I decided a month before to give Kili a crack. My flights were booked two weeks in advance, and to Nairobi I went with a vague plan to summit on my 19th birthday. My finances were very stretched but it was the ideal time to attempt it before Elbrus in August.
I knew it was achievable given the number of friends I knew that had gone up it. Despite my protestations, you’re not permitted to climb alone. So into Kilimanjaro National Park I went with my guide and we slowly made our way through the changeable landscapes. That first iconic image of Kili from afar sticks with you; being at the base of it, more than a vertical km above, is enchanting.
Basha and I set off for the summit at midnight with an aim to summit just after sunrise. We stumbled across the Uhuru Peak summit signpost while it was still dark so headed down after a few snaps. After 30 minutes, a gorgeous sunrise took place above the cloud line at c. 5,000m. We safely made it back down to Base Camp in a day or so to round off what had been a memorable 19th birthday.