PE women conquer Kilimanjaro

2016-08-24 06:00
From left are Mary-Anne Stott, and sisters-in-law Sandy and Lynne Zoetmulder. They went on the journey of a lifetime, hiking to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.   Photo: SUPPLIED

From left are Mary-Anne Stott, and sisters-in-law Sandy and Lynne Zoetmulder. They went on the journey of a lifetime, hiking to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Photo: SUPPLIED

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NINE months of training and perseverance paid off for three local women when they reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro on Friday.

Sisters-in-law Lynne and Sandy Zoetmulder joined their niece, Mary-Anne Stott, on this expedition after months of preparation.

They set off on their adventure on August 13 and returned, tired and victorious, on August 21 after a six-day hike to the top of Africa’s tallest mountain.

Their training included walking up and down Target Kloof in Walmer with their entire hiking kit, teaming up with two other friends and forming a running team and several other exercises.

Local restaurant owner, Sandy Zoetmulder, said that it was one of those bucket list moments.

“About nine months ago Mary-Anne mentioned that she was keen to climb Mount Kilimanjaro after having already completed two Ironman races. Lynne and I jumped at the opportunity to join her without even knowing whether something like this was possible for me.”

Sandy was diagnosed with severe hip dysplasia about 4 years ago and had to undergo double hip reconstruction. Sandy, who is a mother of two, didn’t believe she’d be in a position to consider an adventure of this nature.

“It was about 100km of walking. Some of the routes were quite tough and steeper than they looked.”

Sandy added that the 100km was divided up between the days and the shortest distance they travelled in a day was 5km. It took them 7 hours to complete, due to the altitude.

“It was the first time I have ever slept in a tent. It really takes a toll on you,” she says.

The rucksacks they had to carry up the mountain, were only allowed to weigh 15kg or less, but even that proved to be quite heavy at times.

“By the fifth day, we got the hang of it, and by then we only had one more day to go,” Sandy adds.

“When we got to the peak, it was amazing and really cold. We were essentially standing on the highest point in Africa and we could not see anything, just a white blanket hanging over the earth. It was both beautiful and eerie at the same time.”

According to Sandy, coming back down the mountain was almost harder than going up.

“Coming down was gruelling. All preparation was essentially just for going up the mountain, but they do not prepare you for when you are coming down. It happened so fast.

“Nine months of planning and training paid off. It was absolutely worth it. I do not regret a single step,” she concludes. – REPORTER

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