• Nicola Shonick

One year on from Climbing Kilimanjaro


Nicola was one of our many superstar fundraisers' that climbed Kilimanjaro with us in 2016. Nicola is a graduate from Lancaster University.

I still can’t quite believe that my pizza loving body with zero fitness levels got me to the top of a mountain, and not just a small one, it got me to the roof of Africa, just about! Time has absolutely flown by since my time in Tanzania and I’m still not quite sure how to explain it to people when I say that I climbed a mountain, apart from it was really tough but really amazing.

Climbing Kili was never on my to-do list until the opportunity arose to raise money for charity and give myself a huge challenge at the end of uni, and I am so glad it did end up on my list and I am over the moon I did it!

The famous phrase ‘you don’t know what you have until it’s gone’ definitely comes to mind when I think back on the trip. Being in Africa definitely put things into perspective and has stuck with me since. Clean water, running showers, toilets, good health and shelter shouldn’t be taken for granted as there are so many people without. Making the most out of what you have and what you are experiencing is really important and the climb reminded me of that.

At the time I didn’t really realise but camping on a mountain, above the clouds, under the Milky Way was an amazing experience that not many people get to have. It was so refreshing, and so was having no electronics or day to day notifications taking my attention. Trying to speak Swahili was also a lot of fun too. It’s such a happy language and was good to know to communicate with the guides and porters.I managed to pick up some basic phrases whilst on the climb and they have soon turned into being some of my favourites.

Our Trek 2 Kili guides and porters were wonderful people, they worked so hard to take care of us and deserved much of the credit for the trip. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them and will be eternally grateful for the amount of carrying, cooking and encouragement they provided. Knowing that they will have all done the climb numerous times since is amazing!

I am still really grateful for all the people who donated to Dig Deep and helped me raise money for such an important cause and for the trip. Without their support things would have been a lot more difficult and only half as fun. Reading blogs, researching tips and trekking gear also played a big part in the preparation for the climb and I am glad to be able to contribute my own experiences and advice now I have done it.

I can’t think about the climb without thinking about summit night / day which created so many mixed emotions. I would definitely say it was the best and hardest day of my life all rolled into one. After a few hours on autopilot getting to the sign was a moment I won’t forget. On the way to the peak we took a short break to watch the sunrise over the mountain and it was breath-taking, not that I had any breath left by then, but it will forever be up there with the best sunrises I have ever seen.

My legs ache just thinking about the climb but it was an experience of a lifetime and was 100% worth all the time and effort it took! Even though it has been almost a year since, it still hasn’t quite sunk in that I made it to the top!!

Inspired? You can Climb Kilimanjaro in 2018 with the only UK charity who has 'Partner for Responsible Travel' status from the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project. Have the experience of a lifetime whilst raising money for our vital water and sanitation projects. http://www.climbforcleanwater.org/kilimanjarochallenge

#ClimbingKilimanjaro #StudentFundraising

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346 Glossop Rd, Sheffield,

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Email: info@digdeep.org.uk

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