Apologies are in order to our followers for the sudden stop in the saga of 81-year-old Jerry Martindale’s successful summit of Kilimanjaro. We last left Jerry’s story on a happy note, with the knowledge that he was in good shape still after his summit along with the 2 extra nights he spent at Millennium and Mweka camp before reaching the Mweka gate for the champagne brunch celebrations!! In the short time after Jerry reached the summit I was back off to the bush again, hosting clients at our newly revamped Isoitok camp and delivering “A Gift of Water” to our Maasai neighbours. Usually I am able to keep on top of things, balancing camp life and Maasai meetings, through my mobile office bush set up, however Ingrid decided to get very busy and my inbox at a sad rate of a few k.b every 2 minutes just kept filling up to the point that I abandoned the thought of even trying to download mail.
Between this time-lapse and tuning back into the world of 3G internet many things have happened and before I whizz back to the bush again later this week I would like to finalize Jerry’s story with a little feedback he sent to us.
Jerry once arriving back to Arusha caught up with Maddy his daughter and Ingrid in the tranquil setting of Arusha Coffee lodge – like Maddy he enjoyed the hot showers, a bed that was actually 2 feet off the ground and the fine dining and services that Arusha Coffee lodge offers to all weary travellers. Maddy had great tales of her own little adventure wildlife safari to share with Jerry and the father and daughter team returned to the States to pick up where each one had left their lives on temporary hold. Jerry took some time to adapt and regain his strength back in Philadelphia but I’m sure he was also kept a tad busy with the bombardment of family congratulations and phone calls during this relaxed period. Doctor “Maddy” I know was on the verge of a new career move which also meant packing up house and home along with moving to a new location where internet speeds seemed on par with TZ bush life. I’m sure she has been busy sorting out the boxes and trying to get things in order since her return.
Jerry commented in brief that he believes the way the itinerary was pieced together allowing 9 days with the special Bivy camp added in there, both before and after summiting was the key to his success story. This kept Jerry’s day on a whole to a manageable time spent walking to avoid over exertion. He enjoyed the crews company having summit porter “Deo” alongside throughout to help with his day pack, with head guide Paul Silwamba, leading the small party over the rocky grounds and up the Baranco wall which for Jerry (summit aside) was rather challenging.
I spent several days at Isoitok camp with B2B chef Valence who was also Jerry’s mountain cook throughout the climb. I heard a few stories also from Valence, he kept stating Jerry was very, very strong and steady not stopping for a break throughout the days trekking just on and upwards – pole, pole style nibbling at the km’s that lay ahead. Seems Valence again did a fine job keeping Jerry well nourished with high energy foods. As Jerry quotes
“With Valence’s fine cooking I was able to keep up a fairly good appetite”.
Loss of appetite is a common thing as one gains altitude and for those who are coming through to take the Kili challenge yourselves in the near future, one must try to take part or all of the food that is laid out before you, your energy levels are crucial in avoiding AMS and trust me the soups are divine up there!! Our biggest complaint from clients is there was way to much food !! Complaints like that we are happy with.
The most difficult times that Jerry mentions was in fact the early long cold nights – 19.00 head down 07.00 hot water delivered to the tent and his day began again..random breathing patterns (also common at attitude) making the nights longer as sleep would come and go in sync with Jerry’s breathing. As I mentioned in an early shout out – having a mantra for the summit helps big time as you Kili shuffle to the top, for Jerry he brought this into play to help him sleep and being a retired mathematics professor he began listing prime numbers and replaying in his mind’s eye the entire Mendelssohn fugee, even these combined efforts was a struggle after 12 hours of laying in a yellow bubble with no idea of what time it actually is on the outside of 1mm of nylon.
Disappointments!!! Only one that was relayed to us and that was the fact that Madeleine’s Kili challenge was cut short by a stomach bug, he hopes, as we do that she comes back to check the view out in person from 5895 metres. As for Jerry he finished his account of Kilimanjaro challenge of a life time with;
‘For me though I’ll quit while I’m still ahead, with memories I will never forget’