On Saturday afternoon all six of the barefoot climbers summited Mt Kilimanjaro.
In a post-summit blog post Andrew King writes: “After setting off this morning in sub-zero temperatures, the team realised that today would challenge each and everyone of us. It would be a day that would make any previous day look very ordinary. The gradient and loose volcanic scree continued relentlessly for 4 and a half hours from Kibo Huts (4700m) to Gilman’s point (5681).”
At high altitude and walking on scree and snow, Andrew calls their pace ‘poley-poley’, which is Swahili for ‘slowly slowly’. “Even at this pace each step was a challenge and there was a lot of heavy breathing around and not as much banter,” he says.
There had been a two-foot dump of snow a few days before and although there were sections where hikers had trodden a path through the snow, there were other areas where the barefooters had to negotiate their own route over the snow and ice.
“As the iconic Uhuru Peak sign edged closer and closer, the moral of the team lifted and the hardships of the past five days started fading. We reached the peak as one very emotional tribe knowing that we had achieved what we had set out to do. The entire barefoot team had summited – sore – but with no serious injury.”
You can read other reports the Barefoot Challenge on www.barefootimpi.org. Images above from Andrew’s blog post.