We took a 45 minute break to spend time with the children (ages 3-5). They sang wonderful songs that were a combination of English lesson and exercise. Then chaos took the place of order and everyone was running around kicking soccer balls, demanding rides on shoulders. It's hard to tell whose smiles were bigger — theirs or ours.
Tomorrow we begin the climb. We have a “mountain meeting” tonight to go over the plan and to hear from Dr. Freer about altitude issues and adaptation.
Freer is a physician who is considered one of the leading experts on high altitude performance, and she works frequently on Mt. Everest. We will climb in groups of 16. I've already been told that Coach Creighton has assigned my sons, Justin and Steve, and me to Dr. Freer’s group — along with Coach Fox and 10 to 11 players. I asked coach if I should take the fact that Dr. Freer is assigned to my group as a sign of respect or a sign of grave concern.
He just smiled.
Everyone is anticipating the climb with a healthy mix of eagerness and apprehension. Everyone is fit enough to climb an almost 4-mile high mountain (even me), but altitude tolerance is a complete unknown for everyone. Even if you climbed Kili a month ago and felt fine, you might not make it the next time. There are a lot of variables, and hardly any of them are under your control. I can't wait to see the view from the top.
I plan to continue blogging on the climb. There is supposedly cell coverage on Kili (both an advantage and a little bit of a disappointment — I guess there are few places left in the world!). I’m hoping that my iPad battery lasts long enough, and that the solar charger that I imported from England to strap on the outside of my backpack will actually work. We will all find out.
Here we go...