Me!

OK, so this is a bit scary – I thought I was half way to being computer literate, but it appears not! I have never created a blog before, and so am learning this on the hoof. Please therefore bear with me for now while this gets up and running. I am assuming of course that I can delete this later if I want to – right?

So a few things about me:

OK – I am 45 years old, originally born in Jarrow, Tyne & Wear. I live currently in a place called Blewbury in Oxfordshire, which is a village that until a few months ago I hadn’t even heard of. I have spent very little time on mountains, although I had a passionate love of the Lake District from when I was younger, and I used to spend a fair bit of time there. I have been up the likes of Scafell, and Helvellyn (my favourite mountain, and a good pull on the legs, although since you could put about 7 Helvellyns on top of each other to make one Kilimanjaro, it is really a very small thing in comparison), and Ben Nevis, but nothing higher than that other than on a cable car. I have done effectively no walking up hills of any kind for about 15 years, the odd walk up the likes of Caer Caradoc in Shropshire excepted. I probably have none of the kit that I require, and not enough physical ability, to get to 20,000 feet! So this whole thing is as scary as it is exciting.

I decided on the 28th August 2009 to climb Kilimanjaro, and what follows is my record of all the decisions I have to take and what happened along the way. I have decided to try to keep as detailed a record as I can. Any comments from anyone, good or bad, are gratefully appreciated!

12 thoughts on “Me!

  1. Do you mind me asking if you were happy with Henry’s company? Would you recommend it? I am considering doing the trek with him. How on earth did you find him anyway? With me, it was just pure luck. There are so many operators. Thanks.

  2. Hi Sky. Short answer to your question is yes. And longer answer is that I would recommend him without hesitation.

    I found him simply by googling “climb mount kilimanjaro” and not knowing at all what I would come up with. When I had read his website I went and bought his book, and I was hooked. I did look at several other companies too, but Henry was just great – I was a pain with asking all sorts of stupid questions, and he came back to me straight away every single time, even at weekends. Him coming to see us at the hotel before we set off was the icing on the cake (ok, so he happened to be in Arusha at the time, but even so he most certainly didn’t have to.)

    They have great equipment, great porters and guides, and you get fed as if every meal is your last. All of the organisational aspects were great. You see quite a few other companies on the mountain – Team Kilimanjaro seems to be affiliated with Henry’s lot, and the East Africa walking company looked good too – didn’t fancy any of the others very much at all though. Everything for me went great, so I would unhesitatingly recommend him.

  3. Thanks very much! I figured as much – I got a good sense from his website but also from your blog. But needed to confirm. I am impatiently waiting for his book – slow at amazon.ca!

  4. Found your blog as I was googling to try to figure out why Sweet Caroline is sung during Oktoberfest. My niece recently got married, and the groomsmen sang the song to her at the reception because her name is Carolyn. Long story short, I can only concluded (after reading your blog post about Oktoberfest) that it’s just a fun song made even more hysterical when doused in gallons and gallons of beer.

    Your blog looks interesting, and I will certainly return to read about your Kilimanjaro trip. Cheers!

  5. Pingback: 2010 in review « To Kilimanjaro (and beyond?)

  6. Hello, just a few questions about your trip to Oktober fest. Did you use a company or just book flights and accommodation separately? We are thinking of going for 7 days, any benefits of going either the opening week or closing week? Any other opinions would be helpful? Ta

    • Hi – I just booked accommodation and flights separately, as I had some hotel points I could use. The hotels in Munich are expensive anyway, and during Oktoberfest can skyrocket. The festival itself is free to get in (other than tent seats in the evening – see below). I don’t know about the differences between opening and closing week other than potentially the weather, which changes there at the end of September, so you could find it a fair bit cooler/wetter at the end than the start, if that sort of thing bothers you. Of course inside the tents who cares!

      The other thing to note is that the tents are free in the day, but reserved in the evenings. There are companies who do trips (some which combine camping) with some tickets I believe. When we were there we begged and cajoled people to let us on their tables, but it didn’t really work, and there were only two of us – people book up their tickets well in advance (many will be already sold out), and so if you want to stay until the evening (they are open until 10.30pm) then I would book, particularoly if you are going for a week. A week is also very brave – you must have a stronger constitution than me!! Best of luck, and if I can provide any other help then do let me know.

  7. Hi,

    Can I ask how fit you were before starting the Everest trip? Or if you done any fitness training before hand? I am considering this in the next 2 years.
    A very good, honest account of your time there. I did feel for you stuck for 6 days waiting for a plane – we experienced this in the Bolivian jungle a few years back.
    With thanks,

  8. Hey,

    your bog about the Everest Base Camp is a very pleasant read, thanks for that! Excuse me if you have already done it (just direct me if you have), but I would really like to see something about your chosen equipment list. What I mean is; did you make the right choices, what let you down, what couldn’t you have done without, what would you bring given a second chance. Although you’ve made this trip in 2011, and thereby probably not writing much on this particular blog anymore, many future trekkers (including myself) would find such information incredibly useful. I haven’t really found anyone online providing these details and this blog seems the perfect place to do it.

    Just one more thing; I notice you used the Deuter Guide 35+ for the track. How was it? I’ve just bought it.

    p.s. I’m starting my “adventure of a lifetime” together with my girlfriend in October this year and I simply can not wait.

    – Rob (Bern, Switzerland)

    • Hi Rob – thank you for your kind words. There was a post on the 15th October called “Kit List for Everest Base Camp”, which details literally every item that I took. Let me know if you cannot find it and I can send a link to it directly.

      I have to say that I used everything that I took, without exception. I think I made overall the right choices, and I would say that if you duplicated what I took then you wouldn’t be far off. There are so many essential items, from a 3l Camelbak (or lots of Sigg bottles), to purifying tablets, to good layering (my merino wool layers were fabulous, they can be worn day after day without getting too smelly :)). I found my buff indispensible, and my woolly hat, and my gloves, and then my thermal top and fleece. I don’t think there is anything I particularly missed, but you cannot have enough energy, so more of those would have come in handy! Take finally the best camera you can – the pictures you will take will astound you!

      The Deuter 35 rucksack is a fantastic piece of kit too – I wouldn’t take anything smaller, and the pockets in the lid are great for snacks and other stuff that you might want to get your hands on quickly.

      I hope you have a fantastic time on your adventure in October. Seeing Everest for me was simply a life changing experience, and I can’t put it any better than that. Any advice or help I can give you, however small, just let me know -it’d be a total pleasure 🙂

      Very best wishes, Chris.

  9. Hi,

    I love your photos! I have a question – my man loves mountains and I wanna give him a pressent. We renovated a flat and above the couch is empty spase. Can I have your original pictrure? of course, I pay for it, because I am in love with your picture “Panorama looking down the Khumbu Valley from Kala Pattar – breathtaking” 🙂 Please, can you send me it?

    Your blog is interesting – go on!

    Karin (Czech Republic)

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