Jul 31, 2006
|Dont let the title fool you. The climb up Kili wasnt just a walk in a Tanzanian National Park. Let me explain.
The night before the climb, I couldnt sleep, anxious...my mind racing with all the possible scenarios that could go wrong or right on the mountain. G sharp Jimmy (as in Jimminy Cricket) kept me up until the wee hours. Now I certainly dont have perfect pitch or a vast amount of musical education, but as I mentally hummed out the notes starting at what I believed was middle C, I came to the conclusion that the one-note wonder liked G sharp. I kept hoping he would fall over to an A or back to a G to break the monotonous melody, but he continued to serenade us and everyone else in our bungalow villa with the same, precisely punctual half note until around 3 am. A sort of musical version of chinese water torture.
Adam's updates will provide you with the day to day detailed account of our ascent, but I'd like to throw in a few comments of my own.
When you are climbing, especially at altitude, conversation pretty much peters off. The reason....you are focused solely on catching a proper breath. It was in my oxygen-deprived, forced silence that I again turned to music. There is a saying in Swahili "pole, pole koma cobe" (pronounced POLL-ay, POLL-ay comma Kobe...like Kobe Bryant, meaning "slowly, slowly like a turtle" or "I share your suffering" if just pole. In my delirium, I changed the lyrics to the oldie but goodie Wooly, Bully as follows:
Climbing up Kili
Gets a bit chilly
What they call baridi
that's cold in Swahili...
I won't bore you with the additional stanzas but I found it quite funny at the time.
Jonah I thought you'd appreciate the dity.
I think the key to climbing kili is finding the right pace for yourself. I found mine in a very, slow waltz...step, two, three, step, two, three...thus the title of the email.
So for those of you who may wish to attempt this endeavor in the future, here are a few tips...
1) When entering a long drop, place nose securely beneath shirt or other clothing item...or handkerchief sprayed with perfume....TRUST ME ON THIS ONE.
2) Forget mirrors...don't scare yourself. 7 days without a shower and your hair and clothes take on a life of their own.
3) Drink so much water that you have to wee at least once an hour...wards off altitude sickness. On the other hand, you'll have to take many jogs to the long drop at night.
4) Training program? Have one and follow it.
5) Give your tips directly to your porters. Do not trust anyone to pass them along.
The journey continues....