…with the alternative title of “Peeing your way to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro”.
Why that, now? Well, altitude sickness is your main enemy up there – and drinking lots and lots and having it come out the natural way again flushes some CO2 out of your system and so helps avoid the problems. Luck and genetics probably have a big hand, too.
My wife had a bout of the sickness when we first reached 4600 m at Lava Tower in dreadful weather – wind and hail. Altogether, she had two tough afternoon hikes on the way to Barafu camp – the base camp. But she fought through them and earned a lot of creds and respect from our guide and porter team.
The other main secret in getting there: Pole Pole. That’s Swahili for “slow slow”. And that is necessary!
I didn’t get hit by the altitude until very shortly before Stella Point on the final leg up. But at the top, I had a pounding headache, some nausea and for a short while saw double of everything. Exactly as our guide had said: you may feel like you just had 500 beers. And the summit hike was brutal, hard, long, and cold – we started out with head lamps and max. warm clothes. But thanks to our two brilliant guides on the mountain, Joseph and William from Zara Tours, we got there. And right in time for the sunrise, too!
But there in the tent, I collected energy for what was to be the 6.5 hour hike up –
Heroes – David Bowie
Waiting for Dawn – Sinne Eeg
The Healer – John Lee Hooker / Carlos Santana
Love Me Two Times – Joan Jett
Ain’t No Cure For Love – Leonard Cohen
As Long As You Follow – Fleetwood Mac