By Tessa Ogle, Managing Director of the Electrical Industries Charity
It’s not every day that you embark on a journey which will see nine brave people join you in the challenge of a lifetime. But that’s exactly what happened when we launched the Electrical Industries Charity’s very first Challenge for Cause, a journey which would help to raise funds for the Hendrie family who had suffered the devastating loss to cancer of a loving husband and father.
The journey to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro would indeed prove to be a massive challenge, but it was nothing in comparison to the day to day struggles which the Hendrie family faced – and that is something which kept the whole team focussed throughout the journey.
The journey to the top followed the Lemosho Route which is widely considered to be one of the best and offers a remote, unspoiled and scenic approach to the summit. It began in the lush rainforest of the Londorossi National Park before climbing through diverse eco systems to the summit, a trek which would see the team cover 70 kilometres in just eight days to reach Uhuru Peak.
It would be fair to say that the whole team were nervous on day one and as we headed across the African plains we all had time think about the personal challenges that we were conquering just to be here. For some of the team there was doubt about their ability to succeed but this was soon quashed by our guide Musa who pointed out quite categorically that there was no reason why any of us shouldn’t make it to the top.
The next seven days proved to be challenging for everyone as we trekked both up and down, always ‘climbing high and sleeping low’ – one of the most important aspects of climbing at high altitude. Our camp each night was always a welcome sight with a decent hot meal to replenish our energy and a bowl of hot water for ‘washy washy’. But perhaps our favourite camp was Barranco on day four which is sheltered by towering cliffs and provides stunning views of the plains below.
Double check, double check was the motto throughout the climb and never was it more pertinent than when we checked our kit before setting off for the summit. The overriding feeling for the whole team was that of excitement - but at the same time everyone was feeling the effects of the altitude and fighting nausea - so there was also a high degree of trepidation.
As you head for the summit you reach Stella Point – and many climbers don’t make it past that point –because when you’re faced with another 45 minutes of hard climbing for some it is a step too far. But we had banners to raise and pictures to take so we pressed on and despite the fact that there was a bit of a scrum for photos at the summit we can now proudly say WE MADE IT.
It wasn’t easy….but then it is called Challenge for a Cause and ultimately we all pushed ourselves hard. But it was worth it and knowing that the personal challenges which we overcame will help the Hendrie family to overcome theirs makes it all the more worthwhile.
Challenge for a Cause - Kilimanjaro 2017 Photo Gallery