CORNWALL, Ontario – Five Cornwall residents are anxiously getting ready to travel to Tanzania to scale Africa’s highest mountain.
The snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania is 19,340 feet high. The 1-member team has been preparing for this hectic and sometimes difficult trek for months.
Getting ready to climb Kilimanjaro are Cathy Chumley, Kathy Maguire, Sandra Tosatto, Ted Biro and his daughter Suzzanne, all city residents.
The group also includes a resident of Williamstown, who prefers to remain anonymous, a resident of St. Lazare in Quebec, and three residents from New York in the United States.
Initially, 11 had planned the trip.
But, one had to cancel at the last minute due to injury.
“We come from different places but all of us have the same joy and passion for hiking and climbing,” said Chumley, the main organizer of the once-in-a-lifetime adventure. “It is the mountains, the nature, exploring and making new friends that bring us all together.”
This trek, emphasized Chumley, will be a bit more difficult than the Mount Everest base camp several team members did a couple of years back.
Chumley said they will plant the City of Cornwall flag and Canada 150 flag on the top of Kilimanjaro to celebrate the special anniversary of Canadian confederation.
The adventurous group will set off from Montreal September 6.
They will travel to the Kilimanjaro International Airport and then make their way to the slopes of the mountain for in-depth briefing with their guides and porters.
All members of the outdoor club have hiked in various areas of British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and the Eastern United States, the Everest base camp in Nepal and the Inca trails in Peru.
Chumley, Maguire and Tossato have some experience at high altitude.
The Everest base camp was at an altitude of 17,000 feet.
“All of us are doing our own thing for training,” Chumley said. “We are hiking, walking daily and some are doing light weight training.”
“Having experienced hiking at a very high altitude, I know is extremely difficult mentally to push through the pain with thin air.”
The team will trek with G Adventures which is a company specializing in adventure travel.
“To me trekking means more than accomplishment,” added Chumley. “It is always great when you finish.”
The team will climb five to eight hours a day.
Scaling and reaching the summit will take about a week.
Mountain temperatures will range from hot to bitter cold.
Also oxygen levels will decrease as they climb higher and at times team members will have to go without showers for days.
The team’s biggest challenge will be the unknown.
All team members are fit and healthy and are preparing for the scale.
Most team members plan to carry their own day packs with water, rain jackets and snacks.
Guides and porters will carry tents, food and other supplies and monitor their heart rates and oxygen levels.
Five members of the team will spend more time in Tanzania visiting the country’s world-famous Serengeti National Park local villages and other tourist attractions before returning home.