In September 2015, 16 year old Ben Doran climbed Kilimanjaro with his uncle Thomas. Here is Ben’s account of their unforgettable Kilimanjaro adventure. If you want to climb Kilimanjaro check out our Kilimanjaro page or contact us today on +353 1 5320869 or email email@example.com
September 27 2015, the long awaited day had arrived. After months of training, I was finally travelling to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro standing at 5895m, the highest free-standing mountain in the world.
We were greeted in Dublin airport by Terrance our guide and met up with the rest of our team some of whom we had met on our training weekend. Fast forward two days and we started trekking on the Machame route. Day one was spent in the rainforest where we saw many interesting plants and some wildlife too. Here we got talking to our fellow trekkers and our Tanzanian guides who we got to know better. The guides would tell us stories about the mountain and about their lives both on and off the mountain. On the morning of day two the cloud had cleared and we finally got a glimpse of the summit. It looked so far away. As the days went on we were greeted with more and more spectacular views of a truly magnificent landscape. With each day the going got a bit tougher, with all of us feeling the altitude to some extent.
On summit night as we gathered in the mess tent the air was filled with nervous energy as none of us knew what to expect. At around 11 pm led by our Tanzanian guide Albert, we set off into the darkness. At these altitudes, the lack of oxygen made progress slow but steady. I honestly thought this night would never end but at around 6.30 am we reached Stella point and witnessed the most beautiful sunrise you could ever imagine. After another 45 minutes walking (the hardest part in my opinion) we finally made it to Uhuru peak. We were on the roof of Africa! Here we spent a few minutes to take in the view and of course congratulate each other on our achievement.
This climb would have been impossible for us without the help of our porters, cooks and guides. These guys really are the unsung heroes of this mountain. Our porters were incredible carrying loads of 15kg or more up the mountain. They would set off behind us in the morning but would quickly overtake us and by the time we finished our trekking for the day our camp would be set up for us and the cooks would be busy preparing dinner. I don’t think I would have made the summit without the help and support of my entire group and with me being the youngest in the group having turned sixteen only a few days before I got that extra bit of care from everyone for which I am forever grateful. The craic and banter was always great and our nights were spent playing games and having a laugh. Being a picky eater I struggled with some of the food but a few of the lads in the group supplied me with enough chocolate to feed a small army. Thanks lads! Terrance our guide would always keep us motivated and keep us in good spirits with a few dodgy jokes. Behind the joking, Terrance worked tirelessly to make sure everything was good for us. Valerie our doctor was always on hand if anyone had a problem even on summit night when she must have been suffering just as much as the rest of us. Thanks to everyone at Earth’s Edge for organising our trip which ran seamlessly from start to finish.
Going to Kilimanjaro was far more than a climb for me it was a life changing experience. Tanzania is a wonderful country but it was the people that made this trip what it was. Our porters, guides and cooks but most of all it was our Earth’s Edge family. I feel blessed to have climbed Kilimanjaro with you guys and thanks for a lifetime of memories. For anyone thinking about an expedition but aren’t quite sure my advice is to go for it. Don’t hesitate. As for me, my dream is to climb the seven summits. Next up for me is Mount Elbrus in Russia next July. As of now, I’ve got one down six to go…Kilimanjaro: was it difficult – absolutely. Was it worth it – worth every last second!
Would you like to follow in Ben’s footsteps and tick Kilimanjaro off your bucket list before you reach 18?! Earth’s Edge operates Kilimanjaro climbs in February, July, August, September and October each year. You can see a full list of dates on our Kilimanjaro page here. Participants must be at least 18 years of age in order to take part in an Earth’s Edge expedition alone. However, 16 and 17 year olds can take part as long as they are accompanied on the expedition by a parent or guardian.
Call us on 01 5320869 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.