When Stanley Johnson, Boris Johnson’s (the British Prime Minister) dad made it to the summit, Uhuru peak back in 2014, it was his second attempt.
Don’t believe anyone who tells you that climbing Kilimanjaro in your eighties – or any decade – is easy. It takes a lot of effort, and not everyone succeeds.
I attempted to reach the peak four years ago to commemorate my 70th birthday.
On the lip of the crater, I reached Gilman’s Point (18,710ft), but didn’t go on to Uhuru Peak, which is nearly 700ft higher at 19,341ft.
‘At Gilman’s Point, a lot of people turn around,’ my guide informed me. ‘You’ll still receive the certificate.’
I was in a bad way, so I followed his counsel. It would have taken me two hours to get to the opposite side of the crater and two hours to return.
Furthermore, it was bitterly cold on top of the mountain that day, and it had started to snow.
When I got back to England, the inability to reach Uhuru Peak nagged at me. Would I ever have another chance to tackle the mountain?
Then came a call from Emily, a student at Exeter College in Oxford.
This year marks the 700th anniversary of the college’s founding, and they decided to commemorate the milestone by assembling 20 Exonians to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Would I want to be a part of the group?
I’m an Exonian myself, an Exeter College alumni, so I’m qualified on that front. However, I was concerned that I would be far too old.
‘Absolutely not,’ she said.
In the gathering, there were as many women as males. Everyone was in good shape, enthusiastic, and enjoyable to be around, despite the fact that none of them were my age.
Perhaps because of my seniority, I wasn’t required to share a tent. I had one to myself on the first night at Shira Camp. This made a significant difference. Without anyone else hearing my mumbled obscenities, I could battle with the zip on my sleeping bag.
The expedition organisers also picked the Lemosho Glades Route, which is wonderful news.
Taking the Lemosho Trail, unlike most other routes up Kilimanjaro, gives you eight full days on the summit.
This is an extremely significant component since it allows you to acclimate.
These extra days on the mountain are vital not just for avoiding crippling and often fatal altitude sickness, but also for getting your leg muscles in condition, especially if, like me, you neglected to do any significant training before arriving.
Is sufficient climbing experience required before attempting Kilimanjaro? No, but you’ll need a good set of hiking boots, trekking poles, and a fear of heights. With a dash of ‘rock sense’ thrown in for good measure.
Because there are times when you have to scramble up some really sheer rock faces, such as when we ascended the Great Barranco Wall on Day Seven.
Anna Crampin, a young Scottish woman, was an excellent leader. ‘Keep touch with the rock in at least three places – you don’t want to fall off,’ she warned as we flailed around.
There is another benefit to spending many days on the mountain rather than rushing up and down. You now have the opportunity to observe the wonderful surroundings in which you find yourself.
Kilimanjaro is the world’s tallest freestanding peak. It appears to have risen from the African plains. You go from one bio-zone to the next as you progress.
The sight of black-and-white colobus monkeys in the woods that cover the mountain’s lower slopes, as well as the exquisite flora of Kilimanjaro’s ‘Alpine’ zone, will stay with me forever.
Throughout, the porters were outstanding. They were the ones who made it all possible.
We did, after all, bring our daypacks and water bottles. However, they were the ones who performed the heavy lifting. All of the tents, gear, and food had to be carried up and down the mountain by hand. We were woken up with tea and our tents were pitched in the evening.
We left the last campsite at Barafu (15,331ft) at 10 p.m. on Day Eight to begin the arduous journey across the ice and scree to the crater’s rim.
Because there was no moon, we had to rely on our headlamps. The first rays of the light sliced over the clouds six hours later, but they were already well beneath us after our night’s hiking.
I was the final one to reach Uhuru Peak. By the time I reached the peak, the majority of my squad had down the mountain.
However, a small number waited, and we were treated to some of the world’s most breathtaking views. You can see Mt Kenya to the north, the shoreline to the east, and the huge woods of Central Africa to the west.
A massive glacier dominates the vista to the south. The snows of Kilimanjaro’ may be melting due to global warming, but they are still spectacular to the untutored eye.
My feet were weary when I eventually limped back into base camp that afternoon, but my spirits were as high as the mountain peak.
Boris Johnson’s Climate Change Efforts could save the snows of Mount Kilimanjaro
A UN climate change summit, according to Stanley Johson’s son who is also the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, made headway toward preventing runaway global warming, but more work was needed to reach an agreement.
“We’ve advanced the ball a long way down the pitch, but we’re trapped in a bit of a rolling maul,” the rugby-loving prime minister joked during the United Nations’ COP26 summit, which finishes on Friday.
“We need a determined drive to get us over the line if we’re going to get there,” he said at a press conference.
In the frenetic last hours of the two-week meeting in Glasgow, Johnson spoke up as a draft document that encouraged countries to increase their emissions-cutting targets by 2022.
After data showed that carbon reduction pledges made thus far fell far short of reducing global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the UN statement provided the first impression of the state of play.
The conference aims to build on the historic 2015 Paris Agreement, which set a goal of keeping global warming well below 2.0 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, ideally 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“It’s really upsetting to see countries that have spent six years publicly patting themselves on the back for signing that promissory note in Paris secretly sliding toward default now that vulnerable nations and future generations are demanding payment immediately,” Johnson said.
After hearing the heartbreaking testimony of individuals affected by global warming, particularly island nations whose survival is threatened, he said international leaders had “no excuse.”
Johnson claimed that his counterparts couldn’t honestly celebrate their interventions only to sit on their hands later.
“The globe is closer than it has ever been to signaling the beginning of the end of human climate change here in Glasgow,” he continued.
“It is the greatest gift we can give to our children, grandkids, and future generations.” It is now within our grasp at COP26 in these final days; all we have to do is reach out and grab it.
“So, as we enter the last hours of COP, my question to my fellow world leaders is: Will you help us accomplish that, will you help us seize that chance, or will you stand in the way?”
Global warming & the shrinking glaciers of Kilimanjaro
After recent research by the World Meteorological Organization indicated that the rare glaciers on Mt Kilimanjaro and other Africa’s top mountains were melting swiftly and could disappear entirely by 2040, scientists have called for a deliberate doubling of steps to counteract global warming.
Mr. George Rwegoshora, executive director of the Africa Geological Centre, said the disappearance of glaciers on Mt Kilimanjaro and other mountains in the region would have a tremendous impact on the tourism and agriculture industries if immediate action was not done. He blamed human actions such as “deforestation around the mountains and industrialization that produces carbon emissions” for the melting of glaciers in the Alps, which he said are contributing to global warming.
“Now is the time to plant more trees and transition to sustainable energy sources like solar and geothermal energy, which emit less carbon,” he said.
According to the report, unique glaciers on Mt Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya, and the Rwenzori Mountains are on the verge of vanishing. Furtwängler, Mount Kilimanjaro’s greatest glacier, shrank by 70% between 2014 and 2020, according to the analysis.
According to the research, this glacier was crucial to the people living in the surrounding areas since it was a key source of fresh water. Furthermore, its extinction could have a significant influence on Tanzania’s tourism business, as the Kilimanjaro glaciers attract thousands of visitors each year from all over the world.
Isaac Kalua, a Kenyan environmentalist and the head of Kenya’s Water Towers Management Authority, cautioned that as the glaciers begin to melt, the rivers will first suffer excessive flows due to the melting ice. “However, because the glaciers never fully rebound as they did before climate change became a reality, this decreases.” As a result, the rivers will have less and less water in the next years,” Kalua told the US-based science website earth.com.