Kilimanjaro – Day 6/10 – Third cave to Kibo (base) camp

I woke up feeling OK, but not good. I could feel the headache in the back of my head a bit distant though and I felt a bit dizzy. I was hoping the headache would have been completely gone by the morning, like all the mornings before, but since that was not the case I knew it was going to be a tough day and I might not be going to the summit. So I changed my mental goal to Kibo for now. I thought if I can just get to Kibo camp I am happy and I have reached my target.

First few hours were still OK. I was managing my headache, drinking ridiculously a lot of water, breathing my lungs as full every time as I can and taking one step at a time. Still it was not enough. I felt worse by the step and looking at the scenery I started to ask myself questions like ”What are we doing here?”, ”What am I doing here?”. There is nothing here, no plants, no birds, no animals, NOTHING. Not even bloody rocks big enough to go pee behind!

We should not be here. This is not for humans. This is like walking on the moon…
Hah! A rock for an Alfresco visit spotted!

I could sense everyone was more quiet. It was getting harder and we were climbing higher all the time. Every single step you had to concentrate on breathing and speed being as steady as possible. There was no talking, just breathing, walking and a lot of time to think about things. Like for example if you will continue to the summit or stay at the base camp. Before we reached the next camp I had made up mine or rather the answer was given to me.

We had a break around 2 hour mark which was midway (about 2,5 kilometers) and the kitchen crew had bought some coffee, tea, cake and biscuits to us which was a really nice surprise. I put my legs up against a small rock as I felt like blood was not circulating after so many days on my feet. Fluids were gathering to my body as rings on my finger were not moving which is always a good indication of that. I felt a bit better during the break and confident that I can get to Kibo although the headache was there all the time, but still not so bad that I had to take any medicin. We were at about 4300 meters now.

No plants, no animals apart from Team Ubuntu

400 meters ascent sound like nothing especially if you have been to Norway for example where most mountains next to fjords are higher than that and you take an evening walk up them and back in less than few hours. Here in high altitude it’s not the same. You don’t rush up. This is not a high heart rate exercise. As a matter of fact on the way up my heart rate average was 115 which equals to normal walk and my max is 198-199 so there is quite a lot to go before I would be at max level.

Still I felt exhausted, tired and I could hardly keep going. I tried to keep the heart rate as steady as possible too all the time. By the time we got to about 600 meters before Kibo camp I felt the headache getting worse. I was prepared it would probably get so bad at some point that I would need to take Ibuprofen, so took half a tablet. I don’t really use Ibuprofen so usually small amount is enough. I felt like everyone was rushing a bit to get to camp and my head just kept pounding.

About 100 meters before camp I felt so sick and like I would throw up soon. My head was pounding so hard and felt so heavy that I went straight to my tent to lie down. I could not do anything I felt so bad so I just sat there and thought about how I feel now and how hard the day had been. I weighed the options of maybe going up as I would probably again feel better after a bit of sleep and staying still.

I thought I don’t want to go up there. I thought I have come all the way here, so I should go up there. I thought I am giving up not going up there. Would the others be disappointed if I didn’t go up there? I thought maybe I will be the only not going up. Will I be the only one giving up?

I thought about my children and how I missed them. I thought about my husband and how I just wanted to be close to him and talk to him. I thought about what would happen if I would take a bit more Ibuprofen, ignore the pain and just keep going. I thought about ignoring the pain, being stubborn, keeping on going and ending to hospital. Then I thought about my children again.

I cried, I cried a lot. So much I don’t remember the last time I have cried so much. Then I thought I don’t want to go up there. I felt I don’t want to go up there. I have never had such a strong gut feeling in my life and it told me not to go up there. So I decided I should listen to it and that I am not going to the summit.

I probably could have tried, I probably would have felt better later on and with Ibuprofen kept going, but I had found my answer. Then I went to the mess tent to have lunch and told everyone. Next day it turned out to be a wise decision.

The tent fabric was frozen stiff

I could not eat anything during lunch though I felt so bad, but had a mug of Milo anyway. We measured our HR and CO2 levels. My CO2 had dropped to 75% from the mornings 93% and my heart rate was higher again around 96. Just the CO2 level drop was clear enough hint that I should not go so went back to tent to sleep. I think that just the fact that the decision had been made eased my mind and I knew the stressing, pain, anxiety and wondering will I get there was over.

I knew I don’t have to worry anymore, I didn’t have to have the strength to carry on anymore so I can now relax and just stay here. Stay alive for one more day here at 4700 meters and then we can go down and home. Just one more day and during the day I will hopefully acclimatize and feel better by the morning.

After the nap I felt better and managed to eat some dinner. Had to take the other half of the ibuprofen also. Pretty soon after dinner everyone head to bed as all others were heading to summit at 4 am and some were not feeling too good either, but good enough to go. As I suspected I was the only one not going, but was already OK with my decision. I knew it was the right one. Besides I wanted to wake up also to see them off.

Team Ubuntu was really strong. The only thing bothering really was the tummy aches and the runs. Other than that CO2 was great and they felt good. I was happy that I was the only one feeling so bad. They were all good to go to the summit and I did not want to miss them going.

It was already really cold, below zero degrees maybe -2 or -3, but there was no snow at base camp. Our tents were frozen stiff because of some cold rain earlier and for the first time I had to have a bit more clothes on when sleeping.

I was relieved that the decision had been made and eager to see the others off and welcome them back the next day. Fell asleep in those thoughts looking forward to the next day at 4700 meters thinking, wow, am I really here?

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Kilimanjaro – Day 5/10 – Second cave to Third cave camp

We woke up a bit later about 30 minutes, but I was already up with the birds like usual. Sun was rising and it’s beams were hitting the snowy summit creating a postcard view which me and Rolf from Switzerland stared at for a while and took photos. We tended to be the first ones to wake up each morning with the birds. I liked to be up before the hassle and fall asleep after everything is quiet. I suppose it’s my way to unwind and relax after being social for the day and allows me to listen to my own thoughts for a while.

Post card view of kili at 6 am just after sunrise

This morning though I woke up early also because I was so hungry. A few days of walking uphill and the bigger calorie consumption it is starting to catch up on my body. In the morning they had always hot water in the mess tent so went there to get some Milo so I would last until breakfast.

It’s the same routine every morning it seems. Camp life has it’s own schedule which was getting more familiar to everyone. The chef and his assistant(s) wake up a bit earlier to boil water and cook food just before the sunrise around 6:30-7am. Breakfast has been good so far with oat meal, toast, pancakes, fruits plus sausages, jams, honey and such with coffee, tea and Milo. I usually took oatmeal, coffee and toast or pancakes. Toast with honey, jam or peanut butter and pancakes with honey and lemon juice.

Our destination already closer but still so far…

After breakfast we headed uphill again and everyone stopped on the way at the spot where we knew there was mobile coverage for a while to message home and check messages back. It was a cloudless sunny day so it was hot although it was not more than 12 to 15 degrees at daytime. Cold breeze helped a little bit but the trek still it felt like it was a really long way although it was only 3,73 kilometers and ascent 380 meters from around 3483 meters to 3948 meters.

I probably should have drunken more water again as the headache started again after few hours of walk. By the time we got close to Third cave and to our snack break spot I also started getting a bit of nausea, but forced a Snickers bar and some peanuts down my throat. Snickers bars have become my new best friend along with everything else high carbohydrate. Apparently at high altitude it’s better to eat high carbohydrate food and keep protein to minimum as it helps with acclimatization and creation of red blood cells.

Next to our campsite was this huge floodplain

After we got to Third cave camp I slept for a a while and we got some lunch. Nausea had passed also so decided to go for the acclimatization walk after all, just a short walk up the hill again. It had been really misty since we got there and we were among the clouds which kept sweeping the plain, The plain on the side of which our campsite was looked like a floodplain for rainy season or when the snow melts down they would create a river rushing down from the top. We had not really seen the views until then, but suddenly the mist disappeared presenting another postcard image view of the Uhuru peak in snowy white sunset.

Uhuru Peak appeared after the mist vanished with the sun setting behind it
Photo towards our camp from acclimatization walk altitude 4000 meters

It looks a lot closer now, but still 1800 meters in altitude away our camp being at 3800 meters and the walk took us to about 4000 meters. Never been that high in my life without an airplane so good on me for making it this far!

After the walk high altitude symptoms started to kick in again more and I did not feel like eating at all and the headache came and went. Nausea was definitely worse than the headache though. Managed still to eat a bit of soup, pasta and mangoes. After dinner the usual coffee and tea to get the fluids out of my body and more water to acclimatize and heaps of ”Alfresco” visit. It was getting a bit harder to find ”good spots” as there were hardly any plants and fewer rocks. I did not really like the portable toilet for number one anyway…

Going any higher felt a bit daunting to be honest as I was struggling so much with nausea and the headache coming and going. My head felt really heavy and the headache was mainly in my neck. Typical high altitude symptoms I was told. I had not taken any medication because I wanted to know when I start to feel bad. I needed to know what my body is telling me so decided not to take anything unless I have to and so far the headache tended to go away when we got to camp and stayed still and by the morning it had always been gone. So I was hoping that this would be the case this time too and fell asleep in those thoughts trying not to slide downhill on my mattress all the time.

The next day we would be heading to Kibo base camp at 4700 meters which would be our home for the next few nights before going back down.

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Kilimanjaro – Day 4/10 – Simba camp to Second cave camp

Welcome to my ”hotel room”

We all had our own private ”hotel rooms”. My tent number was 9. I slept otherwise well but had to wake up a few times to go to the ”bush” because I had been drinking so much water due to being dehydrated the previous day. Guideline was to drink as much water as you can to get rid of the altitude sickness symptoms so I was just doing as I was told.

I didn’t really mind waking up and going out since it was not too cold yet and when everyone is sleeping it’s s peaceful and quiet. Most nights the sky was clear so you could see every single star shining bright. It was so beautiful that I wanted to just lay down on the ground and keep staring up. Living in the city you seldom see that view of the sky so every time I ”had to go” at night I didn’t really mind and stayed for a while to stare at the stars.

I was happy to wake up without any symptoms from the previous days headache so assumed it was caused by dehydration and not high altitude OR if it was caused by high altitude at least my body had clearly acclimatized already to this altitude (around 2645 m Simba camp).

Views towards Kenia. Climb up from Kenian side of the mountain.

We had breakfast at 7 am and left right after it as it was going to be a bit longer day today. Second leg was 6,12 kilometers and it was still hot, but getting cooler already so more familiar to me and I did not sweat that much. We started from around 2645 meters and climbed up to 3494 meters (according to my sports watch). Altitude gain was 746 meters so a lot more than the day before. Vegetation was getting a bit more scarce and low grown, but still above head level so not much views in any direction.

Again we were greeted by our crew at the Second cave camp with song and dance. We were all feeling pretty OK and didn’t have any bad symptoms. Some had a bit of head ache and mostly upset tummies. I only had a bit strange feeling in my head and could feel that we are now higher and my body was working harder again as my average HR seemed to creep up again a few notches being at 81 bpm now (normal around 60-65).

We had lunch and measured our HR and CO2 levels. Mine was up a bit from the morning understandably CO2 was 96 and HR 92. So about the same as the day before which was a good sign that my body is still adjusting well to the ”thinner air”.

Clouds subsided. What a view!

Then the clouds subsided and revealed our snow peak destination. It looked both daunting (because it is still so far away) yet majestic and respectable. No wonder Kilimanjaro plays such a big part in everyone’s life here. It’s pretty hard to ignore!

Few hours of rest and it was time for the acclimatization walk around 4 pm. I felt perfectly fine so decided to go for it and kept my feet up during the break to get the fluids flowing which was apparently a good idea since the ”bush” called me many times in the coming hours…

View down from the acclimatization walk to our camp

Acclimatization walk was 1 km from 3500 m to 3580 m up a small hill. Atop the hill we found mobile coverage so managed to send an SMS message home to say all is well hoping that I would receive a response latest by tomorrow when we will pass the same spot going up again. Got a response from hubby pretty much straight away so at least messages did go through.

After the acclimatization walk we enjoyed dinner and talked for a while. Some played cards, but generally when it gets dark there is not much to do so headed to tent early again. Tried to read a bit but to be honest was again so tired that hit the bed early. It was getting a bit chillier, but still not cold so no need to dress up too much with the warm sleeping bag I bought.

Next day we would be heading again higher up to 3800 meters so expecting it to get tougher.

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Training – W7/2020 Trekking, trekking and trekking

The amount of trekking we did was admirable and not just in kilometers but in altitude. I was surprised how much more calories you consume going uphill than what you would on flat ground. Probably altitude gain has something to do with it also as at least my heart rate started to increase the higher we went.

In general we left from higher than I have ever been without a lift. I have been once in 2500 with a ski lift in Chamonix, France and once with a gondola at 3800 meters in the very same place for about half an hour. So this was all new to me and it was interesting to see how the altitude would affect my body.

From exercise perspective not sure to what category to put all these. My heart rate was around average 100-130 all the time (my max is 199) so definitely nowhere near ”hard exercise” and PTE around 1 to 2. Still I felt tired and definitely did not feel like going faster so assume that my body was not coping too well with the lack of oxygen.

Then again, what do I know. As I said this was my first time moving anywhere in such a high altitude!!

Anyway below a bit of recap from week 6 in figures.

To first camp (Simba) 3rd day

  • 4,59 kilometers
  • From 2300 meters to 2639 meters, ascent 304 meters
  • Speed 2km/h

To second camp (Second cave) 4th day

  • 6,12 kilometers
  • From 2645 meters to 3494 meters, ascent 746 meters
  • Speed 1,5 km/h
Acclimatization walk around 4pm
  • 1,06 kilometers
  • From 3500 meters to 3580 meters
  • Speed 1km/h

To third camp (Third cave) 5th day

  • 3,73 kilometers
  • From, 3482 to 3948 meters, ascent 380 meters
  • Speed 1,3 kilometers
Acclimatization walk
  • 1,77 kilometers
  • From 3955 meters to 4112 meters
  • Speed 1,7km/h


  • 17 kilometers
  • 11 hours
  • Calories 4131 kcal
  • From 2301 meters to 4112, ascent 1811 meters (What? Really did I do that?)
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Training – W6/2020 Last week training

Last week of training before Kili. Not that I can make any changes anymore but wanted to train a bit more since when in Kili I know I won’t be able to go for a run or gym at all. I am so used to running that the possibility of not being able to run for a few weeks feels a bit daunting

I was happy being able to train a bit more and am looking forward to finally going to Tanzania next week. I am ready with all gear and have been able to train for Kilimanjaro challenge as planned sticking pretty well with my training plan.

I have improved my stamina, endurance and oxygen intake just as intended so I could not be more proud of my achievement *a pat on my back*.


  • Running 23 kilometers
  • Stair climer once to 50 floors
  • Cross trainer 11 minutes
  • 1 gym training

Training plan

No plan… just run and climb as high as you can 🙂

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Training W36 – Overseas ventures

I was trying to get back on track with training this week, but time simply has not been on my side lately. I have been struggling with trying to find time even for a short run and it seem like time is flying so fast I can’t keep up with it. Normally my amount should be around 20 kilometers of some sort of running, but now I am struggling to get there. This week my long run was at Frankfurt, Kronberg up Alt König, but as my HR monitor was being repaired and my mobile ran out of battery around 2’ks before the end I did not get the full training recorded. Calculating that missing 2 k’s I did reach pretty close to the 20 kilometers after all.

The run at the top of Alt König was really good training and I felt like had for once done something strenuous but not too strenuous to wear me completely out. I have a tendency to run too fast when I get too excited and then few hours after exercise my ”battery” runs out like from an old winding clock. When that does not happen after a long run I know the pace was not too bad and the exercise was good and this is what happened in Germany on the route up and down the peak.

I also cycled more than normal. Neighborhood trails are getting boring so cycled to another forest close by with lots of trails. It had very good hills up and down so need to remember that for future uphill training.

Week, by week I feel like I am finally progressing all the time. Mornings do not feel so tiring anymore and on the runs high hills are easier than before. Generally I feel like I have so much more energy and at the gym I feel like a super woman! So people (read women) check your iron storage values, you never know as iron deficiency seems to sneak up on you in time.

I am also planning on adding some meditation/mindfulness/yoga or similar to my training plan to help on those long nights in the tent and controlling breathing. Now I know I breathe too superficially, not deep enough and it would also help with singing (and running and climbing in high altitudes). The more hectic life is the more you tend to just take quick breaths and not breathe deep enough.

All this of course is just a waste of your lung capacity so I have decided to see if I can improve it. Got this app designed for meditation on my phone which I intend to use in the evenings so let’s see!


  • 3 times Trail running altogether 14 kilometers
  • 1 time Basic running 3.5 kilometers, this was my HIIT training for the week
  • 2 times Cycling altogether 14 kilometers
  • 1 gym session


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You can do that through my JustGiving page. Or by clicking the Sponsor me button below. Every euro helps me to achieve my target of 2000 EUR which will go directly to help children through Unicef UK. Thank you in advance <3

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Training -Midsummer in Finland – time to launch the site!

Here I am at my parents house in Finland waiting for my eldest son to arrive with train that was VERY late. Tomorrow we will head out to summer cottage for a few days for a well deserved break.

Getting ready for Kili has been a bit on halt due to the busy end of school year and other stuff. Spring has been way too busy but I managed to do my gym/run regime for a almost 1,5 months until I got sick.

Now after a week of being ”ok” I am _thinking_ of maybe doing a run on the weekend in the forest at summer cottage. Certainly would need the time on my own in the middle of nothing.

Plan is to try and to increase oxygen intake slowly with some HIIT training and high hill spurts. Adding a bit of gym there should be a good start. Problem is time, how to fit all this into every day life hassle, we’ll see soon enough.

Now Midsummer festivities in Finland. Time of the summer solstice party where the sun and people do not sleep at night.

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