Once Great Gandhi said and was right: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever”. To comprehend these words to the full, you should go to extremes – state when only “here” and “now” make sense. And I can say with no doubts that “Kilimanjaro 2014” team like no other will agree with Gandhi. They came back from Tanzania! The highest African peak ‒ 5895 meters above sea level ‒ has been reached! I can talk about the climbing for hours, but I will hardly manage to share those emotions, which our heroes felt, outdoing not only sharp ascents but also themselves.
The way to the top started in tropical jungle of the Tanzania National Park. At this run the team again and again met local inhabitants – black-and-white colobus monkeys – doing twirls.
The trekking to the first overnight stop, Mandara Huts (2750m), was quite fresh, but in the end of the run the participants already felt, that oxygen was decreasing and flora changed from thick green jungles to parched steppe bushes. It was the easiest part of the climbing, after which “Kilimanjaro 2014” team faced real challenges – height sickness, sharp stones, burning sun and unbearable weariness because of hour-long trekking.
None of the participants had any climbing experience and correspondent physical training, but all of them had incredible morale courage and will power. They reached the top in groups in different time, but due to constant mutual support, all the team has conquered Kilimanjaro. Some of them met the dawn on the way to the peak, gasping from oxygen deficit and staggering from exhaustion. The others were looking at the sun coming over the sea of clouds right on the African roof. But all of them did it! They reached Kilimanjaro top and planted Gurtam flag at the height of 5895 meters above sea level.
Nobody can share those impressions better than the expedition participants. One of the ten heroes, Gurtam General Manager – Aliaksei Shchurko – tells about the challenges which “Kilimanjaro 2014” underwent through: “During these five days we did the journey from the very button to the top of Kilimanjaro. Nothing could stop us – unbearable headache, apathy, exhaustion, strained back, bloody corns and hurt toes, nosebleed and face, burnt by the equatorial sun; anoxaemia – when you’re going on thin ice and stagger, when you suddenly stop in blow mind, when you can’t keep vital food and water in your stomach, when every motion pains as hell… It’s unbelievable but we’ve become a real team and we’ve become stronger. Much stronger than we were when met at Moscow Domodedovo airport. The volcano has cleared the air, highlighted all the priorities, showed what really makes sense.”
On behalf of Gurtam I’d like to congratulate all the “Kilimanjaro 2014” expedition participants with one more conquered peak in their life. You showed us that physical exhaustion is nothing compared to team courage and tremendous will to reach the goal. And remember: it’s not enough just to achieve the goal ‒ enjoy the achievement!