Kilimanjaro Volley Ball Match and Summit August 2018

On the 1st April 2016 an e mail popped into my in box. Surely this was an April fool. A volley ball match on Kilimanjaro. The idea was to beat the Guiness Book of Records altitude record for an official game of vollley ball. The idea of Dennis a volleyball fanatic and mountaineer who is currently well on his way with his wife Roxanne to complete the Seven Summits.

Not quite embracing the idea I got to work planning a suitable itinerary which would allow enough acclimatisation to play a game and summit the mountain without any altitude illness. Gideon a friend and superb Killimanjaro guide took on the planning of the trip with me to ensure a safe and well organised trip.   In the meantime Dennis and Roxanne grew their international team and finally on the 11th August 2018 the team gathered in Arusha with said volley ball net. A few lost bags and delayed flights did not hamper our departure and off we went to register at the gate. Our planned itinerary was via the Lemosha Glades route a steady climb and beautiful approach traversing the mountain and moving up to Kosovo camp 4800m for our launch to the summit.

The international team of 15 members aged 14 to 58 soon got into the routine as Gideon’s suerb team looked after us superbly. Unfortunately at Baranco camp one of our younger members developed a sore throat and cough so deciding it not appropriate for her and her Dad to continue we commissioned the chopper who wisked them away back to Moshi.

Continuing we moved higher up the mountain where it was becoming evident that the vast amount of snow on the top (very unusual for this time of the year) may hamper our plans for a summit or crater match of volley ball.  After many team discussions we decided to look for an approriate site to play the game. Even if it was not going to break any records we were still going to have some fun.

At 4911m The Volleyball referees found a site and the net was erected and court carefully layed out even if it wasnt quite flat. We assembed in our teams and a great idea of young Anastasia; Under 21’s and over 50’s teams gathered with duct tape numbers on their backs. Really wanting to avoid running around at this altitude I had no option but to play my first game of volley ball ever. Strict rules of no overactivity were set and two full games of volleyball with match rules were played.  Finally the porters had their chance to have a real game and showed us all how it was done. Content with our efforts and not too worried about breaking any records we returned to camp to rest and prepare for our summit push.

At 5am the following morning we left camp to see the most amazing sun rise and slowly ascended to Stella point. Poor Teodor seemed to have caught the cold and returned to camp with his Dad whilst the rest of us pushed on. Topping out at Stella point we continued along the snow capped plateau to reach the top of Africa. The Ukraine team sang their national anthem and there were tears of emotion for everyones hard work. After hot tea and biscuits we retured to camp had lunch and then took the long walk down to where the air was thicker and the temperature warmer.

Our final day on trek alowed us to reach the gate early afternoon where the whole team of members, porters and guides assembled for the final ceremony of rewards and tips.

Gideons team were outstanding in all respects and Venice the cook provided some of the most outstanding food I have ever had on expedition not to mention Stanley who brought tea every morning and all the porters and guides who made this a wonderful trip but not sure if I want to take up Volleyaball

Thank you Roxanne, Dennis, Anastasia, Florian, Reto, Nestor, Lydia, Denzil, Kristen, Isabel, Johanna, Olga, Andriy, Oleksandr and Teodor for making this adventure happen.