The climbing company had their own hotel they booked us into – something like a railway station; coming and going of all sort of people for 24h a day. We were briefed about the climb the day before departure, how long and how high to walk, what to take and not to take, what to expect, and especially what not to expect.
The next day the shuttle brought us to the Machame Gate, the border of the national park and the beginning of the trail. The whole place rather locked like Paris or Heathrow airport after a 48 hours strike of the cleaning staff and the pilots at the same time combined with an ice storm and large inundations in the main buildings. Hundreds of porters, climbers, cooks, guides were already queuing up for registering with the park wardens. We too, to inform them about the grandfather’s 3rd girlfriend, the exact hour of Monika’s first date and other important information essentially necessary to climb a mountain. After an hour or so, off we went, with a team of 6 porters, a cook, a guide and his assistant.
Together with us another approx. 300 people from different companies were climbing. Hence, you never felt lonely and there always was a lot of chatter and discussions. You have a little bit the feeling of being at the Costa del Sol or Rimini beach in August or in Ballito during X-Mas time, queuing up at McDonnald’s for a cheeseburger with double tomato sauce and artificial Bacon.