No rich black coffee at my side and no office working space wrapped around me when my phone started vibrating angrily against my leg whilst standing in a supermarket yesterday 20th June at around 17.30. First I saw a missed call and the icon for a message delivered. Checked the missed call to see Paul Silwamba, B2B’s head Kili guide, had been after me!! After the realization of that registered in my head, I went straight to the SMS and once again it was from Paul! Now I’m getting excited and anxious at the same time. Hoping of all hopes that what I read is what family, friends and all of us at B2B had been rooting for since Jerry first set out onto the lower slopes of Lemosho, 11 days prior.
Paul not being one for long winded messages, calmly writes Jerry made it!!! We are all well, followed by the times up and down. Elated I start quietly chanting YES, YES, YES receiving a few looks and stares from other shoppers, I immediately hit Ingrid’s speed dial number to tell her the news and to fire it out to family and friends who were waiting since 07.30 earlier that morning when we had notified them that Jerry had headed off for the summit. Jerry, after leaving Bivy camp, Kili shuffled to the Uhuru peak with a great time of 6 hrs up and only 3 back down!! The down part was always a concern to Maddy and the guides as I mentioned in an early update “Safety on the Mountain” that the descending part is always underestimated with all major and reserve energy banks being depleted as climbers focus solely on getting up to Uhuru peak. It would appear by the times from his summit and descent that 81-year-old Jerry Martindale faced none of these issues and returned to a skeleton crew at Bivy camp to celebrate his success. I’m sure as he settled into his down sleeping bag for a well-earned rest, wearing an internal smile with many thoughts racing around in his head, no doubt one being his mantra that does not turn off that easily J. I’m sure once the B2B crew and Jerry return to Arusha, he will share some of these personal moments of hardship and experiences that have passed him by over the last two weeks with us all.
B2B kili crew celebrating
I have said it before and will say it again – Kilimanjaro is there for all walks and ages of life. I’m a strong believer that the success is not solely in the summit, but the personal/emotional journey and discovery one experiences along the way! Ask yourself how many times is it that you put so much energy and forward planning into an event or activity in any given year??? Jerry at 81 years young has just shown us all that if you set your sights on something you will eventually “See Crystal” however cloudy the journey may have been. Climbing Kilimanjaro has been on Jerry’s bucket list for many years and with the assistance and support of Madeleine, his adventurous daughter who began one of our first email correspondence with “Chris tell me if you think I’m crazy? But my 81 year old father wants to give Kili a shot “ cannot remember my initial thoughts but as I begin to conclude this great tale, my quote for today is;
“Success is in the eye of the beholder and for those who step forward and try”
Although Maddy’s trip was cut short in the early stages, I’m sure she feels and is living that type of ‘Success” as it was she that brought this trip together with belief in her father and I’m sure from her Serengeti location she has now great satisfaction, admiration that her father Jerry’s has now achieved this life time goal. Maddy being an experienced mountain person – knows all about summit attempts and further understands that Kili is not going anywhere. The challenge will still be there when the winds of change and adventure bring her back to Tanzania and one never knows? It may just pull me away from my work station so I too can walk the walk and focus once again.
Jerry’s story and experiences to follow…