A couple of weeks ago, Angela Vorobyova, an 86-year-old retired teacher from Siberia, became the oldest person to summit Kilimanjaro, honouring an 80-year-old promise to her sister, who died as a young child in 1935. She was accompanied by her 62-year-old daughter, Vera.
‘The first days of our expedition could be called a pleasant stroll,’ she explained modestly. ‘Then we were hit by the monsoons, they seemed to never end. We were climbing during the day, and at night the guides had to dry all the equipment to have warm clothes in the morning.
‘Fatigue accumulated gradually, and I was very exhausted before the storming of the summit. At the height of 4,600 metres above sea level the most difficult phase began: climbing to the peak, which took us 13 hours.’
She went on:
‘I had never thought about turning back. . . At an altitude of 4,000 metres, we even danced the tango with our guide. And at 5,000 meters we saw the sunrise. Sunrise above the clouds. That’s impressive. I had lost my voice, and I couldn’t speak, but to turn back? No, I did not even think about it.’
‘The date of my conquering the Kilimanjaro – 29 October – was not chosen by chance. I knew about the monsoons and bad weather at this time of year. But it was important to climb to the top on this particular day. 80 years ago I made a promise to my sister, Lida, that I would travel for both of us. Lida was older than I, she was born in 1923 and died of pneumonia. She lived only 12 years and 4 days. I loved her. October 29 – the day when I went to the Uhuru Peak – was the day of her birth. I dedicated this climb to her.’
But this grandmother and record-breaker won’t be resting on her laurels anytime soon. Next on her list is the Inca Trail in Peru.
‘Traveling is not only the cognition of the world, it’s more about the cognition of yourself, what you can, what are you worth in this life.’
Valuable and inspiring lessons for all of us. And once again, our beloved mountain plays a pivotal role. So when should we expect you?