Day 3: Emotions Run High on Mt. Kili3rd March 2009
Day three of the BT Red Nose Climb started off with a special sing-song for birthday boy Ronan Keating over breakfast – swiftly followed by the singer being presented with a giant cake. But as the day wore on, the celebrations were halted as the celebrity climbers were forced to take on board the enormity of their fundraising feat for the first time on their grueling trek up Mount Kilimanjaro.
Just as the girls reached camp towards the end of a long day’s climb, word reached the team that a male climber not far ahead in another group was suffering from acute altitude sickness.
The celebrities’ mood quickly turned from one of jubilant confidence to sombre reality when they witnessed the climber being stretchered down the mountain in an attempt to save his life.
It came after a successful acclimatisation trek up Mount Kilimanjaro’s treacherous Cathedral Ridge, a face of the mountain so steep that the climbers had to scramble with their hands and feet for the first time on the climb. As the news spread, the BT Red Nose Climb doctor rushed on ahead to assist the man taken ill.
In a state of shock, the girls were all tearful as they stopped for the night at a barren camp 3800 metres high. Cheryl described how she felt when she witnessed the climber being dramatically taken down the mountain to a lower height:
"He looked scared’ She said. ‘Really frightened and it shook all of us up. You feel really strange at this altitude anyway, emotional and strange - then to see that really got to us. I started to wonder if I was suffering from it too - but I'm alright and we've got each other to help us get through and hopefully get all the way to the top."
Kimberley said: "This is hard, the walking is tough, but the altitude makes you feel so different. It was great to climb so high today but to see that man looking so panicked was horrible. I'm so glad we are all here to support one another, it would be impossible otherwise."
After witnessing such a dramatic event the celebrities are now keeping a close eye on each other for symptoms of altitude sickness among the team. The A-listers have experienced mild headaches and nausea so far with Fearne also suffering from occasional nose bleeds. Thankfully, overall, the group are coping with the altitude fantastically well so far.
Still suffering from severe back pain, Gary Barlow was forced to wait behind during the optional acclimatisation walk today. Gary said "I woke up with bad back this morning. The rest of the guys did a big acclimatisation climb, but I gave my back a rest and went with a guide on my own for a lonely 4 hour trek. It was the right thing to do though - I'm feeling better tonight - big day tomorrow."
Chris Moyles faced a huge challenge of his own today when he had to overcome severe vertigo to reach the dizzy heights of Mount Kilimanjaro’s terrifying Cathedral Ridge. While reflecting on his detox to prepare for the challenges of the climb he exclaimed “Never mind Gary's back, my liver is in danger of turning a normal colour!”
It’s certainly getting tougher for the BT Red Nose Climbers as each day wears on. Make sure you give them all the support you can and sponsor them here!