This blog was written by Olivia Prophet who, together with her father Richard, climbed Kilimanjaro in August 2019.
Once I made the decision, rather on a whim, to climb Kilimanjaro I was a little nervous to tell my Dad about my plans. As well as being very much a non-outdoorsy person like myself, he also has a habit of being a little bit overprotective, and I wasn’t sure how he would react to me jetting off to Africa to climb the largest free-standing mountain in the world. His response was something I could not have anticipated. A year later I found myself standing at the top of Kilimanjaro, not only surrounded by a bunch of amazing porters and students like myself, but also my Dad.
There are so many wonderful things I could say about the entire experience. The walking itself took us through multiple beautiful terrains that became more striking the further we got. Once you reach a certain height you are above the cloud line, which was not only surreal but made you feel completely disconnected from society below and fully immersed into the mountain and the people you are with. As a result of this, the group you are with really becomes a unit. This was best experienced on summit night. Hearing those little bits of encouragement and the feeling that everyone is truly rooting for you is what keeps you going.
Personally, the two images that will stay with me forever is the sunrise on summit night and seeing my Dad at the summit. Although most of summit night is a blur due to exhaustion and altitude sickness, I remember sitting somewhere on that final stretch, freezing and barely awake, looking out to see a thin and all-encompassing strip of orange across the mountain. I often heard people talking about seeing the sunrise from the ‘roof of Africa’ and once I’d seen this, I truly understood what they meant. I think everyone was really taken in by this view and it spurred us on to the final push.
My second favourite image was seeing my Dad at the summit. Luckily for him altitude sickness had spared him, so he pushed ahead with the main group. I, however, was struggling and had fallen behind. I knew that I had to push through and make it to the top with my Dad. So just as he and the others were about to head back down, I stumbled across to the summit and had a teary embrace at the top of the worlds tallest freestanding mountain.
There are many reasons why you should climb Kili with Dig Deep. They are a charity really worth your time and support, and they will ensure you have the most amazing and memorable experience. Just go for it!
To find out more or to sign up for this challenge head to www.climbforcleanwater.org/kilimanjarochallenge