Voltaren Kilimanjaro Challenge has successfully
completed its mission in climbing Africa's highest
summit, Mt Kilimanjaro, 5895m, in Tanzania. The Voltaren
team of disabled mountaineers comprised David Lim
(Singapore), Peter Steane (Australia), Paul Pritchard (
Wales ) and Jamie Andrew ( Scotland ).
The team faced various
setbacks including unseasonal rain an snow higher up the mountain for days;
altitude sickness in one member and two failed recconnaissance missions. The
Credner Glacier route, their original way up the peak proved hard to locate in
the low visibility and sustained mist.On Jan 17th, the team switched their
goal to climbing the mountain by the Western Breach Wall, a steep climb, not
often taken by climbing groups. At several steeper sections, Paul Pritchard
was belayed with a rope for safety by Pete Steane. The team continued to
support each other; aware of unique weaknesses of each other's conditions - as
well as their respective strengths.
Leaving the Arrow Glacier
camp ( 4800m ) at 1am on Jan 18th, the team climbed to the crater rim of
Kilimanjaro through the darkness and snow; reaching the 5700m rim after about
10 hours. After a short rest, the team climbed to Uhuru, the summit of
Kilimanjaro; reaching the top around 3pm. They did not see any other teams on
the mountain and enjoyed the solitude that is rare these days on Kilimanjaro.
Descending, the team dropped 1800m to their campsite at Karanga; making the
summit day an exhausting 23-hour day - the final six hours was made in the
dark, and with almost all the team badly dehydrated.
The team in now resting in
Moshi, having descended on the 20th. The climb has been covered extensively in
the world media including CNN, BBC Swahili and Tanzanian national TV and radio
news. Singapore media can meet the team or obtain more information when the
team ( excluding quadruple amputee Jamie Andrew who will be flying back to the
UK from Nairobi ) when they arrive on an Emirates flight at 1935hrs on Jan
24th. Messrs Paul Pritchard and Peter Steane will be in Singapore for one day
only ( 24-25th ) The team wishes to thank their main suporters: Voltaren
Emulgel, Reuters Foundation, Marmot - Mountainworks. Video footage as well as
still digitalimages are available upon the team's return.
In the meantime, wishing all
our Chinese friends a Happy Chinese New Year! David Lim, Expedition Organiser
Jan 2004, 2pm (Singapore), 3,000m Mweka Camp: It's
morning here. We are packing up and moving down to Mweka
Gate and then catch a ride to Moshi town. Long last, a
hot bath and food. We hope to reach Moshi by tonight.
Lots of aching muscles but we are happy. The local press
seems taken by our expedition. I take it that they have
never seen a more motley group of disabled climbers
Jan 2004, Karanga Hut: From the summit, Kibo, we
descended 1,400m down to camp and rest. We took a
different route, going down the other side of the
mountain. We started our descend at about 3pm and we
stopped just before midnight, making it a 23 hour day,
from ascent to descent. In between, we chewed a few
cereal bars. We were looking very hungry when we finally
stopped. Tired... and dehydrated. Did the necessary,
boil water, drink, boil more water, drink some more and
eat some stuff before crawling to rest in the tent. All
of us felt great from the climb. Tired but good.
Our next move will be to leave the mountain via Mweka
Gate and then off to Moshi town for a good wash and
fresh meat!! slurp. David
18 Jan 2004, 3pm,
5,895m Kilo: All of us reached the summit, it is now
3pm. It has been a long hard climb up but it is worth
it. The view is fantastic, breathtaking. We are the only
team on the summit. Standing on the top of Kilimanjaro
has been a challenge, the scree
and snow gave us a bit of difficulty. The sun's still
shinning and it is a beautiful day. We now face the
prospect of a long descent down the mountain. Our plan
is to descent and camp at Karanga Hut. David
17 Jan 2004, morning, 4,600m, Lava
Tower Camp: We left Shira Camp and made our way up
to Lava Tower Camp yesterday. Some other climbers went
up to Credner Glacier yesterday for a look, and I think
they found the going there tough too.
Spent the night here. It started raining and snowing
yesterday and it kept on going for about 15 hours. Last
night, you would see us huddled around feeling rather
morose, damp and cold. It was a cold night and because
of the rain and snow, much of our stuff's frozen this
morning. Lava Tower Camp is now covered with about 3
inches of snow. The hill in front of us looks covered
with more snow, and we might be ploughing through as
much as 12 inches of snow higher up.
The sun's up this morning and around camp, you will see
us hanging our delicates up to dry in the bright sun :).
Morale's up too, a change from last night's low.
Our plan now is to get some of our stuff dry, make our
way up to Arrow Glacier which is about 200 vertical
meters above us. This should be a 2 hours hike. Rest at
Arrow Glacier and we will begin our summit attempt at
about midnight tonight. David
Jan 2004, 3800m Shira Camp: It was a bit eventful
yesterday. Paul developed a mild case of altitude
sickness. So we moved down further to Shira Camp at
3,800m for the night. He seems better this morning.
Yesterday, Pete and I, went for a hike up to Credner
Glacier from Shira Camp after moving with the rest for
the team down to Shira Camp. We climbed up about 500
vertical meters to about 4,610m, reaching the edge of
the glacier, before it started raining and snowing.
Visibility was limited as the clouds came down. Looking
at the wicked terrain there, our conclusion was that we
have to take the Western Ridge route instead of the
Credner Glacier. The alternative plan.
It just stopped raining, and it looks like a fine
morning today. Our next move will be to move up to Lava
Tower Camp again before making a summit attempt.
Everyone have had a good rest last night. We still think
a steak would be good for dinner.... :) David
13 Jan 2004, Moir Hut, 4,200m:
We woke up to a wet and cloudy day today, it rain
sporadically during the rest of the day. We ended up
rather moist and damp, and a bit gamey. Spent a rather
uncomfortable night at Lava Tower Camp. We didn't sleep
too well so we decided to move down today to about
4,200m and set up accommodations for the night. At a
lower altitude, we hope that we will get our required
beauty sleep... :) We are now at Moir Hut, a small
campsite midway between Lava Tower Camp and Shira Camp.
This trail requires some climbing over scree slopes and
boulders. A bit tiring.
Tomorrow, we will begin the tough part of the climb. We
will make our way to the base of Credner or Penck
glaciers. Then, we plan to spend some time acclimatising
and planning our next move. We anticipate steep climbing
over snow and rocks, it will challenge every one of us.
On the 16th, we will attempt the glacier route and if
everything goes well, 17th Jan will be summit day.
We are all feeling a bit tired today, because of a lack
of sleep last night. Other than that, we are all OK. All
our limbs are holding up to the punishment. We look
forward to some hard climbing tomorrow.
12 Jan 2004, Lava Tower Camp,
4600m: Reached Lava Tower after 4 hours of hiking.
It's lunch time here, about 1:30pm Kilimanjaro time.
Nothing much to eat except trail food. Where is that
impala steak when you need one.
We are all in good shape, a bit of sore muscles and a
few blisters. We are in good health. Jamie, says to tell
all that he is fine and doing well. Pete, wants meat
There are some Austrians here at Lava Tower Camp too,
they seem impressed by our trekking skills. They ain't
seen nothing yet... :) The views here are great,
offering us a good look at the glacier route that we
planned to take. Tomorrow, we will rest and acclimatise
at this altitude. David
11 Jan 2004, Shira
Plateau, 3,800m: We spent the day hiking and
acclimatising. We did a 4 hour hike today. Tomorrow, we
will be climbing up to Lava Tower which is at 4,600m.
The weather here is challenging. Mornings begin with
clear skies, great climbing weather. But for the
afternoons, we see clouds moving in and everything gets
moist and damp.
The last few days have been interesting for all of us.
We are getting to know each other's strengths and
weaknesses. Each of us have different impairments and
this has been a learning experience. Each of us struggle
against our own limitations everyday. And in spite of
it, all of us are in great shape both physically and
mentally. (BTW : We have not run out of our stock of bad
jokes yet!) David
Friday, 9 Jan 2004, Machame Camp, 3,000m: We are on
the trail! Our walk began at Machame Gate, a short way from Machame Village, a
small community at 1,500m. Reached 3,000m after trudging up the Machame Route
for about 5 hours through mountain rainforests. Tomorrow we will make our way
through scrubland to Shira Camp where we will rest and acclimatise. Tonight,
we camp here at Machame Camp, which is on the Shira Plateau. The route here
was nice, the plants and cool air reminds me of the route up Mt Kinabalu in
Sabah. We are all warming up our muscles and gearing up for the climb ahead.
All are well ! David
Wed 7 Jan 2004, Nairobi: Africa! Here at last in
sunny Nairobi. Temperatures at 22 degrees C make it very mild even when the
sun is shining. We're picking up the rest of the team at 8pm and then heading
for a big pow-wow and eats at the famous Carnivore restaurant where three
items are on the menu: Meat, meat and meat. Tomorrow , we leave for the
Tanzania border and Moshi, our base of operations for Kilimanjaro. En route,
we'll stop at lunchtime at the Upendo Leprosy Centre to see the place and meet
the good people that we have been in contact with for 2 years
Word from our operators say a lot of rain has been about ( unseasonal ). That
means a good dusting of snow on the mountain - which should make it less icy
on our desired route - a good sign
Crocodile steak anyone?
Checking out, David
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