By Erin Quigley and Sophie Jago, Year 13
Last summer we embarked on an adventure of a lifetime. Together with the team we travelled to Tanzania in the hope of conquering Mount Kilimanjaro.
We had no idea what we were about to face; assuming it would be similar to our practice treks. Little did we know we would be forced to deal with extreme sickness, cold and exhaustion all within our 8 day journey.
We were all pushing ourselves further than we ever had and so had to really come together as a team to help each other through. We kept each other going by making jokes and playing games as we walked. Each day we trekked for around 8-10 hours in order to reach the next camp and settle down for the night in our tents after eating some soup and vegetables.
As we got higher we began to suffer the effects of altitude sickness. Losing our appetites, headaches, fainting and struggling to breathe we soon realised the immensity of the challenge we had undertaken. On day 6 three of our teammates had to be taken down the mountain due to extreme mountain sickness; one with a torn muscle and another in a stretcher. This really shook us as a team as we wanted to all summit together, however, the rest of us pushed on knowing we had to make it for them.
It was at this point that we all knew that it had been worth the pain as we had arrived at the roof of Africa
On summit night we were woken up at 10pm to start trekking in order to make it to the top for sunrise. Wearing 10 layers of clothing each, we were still all frozen to the bone and exhausted from the altitude and lack of sleep. As we got higher our water froze and team mates were constantly fainting and vomiting. At this stage it took sheer determination to continue going up towards the snowy peak. We arrived at the top at about 8am which was incredible. It was at this point that we all knew that it had been worth the pain as we had arrived at the roof of Africa.
This was a once in a lifetime trip with memories that all of us will treasure for the rest of our lives. Although it was the hardest thing we have ever done, it has changed us all for the better and has made us appreciate everything so much more.
We would have never gotten to where we did without the amazing guides and porters, and the support of Miss Eleanor Thomson and Mark, our World Challenge leader.
The team now has a connection that no one else can comprehend, ensuring us all lifelong friendships. We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to take part in this incredible experience and plan to go back and summit again with the teammates that couldn't make it the first time.