old enough to be [marginally] wise and young enough to get [mildly] fit) and I was already entered into a half-marathon for the end of March and have been working pretty hard to get my fitness levels up because of that. Unfortunately I usually utilise my gym membership for a few months, then lose interest again and stop going, slowly turning back to my terrible (yet terribly enjoyable) habits of drinking, smoking and eating too much and not doing an ounce of exercise. My “Grand Plan” to battle this is to enter myself into several different events over the coming months to force my hand with keeping fit. Perhaps this is overkill; I don’t think it’s necessary for you to be able to complete a triathlon to climb Kili, but at least this way I know I’ll have one out of three (equipment, fitness and altitude sickness) licked by the time I fly to Africa. With that in mind, there’s an internal email going around Explore at the moment asking if anyone’s interested in a place on the South Downs 100KM walk in 30 hours in July. Sounds like a perfect stepping-stone to me… More updates to follow as the days and weeks go by, so check back  for updates on how I’m getting on with preparations for my most anticipated trip of my life so far! Tim

Read 14863 times Last modified on Wednesday, 05 June 2013 10:30
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