Nicholas Featherston (South Africa) – Successful summit on 20 December 2015 7 Day Machame route

nicholas

Dear Annale,

 

Happy New Year to you too!  Here are some photos…

 

It was the experience of a lifetime.  Absolutely epic!

 

The climb was a real adventure.  On our first day it bucketed down with rain for about 4 hours in the forest.  Thank goodness most of my stuff was in Jiffy bags!  I was really happy after that to see the first camp – Machame.  On the second day it also bucketed down just as we got to Shira camp.  The view from Shira camp was really awesome.  The view from Baranco was even better.  The view climbing up from Shira plateau to Lava Tower was also amazing – this was when we saw the mountain top for the very first time, even though it has been hiding behind vaporous clouds for 3 days.  It was so inspiring.

 

The ascent (on ascent night) seemed to go on forever, but Nelson gave me the altimeter which helped me actually (so I could just see for myself what height we were, rather than asking all the time).  If I ever climb again, I would want it to be Nelson with me again – he’s really wonderful and humble which I appreciated very much.  The porters are incredible and I felt really humbled by seeing the huge loads that they carry all the way along the route.  I wish I had drawn more money to give them as a tip – I think I gave them 290 dollars, but I wish I could have given them more.  The porters were a really spirited bunch who loved to sing their songs about the mountain every morning.

 

On the night of the ascent, I wasn’t really all that physically tired by the time we got to the top, I was more just tired from lack of sleep.  Having said that though, there were definitely tears in my eyes when I saw that Uhuru peak sign!  I just couldn’t believe that we’d actually made it to the top!  The temperature at the peak was also something incredible to experience.  My hand started going grey after being taken out the glove for only a few minutes to take photos.  The last time I experienced that sort of cold was in Moscow.  The wind was like a knife that cut right into you.  The most difficult part for me was the climb down the mountain to be honest.  My knees and quads got really sore and I had a headache after my ascent which stayed with me all the way coming down to Barafu camp.  Not fun!  But after Barafu camp, I recovered from the headache quite nicely and made it to Mweka.  The trip down to Mweka is a really long way and seems to go on for hours.

 

The views from the mountain every night and every morning were really special and I made lots of new friends from various countries during the hike.  I think of all the tour companies I saw during my hike, yours is definitely the best as you really did a great job of informing me of all the risks and so forth, which for some reason the other tour operators don’t seem to do very well at all.  There was a distinct lack of knowledge with some other tour operators which I thought was not great considering the risks involved.  Also the Facebook updates helped my family keep track of the progress which they really appreciated very much.  The food was great – compliments to the team for putting up with my vegetarianism.

 

Thank you so much to you and Nikki for all your assistance and organization, it was a really wonderful experience and not something that I’m going to forget soon.

Add me as a friend on F.B. and you’re welcome to grab photos from my album that I put there too.

 

Next will either be Mount Kenya, Mount Meru or gorillas in Rwanda…

 

Best regards

 

Nicholas Featherston