Climbing Africa’s highest mountain pushed, Michelle Crowther, marketing and business development director at Crowther Chartered Accountants, to the limits.
I’ve always felt an urge to push myself to the extreme; it’s how I feel I learn and develop. Putting myself in difficult situations has helped me to grow, not only in my career but also in my personal life.
Most recently, I completed the climb of Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro. It was definitely an experience I will not forget in a hurry.
Battling sickness, extreme climate changes and sleep deprivation were just a few of the challenges the team and I faced.
Upon leaving home, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I knew it would be tough, but I’d never done something that required such physical and mental exertion.
I had all my equipment ready to go and I’d continued my normal exercising routine, in the lead up to the trip, just to ensure I would be fit enough to take on the climb.
When we arrived, we were told to stay in single file rows, with a leader at the front to set the pace. This was to prevent altitude sickness. Despite this, one member of the team did have to be rushed down the mountain, due to suffering from extreme altitude sickness, that was scary. During the trip I had no contact with the outside world. In a way, this was quite unnerving, but as the days passed by, I soon learnt to really enjoy the freedom of not being attached to my phone. It’s amazing the places your mind will go when not distracted by mindless scrolling of social media.
Unfortunately, the team and I were struck down with a terrible stomach bug, right in the middle of our trip. There really was no choice but to soldier on to get to the top.
When we reached Barranco Wall, we were all frantically trying to scramble up the hill. But the trick is to go slowly and make sure of each footing you take. It takes about one to two hours to complete this part of the journey, but I really enjoyed it as kept me occupied and seemed to break up the monotonous walking.
When we finally reached the top after seven days of travelling, temperatures had changed from 28 degrees at the bottom of the mountain, to a chilly -10 degrees at the top. Kilimanjaro is one of the most painful things I’ve had to endure, but also one of the most rewarding. It was all made worthwhile having raised £14,614 for Variety, a children’s charity supporting disadvantaged young people across the UK.
I’ve just about recovered from my Kilimanjaro trip and I’m now mulling over what I’ll do next. In 2020 my partner and I have planned to cycle across Vietnam. Watch this space…