Monthly Archives: August 2015

One month to go!!

I’m aware that I start every blog post in the same way, but really time is going so fast! The countdown is now down to one month which is really very scary…

On the training front, I am trying to walk or hike at weekends as much as possible, though as I mentioned before it’s quite difficult in West London! I’m also having to be quite careful with my long suffering left knee who’s a bit weak thanks to an old netball injury, and who didn’t really enjoy the descent of Ben Nevis very much. So I have stopped running and playing netball, which means my exercise is currently limited to walking and my trusty Jillian Michaels 30 day shred DVD…

Fundraising has slowed down a bit recently, although I have had a lot of promises of sponsorship which I think will appear closer to the time. I may try and fit in another cake sale or something in the next few weeks.

And in terms of preparation for the climb, I’m in the process working my way through a very long shopping list… I keep finding myself drawn to any outdoor shop I walk by – especially if it has a Sale sign in the window. I think I underestimated slightly how much all this mountain gear would cost so I’m happy for firstly the 15% discount at Cotswold Outdoor, and that I work near Lillywhites where there is a great outdoor section. I also managed to spend a small fortune in Boots recently on things like water purification tablets and wet wipes and there is still plenty more on my shopping list! I am very much a list-maker so I currently have several lists going – packing list, shopping list and a few to do lists – enough to keep me occupied for the next few weeks!

Shopping for Mountain Kit

From the dauntingly long Kilimanjaro Trek kit list that we were provided with, the only things that I already owned were some base layers and a windproof soft shell jacket from skiing and running. Apart from those and my Meindl Toronto boots I bought back in February, I’ve pretty much had to start my mountain wardrobe from scratch.

I’ve been making numerous trips over the last few months to Cotswold Outdoor, which is just round the corner from where I work, and thanks to Discover Adventure I also get a 15% discount there – very handy indeed! So I now have most of the basics, and having tested them out a couple of times, I am quite confident that they were good choices (although I guess this can only be confirmed at 3am on Kilimanjaro summit night).

The trousers I decided on are the Craghoppers Kiwi Pro – I first bought the fleece-lined winter version and liked them so much I also bought the unlined summer version. Compared to other trousers I tried, these have a much more flattering fit and none of those zip off knees that I’m just not sure I could pull off.

I got a bit confused by all the advice on waterproof jackets, and first off I bought one of those 3-in-1 waterproofs from The North Face with a zip-in inner jacket. But then I got it home and realised how annoying and pointless it is to keep taking out the inner jacket, so I returned it and went for a Berghaus Calisto Delta jacket, which is a more basic waterproof outer jacket that can be worn with as many fleeces and warm layers as I like underneath without have to attach any of them. I’ve worn this a few times already and can confirm that it is indeed waterproof.

And finally, the day pack. I figured this is one thing (along with socks) that can make or break comfort levels during the trek, so I didn’t want to borrow one or scrimp too much in this area. I went for the Osprey Tempest 30L in a rather bright shade of pink (safety first, don’t want to be invisible if I get lost on a mountain!) and it seems to be a good choice so far. It’s a specific women’s shape so fits better over the chest and hip areas, it’s lightweight and has lots and lots of handy pockets :) I did find after Snowdon that my collarbones were very sore by the end of the day, but I think that’s due to them being exceptionally bony rather than a fault of the bag (and possibly due to the fact I was carrying two bottles of champagne in the bag). I didn’t have the same problem for Ben Nevis so hopefully it will be fine!

There are still a worrying number of items left on my shopping list that I will need to get over the next few weeks, the most important being a sleeping bag… I’ve been putting that off as I’m not sure where to start and it seems like a big investment for a week long trip – on the other hand, the idea of borrowing or renting a sleeping bag does not really appeal!

The problem with West London…

Don’t get me wrong, I think West London is a great place to live, it’s just a bit too flat to be useful for training to climb a mountain…

I have had a few lovely walks along the River Thames near my house, the most recent being a 15km round trip to Barnes a few weeks ago.

Photo 25-07-2015 11 03 46While it was a lovely walk it didn’t really feel like proper training as it was too easy and flat! I walked almost as far as our Ben Nevis round trip, but in about a quarter of the time.

When possible, I’ve been trying to get in some hikes in some slightly more hilly areas in Surrey, either Box Hill or Devil’s Punchbowl. We went to Devil’s Punchbowl a week later for a hike – although Jason has had enough hiking with me so he stayed at the cafe while I walked :)

Photo 02-08-2015 15 49 01

My phone ran out of battery near the end so didn’t track the whole walk, but it was about 14km with about 300m elevation gain. Unfortunately I got shin splints during the walk (I think from the downhill at the beginning) and they were really painful for nearly a week after but fine now. I’ve only ever had shin splints from running before and I hope this was a one off!

Apart from walking, I’m being a little cautious with my exercise regime due to a dodgy knee, that’s been dodgy for a long time but that I’ve been extra wary of since climbing (or more accurately, since descending) Ben Nevis. So no running, netball or anything high impact for a while :(