IT teacher Mr Patel was part of a group that raised more than £12,500 for charity by climbing Kilimanjaro over the summer, with more than £2,400 being earmarked for the local air ambulance.
Mr Patel, along with 13 of his friends and family, travelled to Tanzania to conquer the 5,895m peak, which is the highest point in Africa. They took six days to complete the climb, ascending during the day and descending to camp at night to allow their bodies to safely acclimatise to the altitude. The final climb began at 11pm on the last night when they walked in temperatures of minus 20 degrees. They rested at Stella Point before pushing on to the summit where the air was so thin they could only stay for ten minutes.
Mr Patel said: ‘The highlight was just getting to the top. As we were going up I was literally bent backwards. All of a sudden we all got a burst of energy and all of us danced at the top! We had photos in front of the plaque to prove we had made it. The views at the top were beautiful. We said now we have conquered this we are doing Everest base-camp in two years’ time and hopefully in five years’ time we will do Everest itself.’
The group had undergone rigorous training on mountains in Britain to prepare for the trip where they climbed with 8kg rucksacks alongside mountain guides who carried extra equipment and tents from the tropical, jungle-like conditions at the base of the mountain to the snow covered rocky summit: ‘We tackled a new route that is only two years old going through jungle, through the clouds and up a vertical wall. You go through all the challenges but every day it is a case of acclimatising high but sleeping low to make sure that if you had any altitude sickness the guides would know straight away.’ Two of Mr Patel’s party had to descend the mountain due to altitude sickness, but the rest made their way to the top.
Their efforts netted more than £12,500 in sponsorship which has been split between four charities, including £2,408 for the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire air ambulance who attended a serious road accident that Mr Patel was involved in nearly three years ago. He said: ‘I would never had thought of doing something like this before my accident but since then I think this is my second wind, I am doing what I always wanted to do. I would recommend climbing Kilimanjaro to anyone and it was also a chance for me to visit Tanzania and see where my dad grew up.’