January 12, 2024

New Year's Greetings and Climbing Kilimanjaro

New Year's Greetings and Climbing Kilimanjaro

(The following is translation of the e-mail which was sent to Japanese customers.)



How are you doing?


Happy New Year!

Please accept my best regards for the New Year.


Heart-wrenching things (a big earthquake in Ishikawa Prefecture) have happened since New Year's Day, I hope that you will be able to spend your time safely, and I pray for the earliest possible recovery and the safety of everyone.


As I wrote in my last issue, I had something on my mind at the end of last year, so I went to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.


Because of this plan, last year's triathlon race was only on Sado Island. Instead, I did mountain training at Mt. Fuji, Mt. Hakusan, and Mt. Hakuba. From October, I started a hypoxic training program provided by Yuichiro Miura at "Miura Dolphins" (exercise in a hypoxic room to get used to altitude acclimation). I went to the airport from Miura Dolphins in the morning on the day of my departure.


We changed planes in Ethiopia via Incheon and arrived at Kilimanjaro Airport.

We left the hotel at 8:00 the next morning, and when we passed through the gate to the national park, it was time to begin. We slowly climbed the mountain, climbing about 1,000 meters a day as we acclimatized to the altitude. To climb Mt. Kilimanjaro you must be accompanied by an expert guide. In addition to the guides, there are porters who carry sleeping bags and other luggage, and cooks and waiters who prepare meals at the lodge. It was thanks to these people that we were able to reach the summit. Delicious exotic food was a daily pleasure.

At first, we proceeded through a dense rainforest grove.

From the second day, the scenery gradually changed from jungle to scrub, and we saw many flowers similar to Japanese alpine plants.

On the third day, the altitude became higher than Mt. Fuji and some people will begin to experience symptoms of altitude sickness. I was prescribed Diamox in advance and took half a tablet every morning and evening from the first day. Thanks to this, I had no headache and felt fine until the day of the summit attack.

On the day of the attack, we departed at 11 pm. We had a light meal and took a nap before departure. I put on all the clothes I own. I wanted to say, "Is this a twelve-layered kimono? I put on a head lamp, which I was not used to, and finally we started. It was a relatively warm night, but as we climbed higher, the snow began to accumulate. It was a good thing I had my chain spikes ready just before I left Japan.

Every hour we took a break to drink hot water in the snow and eat supplementary food as energy is taken up rapidly. My head was throbbing by the time we reached the first peak, Gilman's Point (5,681m) in the morning. However, I forgot to take my medicine because of the beautiful snowy scenery, glaciers, happiness and cold. To be honest, I was fighting a headache for about 2 hours until we reached Uhuru Peak (5,895m), the summit of the mountain. Still, I managed to reach the summit! I cried when I thought about my experience level.

We headed down the mountain putting on the chain spikes. I think I experienced some altitude sickness on the descent from here. After the summit, I took one tablet of Diamox and a painkiller, but it was already too late. I had a headache, stomach pain, nausea, and in my case, because of my weak bronchial tubes, a cough and a lot of runny noses all at once. I staggered and fell down from the road, crouched down, and ate a snack, but in the afternoon, I managed to reach Kibo Hut, where we had left the previous night.

After a nap, I ate cup noodles and then finished with another 12 km walk to Holombo Hut where we stayed on the 2nd day. We walked for about 16 hours that day. We were exhausted, but we were happy to have made it this far on our own.


The next day, we continued downhill in the rain to the gate. I was overwhelmed with emotion when I sat down and ate lunch together for the first time in a long time after arriving at the gate. This time there were 12 people in our group, including 4 of us, and one of 12 people had to descend halfway due to high fever. It is said that the average success rate for climbing the summit is 50%, so I think they were wonderful members.


It was an unexpected experience for me. If it hadn't been for my father's death, I don't think I would have climbed Kilimanharo. I learned many things from my father. thank you.


And finally, words of our local guide who encouraged me every night after dinner when I lacked confidence.


“Don't think about things at night.

Just sleep, like a child.

In the morning, walk slowly, one step at a time.

Then you will be at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.”


These words are my treasure.