13 March 2012, 19:31

Alpari-life.ru. Africa… Kilimanjaro… Mountain climbing… These things just don’t seem to mix. But Team Alpari: On Top of the World is already here in Tanzania. It didn’t take long to figure out all of the logistical issues. The Seven Summits Club really knows what it’s doing. We’re already on our way.

It’s the 8th of March. In Russia, people are taking the day off. But we’re headed upwards, forging ahead along the steep and resilient jungle paths. There hasn’t been a single gentle slope or downhill section yet. We have a 1,300-meter climb ahead of us, a special Women’s Day gift. And this is only the beginning.

… An overnight, an early climb, then upwards again. And it’s only getting steeper. In all seriousness, we’ve had to actually “climb” part of the way. There are actually hooks in the rock. There may have even been a railing too at one point. We’re the only ones on this route. This isn’t a path for beginners. It’s really steep. Lyudmila is good at picking out the routes for the team. You can’t take it easy. You have to keep grinding away, even here on Kilimanjaro. We’re leaving the jungle now. We have a spectacular view of the mountain!

Fantastic! The beauty and grandeur of the mountain and the nature of the climb have been impressive. The rocky slopes, the icy ditches left by glaciers… it all feels so natural. Not many people get the chance to see this side of the mountain. We’re already at 3,900 meters. And it’s only been 2 days!



10.03 Today we have our most difficult climb ahead of us. As if it could get any harder! We have to climb to 4,600 meters, and in doing so, circle around to the other side of the mountain. You can’t make it to the summit from this side. Normally, this takes 2 days or so, but we need to do it in one. Oh well. We’re on our way. But wait! There’s a 200-meter rock wall ahead of us. It’s scary, something we’re not used to seeing. But it should be interesting. We’ll just have to climb it. Looking at the wall from the side is frightening, but it can be done. The rocks are monolithic, with passes, steps and safety hooks, so it should be relatively safe. We made it. Now it’s back down again, then up… By the evening, we made it to where we needed to go. We’ll have dinner and go to sleep.

11.03. We left at 1:30 at night to continue our ascent. With yesterday’s difficult climb and our anxiety before our storm of the summit, we didn’t get much sleep. But our commander is strict. We left at 1:30 sharp, the moon illuminating the path ahead of us. It all feels kind of mystical – the stars, the mountain, the glowing moonlight… We’re getting higher and its getting colder. Strange, huh? Africa… cold? Anyways, it’s cold. We’re wearing our down jackets. That helps a bit. But we still have to shake our legs periodically. It’s either that or “I froze in Africa”. And that wouldn’t be too funny, would it?

Just before 6:00 we made it to the brim of the crater. This is where we planned to meet the Alpari US team, which took the classic route. They weren’t there yet. We waited an hour and a half. We were about to freeze to death. Naturally, we were elated when they finally showed up. We continued onward together, reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro (5,895 m) in full strength. Hooray!