Beth Raffo’s climb up Kilimanjaro in aid of Smile for Life sponsered by Thrift Energy

On the 17th August Beth Raffo embarked on her journey to Africa to climb the mighty Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain as well as an active volcano – find out more here:

Now that Beth has returned and had time to re-cooperate, we have caught up with her to find out all about her journey with a Q&A…

Hi Beth! Well done on your amazing trip. First things first, how was your journey up Kilimanjaro and was it how you expected?

I only knew what I read on the internet so yes, it was different to what I expected. It started off as rainforest and then became more and more baron the higher I got, and it was strange to see! The camps were very busy, although I’d read about the thousands of people that climb it every day but there were a lot more other climbers than I’d thought.

Kilimanjaro is a challenging climb, were there any times on your journey that you struggled?

To be honest I felt really good the whole way up, we had a heartrate and blood oxygen monitor and my levels were great the whole time! I felt emotional not far from Stella Point but after a stop and some sugar I was up before I knew it!

Good to hear! How was the view at the top, even better than imagined?

It was incredible, the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. We arrived there for sunrise and my photographs, although they are great, they just don’t do it any justice! We also got to the see the Kersten glacier which was amazing but that won’t be there forever sadly due to global warming.

That sounds amazing! Did everyone involved manage make it to the top?

There was 8 of us in the group, 1 made it to the last camp so over 4000m but he was too exhausted to get up to the top. Another person only made it to Stellar Point but that was her goal and the rest of us made it to highest point – Uhuru Peak.

Upon your return there was a celebration at a hotel at the foot of the mountain, how was it?

It was great! We had a big meal and the porters sang traditional songs and danced with us all, it was very emotional!

So it has been an emotional rollercoaster – how are you feeling now?

I feel great! I don’t have any aches or pains but that’s probably due to all the exercise I usually do.

What surprised you the most about your journey?

The amount of weight the porters carry and the speed they climb! Each porter including 2 female porters carried about 7kg in a backpack then up to 20kg of equipment on their heads. The strength and fitness they all had was unbelievable.

That is incredible, and what was your favourite/least favourite part?

My favourite part was the summiting itself, the view and feeling I had was like no other, or possibly climbing the Barranco wall! Least favourite, the toilets….


We will take your word on that one. You were raising money for a very important cause, the children’s charity Smile for Life, how much did you ultimately raise?

£4000 including the £1130 donated by Thrift Energy.

What a huge amount. We are sure that will make a big difference! Final question, would you do it again?

No, now I’ve done it it’s ticked off my bucket list, but I do want to climb Mt. Meru in Arusha, Tanzania! It’s 4565m so it’ll be easier than Kilimanjaro and it’s close to some of the best safari parks in the world.

Wow, Beth Raffo sure has done a fantastic job to reach the peak of Kilimanjaro and Thrift Energy are proud to have supported her on this magnificent journey and to donate to such a wonderful cause.

Smile for Life is a charity dedicated to enhancing and enriching the lives of children. Working in the North East of England their vision is to put a smile on the face of every disabled and disadvantaged child and to empower these children and young people to achieve their potential to live a full and happy life. To find out more click here:

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