JT the group leader from the African Walking Company and his team wake the group up at 11 PM to prepare for the summit and have a quick bite to eat. Final checks are done to make sure each individual has on them what is required to reach the summit successfully.
The group sets off from Barafu (4673 metres) for the summit, Uhuru Peak, at 12h15 AM. In the black of the night, all that can be seen is what looks like a long "caterpillar" of lights from the other climbers ahead and the vast starry sky, which is quite magical.
There is a sense of anticipation as the climbers know they just need to keep going until the sun comes up and they will be near the top. Along the way, the staff from The African Walking Company sing to keep the spirits high and give encouragement.
And then they saw the sunrise and arrived at Stella Point (5756 metres) at around 07h15 AM. This meant Uhuru Peak was just around the corner. It seemed close at this point but there was still an hours climb left to Uhuru.
This last section to Uhuru Peak is unlike anything anyone has ever seen, with the strangest upright ice formations (the only ice/snow in the equator region) that the hikers walk through.
The group slowly arrive at the summit from 08h25 AM. The scenery from Uhuru Peak (5895 metres) is breathtaking and it is hard to describe the feeling of elation. It is a long 7 days, but at that moment in time, every individual is at the highest point in Africa, a real sense of joy and achievement.
It took the hikers six or seven hours to climb up to Uhuru Peak, then only 2 hours to come down. They descended another 750 metres from Barafu to High Camp (3950 metres) where they would spend the night before leaving Mount Kilimanjaro with all their fondest memories.