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Updates from Mount Kilimanjaro

Bell Media's Amanda Smith shares her experiences trekking to the summit

Day 1 

Jambo from Day 1 of the NABS Kilimanjaro Climb!

Before the day started I wondered what emotions I would be feeling today. I am very happy to say it is mainly excitement, but I am also a little bit nervous. I was warned ahead of time that today would be a day of “hurry up and wait”!

The drive from our hotel, Bristol Cottages in Moshi, to the main gate was 5 hours, with two stops of waiting throughout. One stop was to weigh all our gear and the second was our starting point, where our packs were weighed again. The climb itself went amazing. We started our journey in the rainforest and climbed straight to our first camp. It is simply amazing that the porters have everything set up and waiting before we even get there.

The scenery of the day was so spectacular! Unfortunately, photos don’t do it justice, but they will all be great reminders.

The team I am hiking with is meshing very well! I am sure by the end, we will be a dysfunctional family that knows way too much about each other!

Until next time, Amanda



Day 2

After an amazing breakfast (seriously these chefs are crazy good!) we continued our journey through the rainforest. Today was a very long day of climbing. The terrain was extremely steep – apparently, we signed up for this….

The guides who are leading our climb up the mountain are incredible. They will definitely get me up to the summit with their smiles and energy.

Again, the scenery was breathtaking, but I will say this every day I am sure.

We are sleeping among the clouds tonight and its definitely cold up here. But we’ve made it to the halfway point now, and we’re feeling great!

Until next time, Amanda



Day 3 and 4

Hello from the clouds!

Before climbing the mountain everything I had read suggests climbing the mountain in January is the perfect time to do so. The weather is generally great, warm and dry for a majority of the hike. Well I can say that is not so for us. Despite a few complains about the cold and rain we are moving along just fine.

Day 3 was the day we tested our bodies in high altitude. We climbed from Moir Camp to Lava Tower for lunch where we would eat at 15,000 feet above sea level. While breaking there for 45 minutes the guides monitored our vital signs and looked out for any signs of altitude sickness. I am happy to report that I felt great and passed with flying colours. The lunch they served was probably a huge help there. The chefs made fajitas that were amazing! Seriously Toronto restaurant quality. It still blows my mind they can make such amazing meals on the side of a mountain, and all without fire! After lunch we climbed down to just over 13,000 feet to sleep low at Barranco Camp. The idea is to climb high and sleep low to help prevent altitude sickness. We were welcomed into camp by all of the porters singing us Tanzanian songs. It turned into a great dance party! That is definitely a huge highlight of the trip.

Day 4 was a pretty simple trek we were out climbing for about 5 – 6 hours from Barranco camp to Karanga Valley. As usual the walk had amazing views and every time you looked up you saw something new. Saying that though you really can not look up or behind you without stopping first or you will for sure trip over something. Every night, because of the cold, we would all huddle into 1 mess tent meant for 5 people to play cards around a gas lamp and keep warm. Once the game was done we would run into our own sleeping tents and start the same routine again the next day. Most of us now have a new obsession with the card game Phase 10 – Thanks Chris! I will be going to buy that game when I get home.

It’s not easy writing blogs on the side of a mountain so bare with me if a few blogs go missing.



Day 5 and 6

A very cold hello from an unseasonably cold and raining Mount Kilimanjaro.

Day 5 is one everyone would soon love to forget! Not only was it freezing cold but it poured down with rain for about 80% of our climb. Thankfully the rain didn’t start until after we tackled the Barranco wall. That was was quite the challenge, lets just say one part of it was called the kissing rock because thats how close you had to be to the wall to make the next step. Once the rain started it did not let up until well into the evening. Travelling down slippery rocks and mud is definitely a challenge on its own but we were trying to be as fast as possible to get out of the rain. Once back at camp everyone was drenched, freezing, and not in the best of moods so it made for a pretty short evening. I highly doubt we will be able to wear any of those clothes again for the rest of the trip! At these temperatures they will stay wet until we reach the hotel.
Our lifesaver right now is the nalgene bottles filled with boiling water to put inside our sleeping bags to give us some warmth at night. It is the little things like that on the side of this mountain that give us great joy.

On day 6 we made our way up to Barafu Camp also known as Base Camp. It was smooth sailing on the trek. At this point we are in the Alpine Desert part of the mountain so all vegetation and any sign of life is now gone. Today takes sleeping in the clouds to another level, we are sleeping above the clouds tonight. As I was running from one tent to the next I caught a glimpse of the stars, I have never seen so many stars in my life. Breathtaking. Unfortunately that is not something I could take a picture of. We summit tomorrow and have a 4am wake up call to do so, so it is early to bed for everyone tonight.

Next time I write it will be after summit. Thank you to everyone for all of your support! I truly am thinking about all the support I have back home and it is helping me get up the mountain one step at a time.

Until next time,



Day 7 and 8

Summit day has finally arrived! To be honest it feels like I have been up here for almost a month.

We left in the pitch black this morning at around 4:30am. It took us about 10 hours to reach the top Uhuru Peek at 19,341 feet. That was the longest 10 hours of my life. I went through every emotion possible, struggled to catch my breath, thought my legs would give out under me, and was so weak I didn’t know how I could even continue. But I made it to the top with no issues. I can not describe the feeling of finally achieving that goal. I can not put it into words just yet. Everyone says it will take a few months for it all to sink in. All I know is I have to thank the phenomenal guides, porters and my fellow climbers for getting me up to the top. It sure was a team effort for everyone on the team to reach the summit. It also helps I have a pretty awesome tent mate, Annalicia has saved the day quite a few times.

After our scary 2 – 3 hour steep trek back down to base camp a majority of us decided to push ourselves to do the 2 day decent in 1 day. Staying in a freezing cold tent was really no longer an option. So instead of going down somewhat leisurely on day 8 and 9 we decided to power down on day 8.
When the idea was made to power down in 1 day after a 13 hour day getting to the top we all thought it was a brilliant idea. Our bodies however had a very different idea. The first leg of the decent was no problem at all, but the second half really gave my body quite a beating. I know understand why it is broken up into 2 days. That said I am still more than happy with the decision because I was able to take a shower and sleep in a warm bed at night.

The journey from beginning to end was incredible. I was proud to represent BellMedia and raise money for a great organization like NABS.
I will never forget this experience and I know I have made some great friends along the way.



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