IN PICTURES: Father and son from Boston scale Mount Kilimanjaro for charity

Before the coronavirus put life as we know on it on hold, a father and son from Boston completed an arduous, 62km charity hike up Mount Kilimanjaro.

Darren Bevan, of Wyberton, and son Adam, formerly of Boston, now of Los Angeles, during their Mount Kilimanjaro climb.
Darren Bevan, of Wyberton, and son Adam, formerly of Boston, now of Los Angeles, during their Mount Kilimanjaro climb.

Early last month, Darren Bevan, 53, and son Adam, 24, jetted off to Tanzania to scale Africa’s highest mountain.

The effort was part personal challenge, part fundraiser, with donations taken in aid of Lincolnshire Lowland Search and Rescue – a charity which searches for vulnerable missing persons and provides assistance to the emergency services; Darren is a member of the team.

* Day one of the ascent involved a five-hour hike through rainforest (and heavy rain) to Machame Camp at about 2,800m above sea level (they set off at 1,743m – “Already the highest point we’d ever been,” said Darren).

Machame Camp, end of day one.

* Day two brought a steep climb up exposed ridge line to Shira Cave Camp at more than 3,800m. The weather was kinder, but it was at this point Darren and Adam developed nagging headaches from the altitude.

“Traversing the moorland terrain was markedly tougher than the well-trodden rainforest paths, with one or two areas particularly unprotected,” said Darren.

* Day three was an acclimatisation day, so saw the pair ascend past 4,600m to Lava Tower Camp, where they encountered their third type of terrain in as many days, Alpine desert, before descending 700m or so (through three hours of rain) to Barranco Camp.

* Day four started with the infamous Barranco Wall – 250m-plus of steep volcanic rock – and finished at Base Camp at Barafu, more than 4,600m above sea level.

Day two brought tougher terrain, but better weather.

“Heavy rain showers hit once more but spirits were high as we knew that, come midnight, we would be making our summit assault,” said Darren.

* Just six hours later, in the early hours of the day five, the climb to the summit began.

“We’d crossed the snow line somewhere around 2.30am and as we continued to gain height our water bottles simply froze!” said Darren. “The air was becoming increasingly thin which only exacerbated the headache situation and made putting one foot in front of the other seem like a gargantuan task.”

At 5.30am, at 5,700m-plus, they reached Stella Point.

Day three offered some spectacular views.

“It was at this point we both serious doubts as to whether we had the energy and resilience to complete the last 45 minutes to Uhuru Peak,” said Darren. “Digging deep and drawing strength from each other, we pushed on and continued to climb slowly until at last we came into sight of the summit.

“At 6.20am, and 5,895m above sea level, we grasped the sign on the summit in a mixture of emotions ranging somewhere from relief and exhaustion to an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.”

In all, the climb raised £1,000-plus for Lincolnshire Lowland Search and Rescue.

Darren paid tribute to the role played by the guide and porters, saying: “We owe them a great debt of gratitude.”

Taking a moment ...
Lava Tower Camp, the high point of day three.
Barranco Camp, the end of day three.
Day four and the ascent continues ...
Barafu Camp - End of day four, ready for the summit the following morning.
The summit. "The route down was much quicker," Darren said.