* Feb. 25: The team passed through lush jungle. One of the youths left because of a pre-existing health problem. At the end of they day, the group settled into huts. * Feb. 26: They reached Horombo (12,204 feet) hut after a slow, steady six hour and 45 minute hike. They slept knowing the next day’s climb would be harder. * Feb 27: The rain forest changed to shrubs. The hikers, after a seven-hour ascent, felt the lack of oxygen. Many suffered headaches and some vomited. Altitude sickness is not uncommon for climbers. The team was unsettled to be passed by people being carried down on stretchers. They spent the night in the Kibo Hut (15,429 feet). * Feb. 28: The walk started shortly after midnight. Most aspirants who wanted to reach the peak leave at that hour not just to see the sunrise, but because fog often sets in by 8 a.m. Despite difficult in breathing and vomiting, they reached Gilliman’s peak (18,651 feet), but Uhuru peak was another two hours away. * General Sarakikya had warned that when people make it to the top they almost immediately want to start back down. The 19 of the original 35 that persevered to Uhuru Peak found he spoke the truth. * March 1: After the eight-hour walk down to Marangu gate at only 5,905 feet, the group arrived with aching limbs, heading for hot showers and cold beers. “But deep inside we feel like we have overcome an incredible challenge. Many of us have come back down as changed people, very much looking forward to the future!” Challen’s Web site reports.

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