I’ll be honest with you, this going to be the hardest physical and mental challenge of my life!
So the other week I wrote about how I want to hike Mountain Rwenzori and being hopeful that I’ll reach its highest peak, Margherita at 5109m above sea level. Thank you all for your wishes. Am even more energised.
Just writing that scares the hell out of me. I’ve never hiked any mountain before and I barely walk daily since most of my work is sitting down on a laptop all day and some nights.
Hiking a mountain like the Rwenzoris calls for big-time preparations. This includes but not limited to mental, physical and several cardiovascular exercises.
When I just got the idea to hike Mt Rwenzori which is the 3rd highest in Africa after Mt Kenya and Mt Kilimanjaro, I knew this wasn’t for me as most of the prerequisites are against me.
But for my 25th birthday, I wanted to do something I’ve never done that will challenge my mental and physical abilities. Something that I’ll look back and say because I never gave up, I made it. Part of what came to mind was cycling to Jinja and back or solo travelling through south-east Asia for 90days. But I didn’t make up my mind then.
All of a sudden, I read a story about how Mt climbers survive on Everest and how it takes them 8-12 months of preparation.
Guys, part of the preparations involves, jogging, cycling, walking in extreme coldness, hiking other “smaller” mountains like the Kilimanjaros of this world.
Friends, mountaineers do strength and stability training which includes lifting weights between 20/30kgs working out their core, back, abs, arms and generally the upper body. Not forgetting the legs. Now, this here gets me even more excited.
Making matters worse, the other day I saw a surge of photos from those that recently been in the Rwenzoris. Beautiful images of snow and smiles way up at the highest point in Uganda. That again got me excited.
Then I remembered about my 25th birthday tribute and I think you now can connect the dots. I’ll make 26 this December though.
I’m going to the Rwenzoris on the 17th of November. The hike will set off on the 18th. I don’t just want to hike, I want to reach the summit. I want to get to the point where it reads, “Margherita Peak 5109m. The highest point in Uganda and DRC”. That right there is the goal and what is making me write all this.
Back to how Mt Everest climbers prepare for the once in a lifetime adventure.
Hiking mountains is easy, summiting is HARD AF. Physical fitness alone isn’t enough. Things like altitude sickness and lower oxygen intake make most of the climbers give up. I’ve read that up there above 5000m, oxygen reduces to about 20% making it even harder to breath. When it’s hard to breathe, your body and mind can’t function.
Wait, I have not talked about the freezing temperatures up there and the need for your body to acclimatise. Everest climbers take over 60days for the expedition. For Mt Rwenzori, it only requires one 8days max. And I read no Ugandan has done it. But also I heard that many Ugandans have got to the summit. Which is which?
By the way, the Everest base camp is 5600m above sea level. Guys this is like the starting point for one to set off for the 8800m summit. I’m yet to find out the Rwenzori basecamp and I’ll share details here.
Now let me get back to reality. I want to use the next 50days to train hard AF. With a group of other hikers, I’ll forge my way with them and learn a couple of things as I train.
I’m making this a public secret because for every moment I would want to give up during training or on the hike, I want to remember that there are people following this and I’m answerable.
I for one know that I can do this. But most times I tend to give up so easily on things I start passionately. This time I’m saying no. All that it takes, I’ll put in.
Still on accountability, during this whole preparation and the hike, I’ll start a campaign to raise funds procure materials for young school-going girls to make own reusable sanitary towels.
Over the years, Gain Confidence Africa (non-profit NGO) has been going around schools teaching these girls on how to make reusable pads among other activities. These girls come from poor families and its literary impossible for one to buy a pack of sanitary towels.
When the funds are raised, they’ll all be sent to Gain Confidence Africa to procure and handover materials to over 100 vulnerable girls from different schools in Mukono.
Therefore, in the case that you want to support me on this journey as I mark my 25yrs birthday (which was last December), there is a starting point. I’ll share a link in some days to come. But you don’t have to if you’re unable.
Otherwise, I welcome all your feedback or even any techniques that you think can help me to ascend the summit come November. I’ll personally keep you all updated on my training, challenges and all that comes along.
Updates will be across all my social media accounts including some videos on my other vlog channel here: Kwema Vlogs Go subscribe.
Guys, let’s have fun as I train and go attack the Margheritas.