Bryn :: Towards Mawenzi

Written at 4am Sunday, the beginning of Day 4. 48 hours to the summit.

I was up at 5am yesterday gazing at the summit bathed in starlight. I irritated everyone by getting my camera kit out and I photographing the sunrise gradually light up the mass of rock and snow which is now so close.

Before Liz and Chris set off to base camp we had a photograph of all 130 of us who are tackling this challenge. Gavin used their courage and inspiration as the focus of his daily team talk. I, for one, will be lifted by them as the climb gets harder.

The air noticeably thinned on Day 3. We have approached the peak from the north side for two days and now we skirt to the east side for two days before heading up the eastern flank on Tuesday. So today we headed east from second cave towards the ragged volcano, Mawenzi. We climbed to 3750m before dropping to 3450m across heather strewn lava fields. Undulating, craggy, dramatic and beautiful. The views over Kenya are wonderful. Eddie said it was like looking at Google earth.

The going was hard. The altitude was giving me a slight headache which went after the frequent rests. The sun was again scorching. Factor 50 still couldn’t protect me.

We arrived at camp at 2 for an afternoon relaxing. I took the opportunity to shower in the local waterfall. A cascade of glacial water invigorating me at 10,000m? Errr no. It was Baltic, made my headache worse, and I was grubbier after than before because it was so difficult to get to and from. I grazed my leg in the process which Karen attacked with disinfectant and plasters. Everyone else who showered enthused how wonderful it was. I think they were all fibbing because Gavin said he loved it. And I think he was fibbing too.

Karen has been a star once more. She has walked every step with me which helps because she visits the loo so often, meaning I get frequent breaks. She is on top of the water intake situation big time and she makes sure all those around her drink plenty too. The parties behind us must ponder on the newly emerging rivers on Kilimanjaro. Karen is a coeliac and even up here the tour guides cater for her. They are amazing people.

Everyone is doing fine. The youngest team members, Jen and Aimee are so bubbly you can’t help be lifted by them. They smile continually. The core Wobbly team that have been on this bandwagon from the West Highland Way days are all great – Ian, Alan, Tony, Bob, Chrissy, Fiona, Matt Eddie and Bundy are all keeping spirits up with laughs and smiles in their own way. Ian by his words of encouragement, Bundy with his observations like “I feel like s*** and there is still no f***** Guiness”. He is not so impressed with the tour company’s fulfilment of individuals dietary requirements.

My health is good. There are three obstacles in my way, three obstacles which may prevent me getting to the summit; the runs, the altitude and my Parkinson’s. The runs have not put in an appearance yet thankfully. The altitude is ok and I’m doing what I can by drinking loads and walking slowly. And my Parkinson’s does what it can but determination keeps it at bay. Without my determination I am nothing.

Dinner was soup and pasta bolognaise, absolutely gorgeous. After dinner we played cards and then stared at stars. I have never seen so many. There was a big cheer when news came through the Liz and Chris were safe in the hotel.

As hot as the days are, the nights are cold. I am in my sleeping bag in a vest, fleece, long johns and a hat. And there are still two colder nights to go. The hardest thing is sleeping on a slope. I slide down the mattress continually.

Tomorrow we climb to 4300m and up to Mawenzi. Mobile reception is becoming more difficult so blogs may become patchy.

18 thoughts on “Bryn :: Towards Mawenzi

  1. Good to hear you are all in such good spirits – keep up the blogs as long as poss – it’s great to hear how well you are doing – Gang forward Moira (Bob’s mum)

  2. Hello dad (aka bundy), bryn and the rest of the gang.keep up the good work,your nearly there(although that is easily said by me sat here in my bed! Haha) and making us all proud! Im still getting the sponsorship form signed so every step is making a difference!! oh Dad im sure there will be guiness at the top! And sorry to ruin your day, but we only managed a draw against wolves!!still we have city away next sat so thats an easy 3 points!! Haha.
    So good luck with the rest of the climb and ill see you for a few celebratory pints when your back.
    Robert.

  3. Hang in there ,Bryn!! Think positive. You will make it to the summit, in spirit if not in body, you are already there! Looking forward to the photos!

    Godspeed to you all!

  4. Inspirational reading your blogs. I am a good friend of Gavins and we climbed the Rongai route in 2010. The best is still to come. It will start to get quite spiritual as you take in what you are achieving. Great cause, great courage and great fun. All the very best for the rest of your climb. Thinking of you all. Best Mark Little.

  5. Enjoying reading your blogs young Bryn. Feeling quite jealous. I’m sure there’s never a dull moment with that eejit Eddy with you and of course the mad Ballymena man…Tony. Keep thinking positive and you’ll get there. Think of what you’ve achieved this past few years with sheer determination. Mind you if you’d put that much effort into your ‘A’ level maths you might have got an A !!! Take care.
    Jane xx

  6. Tell Robert that I have had a great weekend. Curry on Friday with lots of lager to wash it down.Saturday was even better loads of pints in the stag. Right now I’m sitting in from of the fire sipping chilled White wine watching arsenal v Swansea. Tough times……. Will catch u for a pint soon :).

  7. On the plus side from our draw yday dad…..arsenal have only gone and lost to swansea!! Up the swans!! Haha

  8. Love reading the blogs, It’s great to keep up with your progress
    wishing all the team the very best for the final push up that mountain!
    Kirsty Kuzmak (friend of Kat Davidson)

  9. Ah everything sounds so amazing! What an amazing and life changing experience. Love reading your blogs, dolly. All fine here. Missing you tho’. We are in the Milngavie and Bearsden Herald this week. Does it get any better than that?? Loads of people that have seen it, the girls and I are feeling a bit star struck! 4 days done, nae bother!! See you soon, canny wait. Love you, always xxxxxxx

  10. hey bryn & the rest of the wobbly gang! sounds amazing….reading the blogs is bringing a little bit of kilimanjaro over to glasgow & giving us a wee taste of what it’s like over there.. awesome!
    bryn – hope the merino pants are working their magic. ian – hope the mars bars are keeping you going! mind n keep some for the top….
    thinking of you all
    you’re the world’s greatest!
    love richard & lynsey xxx

  11. Sounds amazing Bryn. Well done to all of you. Not long to go. Looking forward to the next blogs as you near the summit. Fergus and Claire

  12. “For each petal on the shamrock this brings a wish your way. Good health, good luck, and happiness for today and every day.”

    Wishing you and the team a wonderful trip!

    All the best wishes, Sonal 😉

  13. You know this already, but there is nothing wrong with hearing it again. What you are up to is simply inspirational Bryn. An example to all of us. Best wishes. Daniel

  14. Enjoying the blog! Good luck to everyone for the final push up the hill (particularly Katherine and Barry), hope it’s everything you dreamed it would be

  15. Hello there, Johnny M here – good friend of Tony. Just to wish you all the very best to every one of you over the next few days in getting to the summit and back down again safely. Had a good laugh at Tony’s stramash at the airport with the authorities over his Irish passport – he’s probably received quite a few ‘smoothes’ in his time due to his being Irish and he has to take the ‘roughs’ as well :>) Looking forward to hearing all about the trip and take care everyone. Jx

  16. Hiya, Louise here (Johnny M’s wife), I am so impressed with your amazing courage and stamina and am wishing you all the very best for the rest of the expedition. Bet you can’t wait to reach the summit and I am sure it will be an unforgettable experience and for a very worthy cause too. I am looking forward to hearing all about it xxx

  17. To all of the team good luck tomorrow hope you all make the summit, even if you don’t what a great achievement..You will remember this for the rest of your life, enjoy the experience..
    Anne Marie xxx

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