THE CLIMB (brought to you through a cunning feat of internet time-doctoring)

26 Mar

Sistas to da Summit

Sistas to da Summit

On Sunday March 24, 2013, while sitting on the Piccadilly Line, I came over all pensive, philosophical – spiritual, if you will. For the first time since I was 14, I jotted it all down – not in a padlocked, brother-proof diary, but in a small pocket notebook that had been with me to Tanzania and back. Luckily it had been packed in my hand luggage rather than in my suitcase, which was still languishing in Nairobi airport (explanation to follow).

“My hands are icy with the grey, rising-damp cold that London alone knows how to breed. Sleet is slicking the grimy windows of the Tube. I feel vacant – the people and carriages and concrete walls lined with mossy pipes and lagging slide past distantly, as if on a stage. Acton Town – we’ve just had to change because the train broke down. My thumb is white on the pen.

“When my bag didn’t turn up, all I could do was dissolve into floods of tears. It wasn’t because I didn’t have all my mouldering clothes and pants that had donned my unwashed bod for eight days. It was because I had had to wait and watch the conveyor belt while everyone else said goodbye to each other, and I couldn’t properly join in. Laura, Ann, Erica all jostled to buy Sasha and me conciliatory coffees – they’d lost Sasha’s bag too – before Sasha’s dad beat them to it and got us all vast vats of frothy cappuccino that has never tasted so good.

“When her dad asked us how the climb had been, all we could talk about was how funny it had been that we’d got so sunburnt and all had red noses in the photos from the final dinner. It was as if we decided that was the only thing someone who hadn’t done the climb could relate to.”

So what, dear reader, was the ten-day epiphany, the trek through Hell, Heaven and back via Horombo huts, that led to this rhapsody?

Through a cunning doctoring of the dates on the blog, I shall reveal, correctly dated to each date on the climb…

– The location of the Seventh Circle of Hell – and how to survive the toilets there

– How a tiny, skinny 27-year-old charity coordinator from Watford, with next to no climbing experience, who has not managed to hold in a morsel of food for six days, can climb for 11 hours solid to nearly 6,000 metres above sea level to reach the summit of Uhuru Peak

– Why turning over in bed can make you feel breathless

– How to suffer the worst hangover of your life without touching a drop of alcohol

– The poems, the songs and the chants to take you up thousands of feet

– Swahili, EB-style

Read on…

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