Back in March, I was part of a team that climbed Kili with Kilimanjaro-Experience, with a view to making various promotional films about the company, their porters and guides, the mountain and the overall experience.
Our team consisted of team leader Micha Wacquier, videographer Josh John, myself as scriptwriter, interviewer and narrator and a few random Germans who’d been thrown in for good measure.
This certainly wasn’t my usual field. I was both a film and mountain climbing novice. My nerves, therefore, were certainly higher than usual and weren’t helped by the fact that if we didn’t manage to summit the mountain our film was going to be irreparably limited before Josh even begun the editing process.
I also generally liked to travel light even when I wasn’t just about to climb a mountain, but as we prepared to set off on day 1 all our day packs were heavily weighed down by the various camera equipment that we shared between us, including a GoPro, two bulky SLR cameras, various lenses, a tripod, a selfie-stick, spare batteries, cables, solar chargers, microphones. a laptop – all of which left limited space for essentials such as my biltong. At least we’d left the drone behind.
However, despite the weight and the nerves, I was still incredibly excited to have been given this special opportunity, and was determined to make sure we did the absolute best we could muster.
The trekking itself was relatively easy over the first few days and the weather played along. One of the porters helped Josh to carry some of the extra camera equipment which made it easier for him to run ahead and take shots of us advancing upwards, or to drop behind and set up the tripod for a clear panning shot of the striking landscape and then be able to catch up again.
Meanwhile, we all discussed (or sometimes argued about) good prospective shots, perspectives and angles, and all took it in turns to wear the GoPro.
When we stopped at the camps at the end of the day, we’d set up the tripod again, and sometimes the GoPro too, to take a time-lapse of the movement of the clouds, the setting of the sun, or the putting up or packing up of all the tents. We’d also film the chef at work in the kitchen or conduct interviews with some of the guides.
As we approached the tougher final stretches, the altitude began to weigh us down like a heavy blanket and the temparature’s plummeted. This was where they GoPro really came into its own, as it was too cold and too tiring to do much other filming.
Happily, all of us made it to the top and we have the evidence to prove it: the promotional film that you’ll find on the Homepage of this website, as well as the two videos you can see below. The first video below is a short compilation of some of the time-lapse footage, and the second longer video gives you more of a detailed and intimate idea of the overall experience of climbing this astonishing mountain, right down to the wobbly, and painfully slow steps that are all you can manage as you near the summit.
All of the films we made serve as a beautiful testament to what was one of the most memorable experiences of my life, and I hope they might also serve as inspiration for others to follow in our footsteps. Enjoy!