Posted by: Laura Hartstone | 29 January, 2011

Day 20: Uhuru Peak

It is not a lack of fitness, determination or mental strength that prevents people from standing on the summit of Kilimanjaro, it is altitude. At 5,985m Kilimanjaro is the highest freestanding mountain in the world and altitude sickness can strike anyone at any time – it is the luck of the draw. It is another reason why anyone attempting a climb of Kilimanjaro should go with a reputable climbing company – safety is paramount.

From sea level cities like Sydney, San Francisco and London it is hard to imagine what altitude sickness feels like, but speaking from experience it is ghastly and suffering its effects shows true determination alone.

Everyone would have been suffering some form of altitude sickness, however, a few minutes ago we received word from our Head Guide Ema that Louise was feeling unwell and turned back to camp. Charlotte, Chris, Holly, Kaitlyn, Kelly, Laura, Lynne, Sarah, Tara and Val reached Uhuru Peak at sunrise this morning.

It would have been a beautiful morning on Kilimanjaro – as you climb it feels like you can touch the stars and the Adventure International Guides make the cold and long journey even more enjoyable with songs and stories to keep one foot moving in front of the other.

The aim of 3 Peaks 3 Weeks is not about reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro, it is about dedication, teamwork and empowering local communities in East Africa –
Congratulations 3 Peaks 3 Weeks 2011, you have done just that!



  1. Well done 3 Peaks 11! An amazing achievement. It has been a long 14 months since you first signed up to this challenge – raising funds, hitting the gym, approaching sponsors again and again and again. You have raised over $91,000 – you paid your own way to get there, you dedicated not only the year leading into the event, but the last three weeks to high altitude hiking. You are truly inspirational and I am sure this has changed your life forever.

    We are all so proud of you. Enjoy the slow walk back down the mountain and your celebrations in Arusha tomorrow – from what I understand it is going to be a fantastic party!

    Well done again and from the founding team of 3 Peaks – thanks for making it move forward in such positive leaps and bounds..

  2. Bravo Brave Couragous Team 2011! We who love you all are humbled by your hearts, generosity, tenacity and strength. Bask in the glory of your accomplishment, enjoy your party and the fellowship of your new lifelong friends and come home to us soon so we can celebrate with you. Huge hugs, gratitude and love to all 11 Wonder Women and most especially my extraordinary sister and soulmate, Lynne.

  3. My Dearest Possum,

    My elation that you have achieved what may appear to be the main goal of your journey is tempered by two things. Firstly I hope and expect that you have achieved much more personally from your 3P3W project than the ascent of 3 mountains, however physically difficult that may have been. Secondly I am thinking of your friend Louise who has drawn the short straw in regards to the altitude sickness. I earnestly hope that, like you, she has attained so much more from the project that the disappointment of having to turn back is only a minor issue.

    Your loving Dad

  4. I don’t know Louise, but I salute her courage and wisdom, especially in those final minutes before the decision to turn back. She went further than most of us ever will in a lifetime, and her experience perfectly illustrates what Laura says in today’s post: It’s not about standing on a summit; it’s about giving it your all and then some. She’s an inspiration for us all in our own extreme moments, she and all the amazing 3Peaks women.

  5. Yippppeeee congratulations to all! Cant wait to hear all about this incredible journey ~ love to all 🙂

  6. Truly amazing, you are all strong courageous woman, and I applaud each and everyone of you. I personally want to thank you all for your efforts in making a difference, selflessly to a world so large. And to the people that guided you along the way…thank you:-) Love and light to you all! Now Kaczor hurry up and get home so I can squeeze your guts out!! Love you girl, so proud!! xoxoxo

  7. awe
    1. an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful, or the like

    We are in awe and inspired by your courage! Way to go!
    Kristen and Jerry Oleske

  8. I’m sitting here my eyes filled with tears of joy for the gift the God has given you all. I try but really can’t imagine the beauty of your summit!!! Mom, your sisters and brothers and neices and nephew are wildly proud of you Sarah as well as the rest of your team. The party awaits!!!!!!! Dad Kaczor

  9. CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF YOU!!!!! Something you will be proud of for the rest of your lives! Not a doubt in my mind that you couldn’t do it Kaitlyn, sooooo PROUD of you!!

  10. Yeah )*(Louise!!!! In my book you made it to the top. I am sure that each of your teammates took a piece of your love, dedication, determination spirit and courage with them. Your body may not have made it, but you did get there!! Yeah)*(Sarah!! Yeah)*(Laura!! Yeah)*(Tara!! Yeah)*(Charlotte!! Yeah)*(Holly!!
    Yeah)*(Val !!!
    Yeah)*(Kaitlyn!!!!!!!!!!Soon to be 21. XXOOMOM/DAD/SEAN
    Yeah)*()*()*(To the Peaks Foundation, Laura and crew!!!!!
    Yeah)*()*()*(For the ADVENTURE team!!!!!
    Yeah)*()*()*()*()*()*(To and for all of us supporters!!! We made!!!

    Yeah for technology!!! (If I had done this at 21, my parents might have recieved a letter “par avion” after I returned home.) It is amazing and scary at the same time.
    Hope my blog posts the way I wanted it to. If not, oh well. Yeah 3^^^s team. Safe climb down. Lots of love, XXOOMOM

  11. Sarah, I know I heard your WOOHOO! this morning echoing on the winds. You did it! Love yo SO much. Mom

  12. Wow! I am at a loss for words. My eyes are filled with tears of admiration, joy, and awe at what you have accomplished. All of you–Louise included. You have done something extraordinary most of us would never consider doing. A life-changing personal journey, a team challenge, and and a victory for the organizations receiving your gifts. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!

  13. Awesome! ^^^ is complete! Your inspiration, perspiration, and dedication is pushing me to see what I can do to make a difference in the lives of others. We are so proud of you! Louise, we know that every part of your being was right there with them! It is a strong woman who knows when to say “no.” Congratulations to the entire team!

  14. tears of joy and relief ..congratulations to our new climb ing family we are so proud of you all. chris you did it.cant think of any more superlatives i think i used them all just a wow has to suffice..icant wait to hear your voice i love you more

  15. We are thrilled that you made it, Val, and we are so proud of you for truly making the world a better place. We tried to raise you to believe you could do anything you believe you can and should do, and it is clear that you are living that in the richest way. Enjoy the climb down. Congratulations to all your team members as well.
    Dad and Mom

  16. Congratulations to EVERYONE!!! All 11 of you made it as a team and accomplished something that few will ever do…Your hard work, determination and teamwork is something to really admire. I love you all and you all have my greatest respect.
    Kelly, can’t wait to hear your voice! love, Mom

  17. Dear DIL (Daughter-in-Love),
    I AM SO VERY PROUD OF YOU, and have been sharing your progress reports with my Bible Study group members, Pastor Meiers, Barb Anderson, the Reinschmidts, Carters and McMillins. I am praying fervently for your a safe descent and trip home. We will have a lot to talk about at our Christmas-in-February in Rochester MN during Presidents’ Day weekend! I love you! Elna, your MIL (Mother-in-Love).

  18. Congratulation Sarah and Team!! Wow…you really did it!! I knew you would!! So so proud of you Sarah! I can’t wait to hug and kiss you. Your favorite frozen concoction awaits in celebration! Love you so much! See you soon!

    hi cioci love u so much! congratulation to u and the team!! cant wait to see u! i hope u r having fun!we all miss u! i saw the videos they r so cool!!! cant wait to here all the stories that u have to tell and what kind of food u ate? i thought it would be warm on top of the m.t. but its only warm on ground. cant wait to see u soon! love ALEXA

  19. Hi Cioci Sarah,
    Did you have a good time? I miss you.

  20. Way to go ladies! You have pushed yourselves to a level few will ever accomplish. Your teamwork, passion, and perseverance is an inspiration to all us flatlanders. May God keep you all safe on your journey home. Kelly, I’m so proud of you girl! ! ! Love Dad.

  21. You did it!!! You are constantly on my mind and I know your determination are making this all possible. You and the team are awesome! Lynnie, you are on my mind and in my prayers everyday. There have been days this week when I felt very tired but I had to keep moving my legs. I guess I think so much about being with you. Sweet sister, take care of yourself and your team. I love you and God bless you. ❤ ❤

  22. Well, Sarah you made it! All the hard work and dedication you put in for this cause was truly accomplished by you, and your teammates. I thank you for taking us along on this wonderful journey. I am looking forward to having you share more of your adventures with your whole family. Well done and God Bless you on your return home.
    Big Hugs & Kisses,
    Cioci Mania (and Babci)

  23. PO POLOPOPOPO POM, PO PO POLOPOPOPO POM……Congratulations to you all!!! Hope Louise is already feeling better??? And YOU MADE IT SIS’!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Je suis très très fière de toi et attend tes impressions avec impatience…
    Bon courage pour le retour!
    Des bisous.

  24. BRAVO !!!!! vous pouvez toutes être fières
    Plein bises à toutes et tous

  25. geniale, c’est super a vous toute d’etre arrivé au bout de l’aventure.

  26. Ohhhh…..Congratulations to you all on such an accomplishment! Kaitlyn, I am so proud of you. Brent is a lucky guy to have you in his life.
    It’s been so nice to be able to read the blogs, and emails from everyone (especially your Mom’s!) Looking forward to giving you a hug when you get home!! Love, Darlene

  27. I hope you are all celebating this amazing accomplishment.Now you are all ready to accomplish anything you set your mind too.Look out world.
    Love ya ,Nana

  28. BRAVO!!!!!!!!!

  29. So pleased to read this post and to hear of your fantastic success, all of you, you’ve been amazing. Our never-ending thanks to Ema and the Adventure International Guides for keeping you all safe, and looking after you so well – thank you! Without your songs and your non-stop good cheer, I have no doubt it would have been much harder for everyone. Congratulations to everyone, you’ve done it for yourselves, for each other, and for environment, health and education in Africa. That’s something you can feel incredibly proud of for the rest of your lives. xxx Cathy and the team at Save the Rhino

  30. Congratulations to the team! Must have been like the top of the world! Can only imagine what it’s like but honored to know one of you!

  31. I’m told that Uhuru is the Swahili word for freedom. You found it at the top of Africa. Congratulations.

  32. Great job everyone!!! We are so proud of you…

  33. Thinking of you Tara and team every step of the way !!!! Well done… you all have amazing strength !!! Take care we miss you and look forward to your return home love mum dad and all the family xxxx

  34. Congratulations to everyone on their own personal accomplishments as well as the accomplishments of the group as a whole. Holly, everyone here has been following you on your journey and is very proud of what you have been able to do. Have a great celebration, you deserve it. We love you.

    Robin and Zoe

  35. To Kaitlyn and all her friends, So happy you made it. Welcome back!!!!XXOOMOM

  36. Hooray for all! So exciting! We are all anxiously awaiting your arrival, Holly, in Aspen. Tons of happy tears, stories, laughs and down-time. Way to go 3 Peaks 3 Weeks Team 2011! Get back safely to your family and homes.

  37. Congratulations 3 peaks 2011 Team! All that hard work on fundraising and training and you are THERE! I hope you enjoy the climb down and get some time to reflect on your amazing contributions as a team. Well done!

  38. Well done and congratulations to you all! Hope you enjoy the celebrations and are enjoying a massive sense of achievement after all of the hard work you’ve put in not only over the past 3 weeks but during the previous 14 months. Huge congratulations! xNiamh

  39. Sarah & Team 2011, I am truly without words on what you have all accomplished! Congrats to all of you! KAZ…Can’t wait to see you girl!!! XOXO.

  40. congratulations to the group for their success in reaching the 3 peaks and raising the funds they did. tough luck louise on the altitude sickness but we both know how hard you worked over the last year, so it wasnt down to a lack of fitness, preparation or determination. be proud. Lx


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