KILIMANJARO: The build up

It’s blowing my mind how much stuff is required to climb a mountain. From sleeping bags to thermal socks to antimicrobial knickers (?). Poles, gaiters, torches – the list goes on and on.

Having never climbed a mountain before, I don’t possess a single thing on it.

Thank goodness for pay day.

I head to my nearest trekking shop and hand over the list. The helpful sales assistant whizzes and whirls around the shop, building her very own mountain on the check out counter in front of me.

I grow increasingly uneasy. Just how much is this all going to cost?

The till beeps and squeaks as my eyes grow wide slowly watching the growing tally. Pay day just isn’t going to cut the mustard.

“Maybe I’ll just take the boots and the pants today after all!” I mutter to the bewildered sales girl. I fork over the cash and flap my way out of the shop, starting to panic.

Without the right equipment on top of that mountain, I could fall prey to blisters, diarrhoea or simply freeze. What have I left myself in for? And how have I left it just days before my flight to realise the scale of the task before me?

Breathe and focus, I tell myself. In and out, in and out…

I get on the blower. Texts, emails, phone calls fly out in every direction.

“Got any trekking gear?” I ask hopefully.

JC chips in a sleeping bag, liner and mat, Lou chucks in a down jacket, and Dave has all sorts of odds and ends from cameras to gloves to torches to water bottles.

Friends rock.

Jabs, visas and more shopping follow.

Then FINALLY, I huff and puff to squeeze it all inside my backpack, strain to pull the zipper, then sit back with relief – I’m ready as I’ll ever be.

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