Monday, 3 February 2014

The Lucky 13 Raised £25,000!

With your help, our Kilimanjaro climbers raised a whopping £25,000!! On Friday evening, they were presented with the final cheque at a 'welcome home' event in Durnovaria Bar for friends, family and well wishers.

The cheque was officially handed over by The Steve Charles Help a Friend Fund chairman, Ben King. Town crier Alistair Chisholm read a poem written specially for the occasion and Dorchester Mayor, Councillor Stella Jones also attended.

The final total is beyond anything we imagined and we are grateful to everyone who made a contribution however large or small. Here's to #thelucky13 and all who supported them!

What's next?

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Day 9: Back At The Hotel

By Bethany Ansell

Earlier today the climbers arrived back at the hotel in Moshi and have since been presented with their certificates. As you'd expect, we were inundated with updates from them as they re-entered the world of wi-fi. Here's what they had to say:

Carole: Conquered that mountain!! Probably THE hardest thing i have ever done!! Looking forward to a few days rest, then home to my lovely family! Thank you all for your love, support, sponsorship and belief xxxx

Ally: What an amazing adventure. Sad it's over but it was immense not sure it's sunk in thank you for your donations and support.

Tommy Lillington at the summit
Tommy: Ok so back in the land of the living and a phone signal!! I have to say that was the hardest thing both physically and mentally I have ever ever done!! Four days in all was going well until altitude sickness got me big time so on day five did a five hour walk to base camp throwing up at least a dozen times then followed by the 6 hour summit walk through the night feeling like I had nothing left before I even started!! That night was the hardest night of my life had to dig deeper than ever, but hey we got there in the end. The whole team were amazing we laughed and we cried boy did we cry sooo emotional but we did it - what an amazing team - thanks for the lovely messages guys : -) xxx

Barney: So.... It turns out I can climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro after all!!! What an amazing week with amazing people. One that I will never forget!! Thank you to all that have supported my trek but most importantly the climbers that I have shared some amazing and very emotional experiences with!! Without their support and friendship, the climb would not have been possible!

Jaime and Lee Burton at the summit
Lee: Back in the hotel, drained!! But taking a lot away with me. We have all learnt a lot about ourselves, the team and we can all learn a lot from the mountain and those who work on her. Deep respect. Being ill on the first day of the climb was painful but with the help of the team I got through it!! Every team member had highs and lows and helped someone in some way!

Jaime: Back at the hotel! Wow that was the toughest most emotional thing I've ever done! But we did it! I couldn't have done it without Lee Burton! One step forward 2 steps back, and he stopped me falling over! I had a little nap on the way up in -10 so you can imagine how exhausted we all were! We have just had our certificates presented by private expeditions and all now heading for the showers. Such an emotional journey and I had to really dig deep to get to the top! Start flight home tomorrow and be back Tuesday morning. Laters! Xxx

Donna: Well I didn't make it to summit along with my fellow climbers, but I did make it to base camp! I'm now back at the hotel and about to hit the shower, as I well and truly smell quite badly. There has been an awful lot of tears ( mainly mine) but there has been a shed load of laughter, and if I hear anyone say that I've just come back off of holiday, I will personally shove their nose into my walking boots!! Lol can't wait to see my family and my buddies, luv u all xxx

Jack and Tom enjoying a well deserved rest back at the hotel
Tom: That's that then: I've climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. Almost to soon to say how it feels (unbelievably tough), glad to be back at the hotel now. Cheers for all the support, sponsorship and love, you're all wonderful. Big hats off to my teammates especially, couldn't have done it without you.

Ben: Probably one of the hardest things I have ever done in my whole life, I am completely ruined. But what a sense of achievement. Couldn't have asked for such a great bunch of climbing buddies. Time for a few Beers I reckon xx

Lee's revenge for the photo Tommy sent us at the start of their adventure of Lee sleeping. Bless.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Day 8: To The Summit of Kilimanjaro!

By Bethany Ansell

They did it!! They climbed all the way to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro at 5895m and here they are flying the Dorset flag looking suitably chuffed.

Huge congratulations are in order to The Lucky 13 for all they have achieved on behalf of The Steve Charles Help a Friend Fund.

Unfortunately our lovely Donna had to stay at Barafu Camp because she was hit with altitude sickness. When this happens, for health and safety reasons, climbers are advised to stay at a lower altitude.

We are gutted for you Donna but you still reached 4600m - which is near as dammit! The rest of the climbers rejoined Donna at Barafu Camp this morning for a rest and they are all now on their way to Mweka camp at 3100m for their last night on the mountain.

They will have a traditional Tanzanian meal for dinner tonight and a chance to say what I imagine will be an emotional goodbye to their guides from Private Expeditions, before heading back to the hotel tomorrow.

So they reached the top - all but one, who with altitude sickness was overcome (you can have that one Alistair Chisholm if you're reading this).

Please join me in congratulating all 13 of our climbers for such a tremendously epic effort!

Friday, 17 January 2014

Day 7: Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp

By Bethany Ansell

Sshh! Don't wake The Lucky 13. They have reached Barafu Camp at 4600m and from here they will begin their summit attempt to the roof of Africa just after midnight tonight.

Our charity climbers have had the afternoon to recoup and relax in preparation for their final ascent to the top of Kilimanjaro, the mountain "created in flames and crowned by ice."

They are attempting to sleep early this evening and will later be woken by their guide with tea and biscuits before setting off by moonlight.

This is it. Let's push them up that mountain with our positive thoughts...

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Day 6: Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp

By Bethany Ansell

Amazing news! Our climbers did battle with the Great Barranco Wall today and all 13 of them were victorious. Well we don't call them The Lucky 13 for nothing.

So what's so difficult about The Great Barranco Wall? Well in climbing terms, it's a scramble and involves having to pull yourself over rock. It's also incredibly narrow and steep in places, which can be physically and mentally challenging when you throw altitude into the mix.

Today they started from Barranco Camp and climbed over the Great Barranco Wall and counter-clockwise around the mountain to their stop for the night, Karanga Camp at 3950m.

Keep up the good work team! If you would like to make a donation to The Steve Charles Help A Friend Fund, please click here.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Day 5: Shira Camp To Barranco Camp

The Lucky 13 at Shira Camp
By Bethany Ansell

Today The Lucky 13 climbed from Shira Camp at 3850m to Barranco Camp at 3950m and the guides from Private Expeditions have confirmed that they all arrived safe and well.

This is one of the hardest days as they may be starting to feel the effects of the altitude. For this reason, the route follows a "climb high, sleep low" strategy which helps to prepare the body for the reaching the summit.

So even though our climbers started at 3850m and finished at 3950m today, in the interim they climbed to Lava Tower at 4600m for lunch before descending to their camp for the night.

Lava Tower at 4600m
According to our friends at Private Expeditions, it's meat and two veg for din dins tonight with a soup starter and fruit for pudding.

They will need the energy because tomorrow they must conquer the Great Barranco Wall, which is one of the biggest challenges of the route. More on this later...

In the meantime, here's a little treat for you - enjoy!

If you would like to make a donation to The Steve Charles Help A Friend Fund, please click here.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Day 4: Machame Camp to Shira Camp

By Bethany Ansell

We have had official confirmation from the guides at Private Expeditions that our climbers, The Lucky 13, are on schedule and all doing well. After spending their first night on the mountain at Machame Camp last night apparently they woke up to an 'all you can eat' breakfast. I'm not sure if this is a joke or if they really did have a banquet!

Let's hope it's the latter as they will have needed the energy today to get from Machame Camp at 3000m to Shira Camp at 3850m. If all else fails, the 600 snack bars kindly donated by Dorset Cereals should see them through (read the original article).

Yesterday's forest gave way to giant heathers, giant senecio (please say I'm not the only one who had to Google that) and lobelias today and it's much steeper - our climbers will have been scrambling over rocky ridges in their shorts. The Private Expeditions blog describes this as Dr Seuss land!

We haven't heard from the climbers themselves since they left the hotel yesterday morning which is either due to technology issues or energy preservation, but we'll keep you updated.

Oh and let's not forget the most important part of today's story - beef biryana for dinner. Sounds like they are all being spoiled to me!

That was a joke of course. The Lucky 13 are putting themselves through a tough physical and emotional challenge to raise much needed funds for the charity. If you would like to make a donation to The Steve Charles Help A Friend Fund, please click here.