Two Béarnese climbed Kilimanjaro: “We did it, it was crazy! »

From Oloron to Tanzania

“Our employment contracts ended in September. We wanted to take advantage of the end of the year to get…

From Oloron to Tanzania

“Our employment contracts ended in September. We wanted to take advantage of the end of the year to go on a great trip together”, explains Chloé, a nurse from Oloron-Sainte-Marie. With Maéva, also a nurse in Béarn, he left France for Tanzania on October 4.

The decision for this trip “was made with a cocktail”, the two young women joke. “We are mountain lovers and we wanted to mark the occasion with a challenge. What is better than Kilimanjaro? »

“We do a lot of hiking in Béarn, we’re used to it, it’s not totally unknown,” explains Chloé, a trail running competitor for several years.

To embark on the adventure, they contacted a French-speaking agency. Because it is impossible to enter Kilimanjaro National Park without a guide.


Chloé, Maéva and their two guides Vitalis and Christian during the ascent of Kilimanjaro.

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“We were supervised by two guides, Christian and Vitalis, a cook and nine porters who helped us transport all the equipment: tents, stove, food, etc. Maeva details. The porters were much faster than us. Most of the time they got ahead. We arrived at the bivouac and everything was already in its place. It was impressive! »

Every night, the camp was set up to spend the night there in sometimes negative temperatures.


Every night, the camp was set up to spend the night there in sometimes negative temperatures.

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“On the mountain we were all the same”

For these two Béarnese, the human adventure prevailed over the physical dimension. “Every night we argued with the locals who accompanied us. The guides did the translation. There was a real sharing moment around the food,” says Chloé. The cook showed us what he was preparing, and it was far from canned food! They were often fresh produce, we enjoyed that! »

“At the beginning of each day, we would say: “Come on, my Kili! to motivate the team. They taught us some words in their language. “Jambo” for greeting, “Ongira” for courage… We use this one a lot! »

“In the end, I think I stick more with the human experience than with the ascension itself,” explains Maéva. “It was very hard to go back to their little lives after six days of discovering those people. I had the impression that we were all the same on the mountain, that there was no difference. Chloe adds.

On the last day, the two friends even started to write a short speech in Swahili to thank their peers. “They kept an eye on us throughout the walk, regularly checking our breathing, our hydration. Because the bodies have been put to the test.

Upon arrival, the two Béarnaise took the time to deliver a speech in Swahili to the attention of their companions.


Upon arrival, the two Béarnaise took the time to deliver a speech in Swahili to the attention of their companions.

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Know how to manage altitude

“We walk about ten kilometers a day. And the further the ascent progressed, the more complicated it became. The last day was the hardest. We left at midnight, because we wanted to reach the top by sunrise. The bodies were tired, we had to go out and use resources. It was the mind that took over at that moment,” says Chloé.

Maéva, Chloé and Christian, one of their guides.


Maéva, Chloé and Christian, one of their guides.

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“We were up against a wall,” adds Maéva. High above you could see the headlights of those who were already there. We said to ourselves: ‘we still have to edit all that!’, it seemed endless, but we did it. »

Less prone to altitude sickness, Chloe reached the summit before her friend. Because the end of the expedition was not easy for Maéva.

“The side effects of oxygen deprivation at altitude, I’ve had them all! jokes the béarnaise. “Headaches, nosebleeds, vomiting, swelling in the head too… Last day I was done with the oxygen mask,” she says.

After four days of walking, the culmination finally arrived. “Once up there we shed a little tear, because it is very beautiful and to think that we have done it is crazy! “, say the two friends.

“After an experience like this, getting back into a routine is difficult. What is certain is that this is the kind of adventure that we want to relive! Why not South America…?

“The feeling once at the top is crazy.  It's hard to describe.  »


“The feeling once at the top is crazy. It’s hard to describe. »

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