Posted by: Laura Hartstone | 24 January, 2009

Kilimanjaro – Day One

For some it was a bit of an emotional day. The past two weeks have gone by fast and it is hard to believe that in just a week they will have completed the challenge.  The morning began very early with a 6am wake up call, followed by last minute packing, and a hefty breakfast at the lodge. The Summits crew hasn’t been very concerned with the food intake on the team, as many even pocketed peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches or cheese rolls for a late morning snack.  Soon after, they loaded up into the minibus and headed for the Machame gate.

At the gate, the team did last minute shopping – purchasing anything from backpack rain covers to handkerchiefs.  They signed in and had a cup of tea before it was time to send them off. It is quite difficult to say good bye to the team and watch them head off for the climb ahead. They have an incredible amount of energy and enthusiasm that is felt by all who have met them in the last few weeks.

Other climbers at the gate paused to take photos of the team and photos of the porters, who all proudly donned their bright white 3 Peaks t-shirts.  The porters have pleaded with the head guides to allow them to climb without their shirts as they are now a prized possession.  A compromise was made that they can climb in what they like, but must wear the 3 Peaks shirts at camp, which they are happy to do anyhow. Though the 3 Peaks team itself feels like a large group, it is truly a movement up the mountains and felt by all they pass by or meet.

The challenge itself is not easy. The team has made it through massive struggles over the past year.  They have held events that have created losses rather than gains.  They have managed to maintain communication across over six time zones.  It isn’t easy to unite a group of women and hope that they will form a cohesive unit.  But they have indeed done just that.  And though many begin to get cranky on the mountains when hunger sets in or when the days feel endless, they walked through the gate this morning as a team.  Luce’s camelback needed a last minute duct tape repair and the team waited.

They have all reached their minimum fundraising target and many have far surpassed it. They have gained attention on television programs, radio announcements, newspaper articles, and magazines. And perhaps even more admirable, they are using these 3 weeks to not only face their final challenge, the 3 peaks, but to visit the organizations that they are supporting.  Though many have felt sick between the climbs and had to visit the hospital or physiotherapist, all have made the extra effort to spend time in villages across East Africa, travel through various conservancies and reserves, schools, national parks, and most importantly, visit first hand with the communties and the people that they are directly and indirectly helping.

The first day is quite long and our thoughts are with them as they head through the dense lower slopes of Kili. Stay strong, Ali, Brooke, Gretchen, Katherine, Leah, Luce, Mara, Nicole, Rachel, Sam, Toni, Yvette…..& Fiona! Go girls! Nail that last one!

And a massive last wave of encouragement from the 2007 3 Peaks team.  You are all in our thoughts and we are behind you cheering!!!

Lastly, an update has just come in from the team stating they had torrential rain all day, even though they attempted to start in shorts and sunglasses. Gretchen looked like a hermit in her poncho and raised the fashion stakes to a new level. Good one Gretchen – taking one for the team!

The team says to stay posted for a document on the public toilets, or what they have termed the “hell boxes”.  Sam and Brooke will be reporting back on those.  However, they are reveling in the excitement of the “plush” camping accommodations as Summits Africa takes porta-potties up Kili on all luxury & VIP climbs…as well as thick mattresses! The team says they were the envy of all other climbing parties as they dined in a large mess tent on the trail for lunch. And having mastered the variety of paces in order to arrive at camp as a team…they all arrived with smiles as well. Keep on!



  1. What an amazing group of women you are. I do so enjoy reading the postings and once again thank you for including us in this adventure as much as is possible.
    I hold each of you in my heart.
    I send you energy, perseverence, strength and so much love on this, your final challenge. Thank you for all you have done, and continue to do for our global family members. Your efforts impact so many.
    Extra hugs, kisses healing, and love to Leah.

  2. Hi Brooke! Climbing in spirit with you. Hope the rain has stopped and you all are drying out. You guys are amazing!!! Love to all, mom

  3. Hello Toni, we are in a warm lab with your Dad who is very proud and showed us your trip. Keep up the good work! We are all going to keep watching.

  4. Keep up the good work to you all. Sorry it had to
    rain but it sounds like your all doing well.
    Love and Kisses to Gretchen…i Loved the picture!

  5. Keep strong noodle! The crew here send their best wishes. They are a lazy bunch who are glad its you and not them hiking up there!

    Lucky it’s just rain and not hellish hot and humid like it is here.

    Love you! Joey xx

  6. Boy would I love to see that poncho on Gretchen!! Thanks for including all of us on this wonderful journey you girls are taking. Please be safe and know that our prayers are with you.

    Aunt Judee

  7. go nicky, one foot in front of the other.
    mummy loves you. !!!

  8. Australia Day tomorrow,so this time 2 years ago,friends and family of team 2007 were waiting anxiously for the group to summit Kili and return to Arusha.I am reliving every moment of that excitement as team 2009 undertakes the same challenge.
    Chloe tells me you are a wonderful group and have thrown yourselves into 3 peaks.What wonderful new friends you will now have from sharing this experience.
    Thank you laura,you have rekindled the memories for us and I know how special and important the communication is.
    Love to all.
    Kerry Chick

  9. Hello Brooke,

    Congrats to you and the team on your accomplishments so far! One to go. Many thanks also to the continued support of the guides and porters. Laura is doing a great job on the site updates, which we anxiously anticipate and enjoy. Be careful and have a great time. Please be sure to get a good photo of you at the Kili summit with the pin. I am certain that Pop-Pop is watching and is very proud of you!
    Love Always,

  10. Hi Luce! Great to hear your voice yesterday and to know that you and the team are doing so well. We’re so proud of what you’re doing, both on and off the mountains. Go make Kili into a mole-hilly! Love Hugh, Meg, Bellaboo and Madeloo

  11. Woke up and went straight to the blog to hear news!! I am so moved by each and everyone of you and your vision and commitment to these causes and climbs. You are in our hearts for the remainder – one step at a time. Warm hugs to Leah and Toni from AZ and a big enveloping hug to you all on your way. Laura – you rock! Thanks for keeping us posted.

  12. Hi Yvette and the team,
    I wish you all the best for Kili. I am very proud of you and the entire team. Good Luck and have a great time,

  13. Hey Luce – we are staying next door to the School of St Jude – we have just flown past Kili and could not see you – alhough we all waved – did you see us?

    Love Jane, Sandy, Susie & Brian

  14. Sending lots of love and energy for your final summit! Best of luck, Ladies. I can’t wait for the report that you’ve reached your third peak!
    xo, Logan

  15. Hi Luce, Millie is working on the standing so that by the time you summit Kili her goal is first steps. Make sure you wave when you all get to the top. Millie will proudly wave back and put her hands on her head. You and the team are an inspiration. Love James, Vivien & Amelia.

  16. I love your site!

    Experiencing a slow PC recently? Fix it now!

  17. Where is Sarah?


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