Najaat & Adam conquer Mount Kilimanjaro
It's official, Najaat and Adam, conquered Mount Kilimanjaro and lived to tell the tale. We caught up with the power couple over coffee this week and were blown away by their experience.
The preparation for the 7-day Lemosho Route climb, widely considered as Mount Kilimanjaro's most scenic route, started 4 months ago with the support of Stefan and Chris. As fitness enthusiasts, the journey to peak fitness was not a difficult one but the climb to the highest point in Africa pushed them to their limit.
Najaat took Stefan's advice to invest in the TrainingMask® to master breathing effectively under pressure. "I was very regimented to setting a sustainable program. You can set it to different levels ranging from 3,000 - 18,000 feet. I started at 3,000 feet and every couple of weeks I raised the levels".
Adam increased his cardio performance by attending Najaat's Group Cycle classes as well as high interval training classes on Saturday mornings with Chris. During the 8 weeks leading up to the climb, you could've spotted them trekking through Bermuda's railway trails with backpacks on.
Hiking and adventure holidays are nothing new for these two as they love a good challenge. So far, they've climbed Machu Picchu and have hiked in Colorado but Najaat said Mount Kilimanjaro, the biggest item on their bucket list, was "certainly the hardest challenge we've set ourselves".
It was hard to believe that the sharply dressed couple casually sharing their story over tea and coffee went through such a grueling process under two weeks ago.
It took 7 days in total and they were surrounded by hundreds of people who had the same goal in mind, most of who were between 25 - 30, however, there were also some 80-year-olds also on the mission.
One of the first things that struck Adam was the poverty. "There were thirteen men carrying food for us for the week as well as table and equipment on their heads and backs. They were so happy even though they have nothing. It was a humbling experience". This was shocking for Adam because, in Peru, the tour guides had mules to assist with the transportation of food and equipment. In Tanzania, it was different.
After 6 days of camping, feeling nauseous and intense climbing at minus 30 Celsius, both Najaat and Adam were exhausted and felt pushed to the limit. On the 7th day, the tour guides took the group from 15,000 - 19,000 feet, blind folded. Najaat described it as, "pitch black. All you can see is your feet in front of you and you cannot see where you are going. If you put one foot wrong you will fall to your death, you need to be careful". Najaat also was amazed by the fitness condition of the local tour guides, "they do this every week - this is their day job".
The closer they got to the summit, they could hear celebratory noises in the distance. The scene of hundreds of climbers looked like "a pilgrimage in the dark" to Adam. "It looked like a biblical scene - we were all in it together. I just kept concentrating on Jaat's rucksack to catch her if she falls."
Najaat and Adam made it to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro just before the sun came up. They are now part of an exclusive group of 786,000 people who have the bragging rights of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. "It was pretty emotional," said Adam. "It was a real feeling of elation and relief".
"On the last morning, the tour guides baked us a cake on a camp fire on the top of the mountain and they even etched our names on it". Najaat would always remember the guides, "one of them hugged me and never let go. We said thank you and they thanked us. Adam literally took the shirt off his back and gave it to them for the effort that they put into it for us."
For those of you who have a big challenge that you are working towards whether it be climbing a mountain or prepping for a race, Najaat stresses the importance of doing your research. "Know what you are getting into to. The most important thing about climbing a mountain is your boots".
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