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Trek4Mandela team unpack experience at Mt Kilimanjaro

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Almost half of the 46 Trek4Mandela climbers made it to Africa’s highest peak, Uhuru. It was a tough expedition and many suffered from altitude sickness.

Two climbers were rushed to hospital from Kibo Base Camp following severe mountain sickness and an international climber broke her ankle.

On Tuesday night women hikers started their final ascent from Kibo Base Camp as the men followed at 23:00.

They trekked in sub-zero temperatures and made it to Gilman’s point at sunrise. From there climbers had to walk another four hours to reach the peak.

Climbers took eight hours to reach the first point and a lack of oxygen caused some to fall asleep at the first rest stop. Hallucinations, vomiting and fatigue ended the journey for others.

SABC News Reporter Gillian Pillay recounts the final trek on the sunrise that would have been Madiba’s 100th birthday: “We’ve been walking for just under 12 hours and in the distance Uhuru…. many are beyond mental and physical exhaustion. This is where just a single step is beyond challenging.”

From Gilman’s point, they walked to the next leg to Stella.

Pillay says: “The reward a thick blanket of snow. Among those who summited were SABC News’ Thabo Madilola and myself but we abandoned our double summit attempt following a grueling first climb to the peak.”

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