Follow every rainbow
Till you find your dream.
Tomorrow morning I am leaving for Moshi, Tanzania where I will not be climbing EVERY mountain, I will be climbing ONE mountain… Mount Kilimanjaro. If you have been following my blog for a while you know I had originally planned to climb Kili over Christmas, but due to a lung infection I had to postpone my trip. Since I am nearing the end of my time in Africa it is now or never. I’ve spent the last six months training, so I feel as confident as I can- which is not very, just for the record. I feel like I’ve held up my end of the deal by putting in the training hours, but it is the other variables which are out of my control that I’m worried about (i.e. altitude sickness, bad weather, a sprained ankle, etc.). Oh no! What if I sprain my ankle all the way at the top and can’t make it back down? See, these are the things going through my mind right now.
My worry has been heightened (not lessened) the more I talk to my contact at the climbing company. This kind of reminds me about when I got Lasik eye surgery. I made the mistake of asking EVERYONE I knew about it and somehow, everyone knew something. The more people told me about their experiences with eye surgery the more I panicked. You would think I would have learned from that fear that I should have just done my own thing and stopped reading every blog, every article, and every rant online from people who have climbed Kili before. Each time I read something I email Yvette at Climbing Kilimanjaro with a barrage of questions. In addition to patiently answering all my ridiculous questions, Yvette has also been providing me with the standard information sent to everyone. I have read through the 50+ pages of material countless times (seriously, I could probably tell you everything word for word) and here is what stands out most to me. These statements have been directly quoted from the provided literature:
- 50% of people who attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro are successful. (If you are not mathematically inclined that means 50% of climbers are NOT SUCCESSFUL!)
- Nausea and headaches are normal and most climbers (again, for those mathematically challenged, this means at least 1 out of 2 people) will vomit near Stella Point (this is close to the summit). While these symptoms are uncomfortable, these are not symptoms of being at risk. The onset of cerebral and pulmonary oedema are marked by distinctive early warning signs that your guide is capable of identifying. Guess who is about to become my BEST FRIEND IN THE WORLD! That’s right- my guide! We are going to be like Siamese twins.
- When you reach Stella Point you will sit and rest. When resting please ensure you only stand or sit. DO NOT LIE DOWN OR CLOSE YOUR EYES. (Bold and capital letters were in the actual instructions- not mine.)
- Keep your thoughts positive, as your thoughts become your words, Keep your words positive, as your words become your actions, Keep your actions positive, as your actions become your destiny. You can do it! (Again, italics not my own.)
- On the summit the brain does not function very intelligently so please listen to everything your guide says very carefully. When he tells you to take a picture, please follow his recommendations and take the picture. Chances are your time at the summit will be such a blur you will forget to take pictures, so your guide will ensure you do so.
To recap, over the next week I will likely vomit, have headaches, and nausea; I will do everything in my power to remain positive at all times even though my brain won’t be functioning intelligently; I am about to have a new best friend; and if everything works out well I will be part of the successful 50% who make it to the summit. I typically am not one to ask for help or well wishes or congratulations, but I would like to make an exception to the rule at this time. I would really appreciate any prayers and happy thoughts anyone reading this would like to send my way. This will be my last post for a little while, but if all goes well I will have a blog update for you again on June 16th. See you then!