Mt. Kilimanjaro Charity Climb 2004

Short Story - Long Summary - Group Photos - KVEP Charity - Participants - MOVIES - Next 2005 info


 8 Participants (2004)

Despite our group being quite small, we nevertheless managed to collect all the money required to build the school Nursery this year. Your support to our group of participants was very much appreciated. Thank you.

Are you thinking of doing this yourself next year? As you can see, we are simply a mix of individuals from all over the place. We only in some way shared a connection with BA, an interest in the KVEP goal, and a desire to get to the top of Kilimanjaro!

Below (alphabetical) ...

Mr Ian Ripper, Tour Coordinator (UK)   

Guerba Representative and promoter of tour to BA. Guerba is an Adventure tour company. Please see there website at They are also arranging a 2005 Charity climb up Kilimanjaro (More). For specific information on next year's  climb, contact Ian at Guerba on 01373 828302 or:

"Descending the steep scree slopes from the summit of Kilimanjaro, I vowed “never again”. Despite the exhilaration of reaching Africa’s highest point, I was well and truly exhausted by now and couldn’t see the joy of it all. Just a few hours earlier we were euphoric as we reached the top, and later, back in the company of our group of 8 climbers, we revelled in the achievement with a sense of well being enhanced because this climb had raised enough money to build a pre-school for the kids in the villages below us. It’s very heartening to see the direct results of these fundraising efforts and to see kids in Africa really gaining from what we do. Despite the “never again” feelings, next year will see me up there again as we attempt to raise enough money to build a home for the street kids of Moshi.

This was the 4th time I climbed Kili, and I have to say, the most enjoyable. It was great to be in such good company. 3 pilots and a manager from BA, and 3 from North America, plus myself – all with the bond of having raised money to build a school for the locals. Having this purpose to the trip and the team spirit it engendered, plus the fact we took a less travelled route meant we were together as a group throughout and could help each other through the tough bits, which at some point or other we all went through. I enjoyed the trip tremendously and “never again” until next time!"


Mr Pat Brown, Participant (USA) 

FMC Technologies. BA Ground Support supplier. (Photo CA Garrett)

From the beginning to end I did not know what to expect.  You see, I'm not an outdoors/camping type person.  Aside from sleeping in a tent outside my back yard in the warm Florida weather with my kids once or twice a year, I don't think I've ever really "camped-out" in my life.  Then after the first couple days on the mountain and getting used to the camping life, I became exhausted from all the walking, in combination with the lack of oxygen.  Sounds pretty bad, doesn't it?  Actually, it was fantastic and something that I would recommend to anyone fit enough to take on the challenge.  It was an experience with a wonderful group of people that I will truly never forget.

Someone recently asked me what experience for me was the most memorable.  My response -- visiting the Amani Children's Home, or orphanage, for about 50 children that would be living on the streets if not for the wonderful people who run the Amani Home.  For all of you reading this; what a great vacation you could have on the 2005 Charity Climb for the Amani Home - climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro while raising funds to build a proper building for these kids to live.  I offer you that challenge and guarantee a memory that will last forever!


Captain John Eagles, Participant (UK) 

Retired BA Captain. B747-400. (GSS)

Within 18 hours of leaving London, you are established in the hotel with a view of the summit of Kilimanjaro and it is awesome to imagine that in a few days you will, hopefully, be standing there!  The next day involved visiting the site of the school that would be benefiting from the money the team was raising - just a glimpse of how poor the children really are made the whole project seem worthwhile.

Day 4 and the climb commences.  We had been left in no doubt that this was no holiday - it was to be a tough physical and mental challenge quite unlike anything we had probably attempted before.  The highest mountain I had climbed before was tiny compared with the 19,340 feet we were attempting now and each day brought new obstacles as the air became thinner. By the time we had reached Kibo Hut at 15,500 feet, we all knew that the next 24 hours were to be "make or break".  I have completed 6 London Marathons (including 2004!) but that final assault was probably the hardest physical effort I have made in my life!  Having said that, the feeling of elation at reaching Uhuru Peak has to be experienced to be believed.

The 2005 climb is raising money for an orphanage that we visited on the way back to Nairobi, run by one young American girl.  If you get the chance to apply, don't hesitate!   The experience will be unique and every penny raised will go to help these deprived children.


Ms Carol Ann Garratt, Participant (USA) 

Retired. FMC Technologies. BA Ground Support supplier. Carol Ann flew around the world Feb-Oct 2003 to raise money for Lou Gehrig's disease (or ALS -Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) charity. Please view her website about that trip at  (Photo CA Garrett)

Reaching the top was a significant and unexpected emotional experience.  Physically, I was completely exhausted.  When I finally made it to the top, tears flooded uncontrollably down my face as I hugged each of the members of our group.  As significant as the climb was, visiting the school where our money for charity was going to build a nursery, was also touching.  Meeting the teachers and seeing the children and their need made the trip and climb much more meaningful. 


Mr Jim Hennessy, Participant (UK) 

BA Ramp Manager LGW.       Biggest Fund Raiser   

As the only person of the group not to climb to the top, I have a different set of emotions to the rest. Having spent a year getting fit, losing 3 stone in the process, and fund raising the actual event became real when we visited the schools and met the children. Their smiling faces really made it all worthwhile.

The climb itself did pull onto hidden reserves of strength and durability, not being the camping type didn't help. Living under canvas with the constant toilet breaks made it very difficult for me. Having made it to Kibo hut, 4700 mtrs, I felt fine, after half an hour I felt if I was going to die. Altitude sickness is something we all talked about and knew could happen, but when it strikes you are left with a feeling of 'somebody please help me'. After a few hours of feeling awful the guide makes the decision for you to get you down the mountain very quickly. I walked for about an hour and felt much better.

When you get back to the hotel a whole day before the rest, you get time to reflect on what's happened over the past few days. A saying the lads kept quoting during the climb haunts you as you sit alone, "pain is for now failure is forever".

For me I came away with a feeling of utter failure to achieve my objective of climbing Kilimanjaro.

I can always go back and try again.


SFO Nickesh Shah, Participant (UK) 

BA pilot. Airbus A-320.

I went to Africa for the first time in 1990 and fell in love with the continent. On my travels I saw Mount Kilimanjaro and decided I had to climb it in my lifetime. So when thumbing through the BA news last year with an advert asking people to raise money for a great cause and to climb the mountain; I could not turn down the offer.

Being the youngest member of the group I imagined I  could cope with Altitude sickness with the added advantage of working at 8.000ft (2500 m) most days [cockpit pressure]. How very wrong! Without the encouragement from the rest of the group and some tenacity I would have not made it.

So if you are looking for a challenge – Want to feel light headed and with the possibility of vomiting at the end without going anywhere near a watering establishment. Then this is it!


Mr John Whittaker, Participant (CANADA) 

Retired BC Land Surveyor, age 65. Father of BA pilot (Brian, below).

Our trip was a "slice of Life". Our companions were all delightful and the climb itself was challenging. We all got along very well and our leader, Ian, was a master of patience and understanding.

Our guides and porters were very decent men; I heard nothing but good will and cheerfulness from them. They earned every cent of our tips which we gave them and vastly contributed to our successful climb.

I think I enjoyed meeting some of the local people as much as the climb itself. I thought Katy Alan was marvellous. She and her husband Dilly work side by side and administer and support twelve schools in the village- no small feat. I also enjoyed meeting one of her head teachers, Elizabeth, because even though my wife Sandra and she are of different races and cultures, I recognized that they are both very similar in their grace and manner and in the way that they interacted with small children. I loved talking to some of the local ladies carrying and selling bananas and Brian and I had some interesting exchanges with some of them. We also were privileged to meet a young American girl called Valerie Johnson who is trying, almost single handed, to run an orphanage in Moshi. There are not words enough to describe how hard she is working and how little she has to work with.

Finally, a word about the Marangu Hotel. I loved it, just the kind of place where you can sit on the lawn among the beautiful shrubs, trees and flowers and nurse a "gin and tonic". We were treated royally. Because Brian now lives in England, (as opposed to his birthplace, Victoria, Canada) it was a unique opportunity for us to have some quality time together- a wonderful trip. We loved Kenya and Tanzania.


SFO Brian Whittaker, Participant (UK)  /

BA pilot. B747-400. (Son of John, above).

Creator of this website at:

This is my web site. Please allow my photographs to express the enjoyment that I had on this truly wonderful trip. It was an honour to be able to participate with my other colleagues in support of this charitable cause. 

I believe it to be true that this probably is the easiest and less dangerous "big" mountain in the world. If you are determined to get to the top, then it is quite likely you will succeed. I am very happy that I invited my father to come along and suggest that if you ever get a chance to do something similar, then it is a truly memorable journey. 

Here is a copy of my text from the first update page, subtitled "Me and my Dad" (Link): 

I had a really really great trip with my Dad! From flying him (as pilot) over to England from Canada in the jumbo, to standing on the top of the highest peak in Africa, to returning him safely to Mom in Victoria (as passengers) in a floatplane, this trip was one to remember. We both felt at home in this foreign land, with our feet on the cool mountainous terrain, while trekking our way up the slopes. We also both shared an impending excitement of climbing our highest mountain, with thoughts filled with exploration and adventure. My Dad just loves climbing mountains. At age 65, it is the one place everyone knows he is happiest! I managed to capture one of his innocent adventurous grins on film (below). This is where my Dad becomes as happy as a schoolboy, a trait that he's managed to pass on to me.

The realities of family, career, and the 7600 km between us now have meant that we no longer routinely do these activities. With hind sight, I can see that all our many hikes together have actually faded into many years gone past. In fact, I realise that a lot of my fresh memories of hiking larger peaks with Dad are actually now old memories and quite distant, when I was a shorter, smaller, young child or teenager. This might help explain why I felt very happy and comfortable on this climb, as I had all the familiarities of the past, but was no longer the little straggler. My Dad didn't quite make the extra little bit to the very top summit of Kilimanjaro that morning as I did, but he will be forever triumphant that he made the crater rim, the traditional "Top" with the Certificate to prove it. Congratulations Dad. Trip nickname "Babu".