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Page last updated at 15:05 GMT, Friday, 14 January 2011
Lesley Dolphin's progress up Mount Kilimanjaro for EACH

EACH appeal trip up Kilimanjaro

Lesley Dolphin is one of a team of 14 people raising money for the EACH Treehouse Appeal by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895m) from the Tanzanian side.

She gave us her final thoughts on the trip before heading off:

The team left the UK on Friday 7 January with a target of raising £30,000 for the Treehouse Appeal via the Just Giving website.

Here we follow Lesley's progress day-by-day. She has a satellite phone, but connecting to her has proved difficult.

However, we have had some contact with her and other members of the team.

Sunday 9 January

Sunday involved a road transfer to Nale Moru (1,950m). From there the climb began with a half-day of walking on a small path that wound through farmland and pine plantations.

After about four hours of walking the team arrived at their first overnight stop on the edge of the moorland zone (2,600m).

Lesley texted: "At the end of day one, we can already feel altitude effects, but it has been a really good day."

EACH Treehouse Appeal Kilimanjaro walk
Treehouse walkers get ready to set off in the moorland zone

Monday 10 January

A longer day of walking as the team ascends to the Second Cave (3,450m) giving them a view of the icefields on the rim of the Kibo volcano. This is the highest of the three volcanoes which form the mountain.

The team then headed for the jagged peaks of the Mawenzi volcano and camped at the Kikelewa Caves (3,600m).

Mark Loades, EACH Treehouse Appeal development officer and team member, texted: "Camped overnight and had a view of summit which we have woken up to.

"It's been a hard day with 10 hours of walking and some of us starting to feel altitude a bit but still in good spirits."

Lesley said: "It's been raining hard and the full day's walking has been very tough."

Mount Kilimanjaro
Kilimanjaro's Kibo summit and Reusch Crater photographed in March 2007

Tuesday 11 January

A steep climb up grassy slopes is mitigated by the fact that the day involved only 3-4 hours walking.

The team left the vegetated zone at Mawenzi Tarn (4,330m) which gave them the rest of the day to take in the views of the Kenyan plains and to acclimatise to the higher altitude.

Ipswich businessman Steve Flory organised the Treehouse team and he phoned BBC Suffolk from the Mawenzi Tarn camp at 7.30pm local time.

He said: "Two or three people have suffered from altitude sickness and general lack of appetite.

"Lesley has felt a little nauseous, but she did have dinner tonight but she's in bed now."

It had started to snow and the camp had around 75 people staying including three other groups from Norway, Australia and the USA.

"Most people have had headaches of some description, but ibuprofen or paracetamol have staved it off," said Mr Flory.

"Tomorrow is a 15 hour day, but at the moment everyone is in good spirits."

Wednesday 12 January

A tough day with five to six hours of walking as the team crosses the desert terrain of the 'saddle' to reach Kibo campsite (4,700m).

They then take a rest and set off on the final ascent at midnight with the aim of watching the sunrise on Thursday from one of the summits.

Mark Loades texted early on Wednesday morning:

"Have woken up to frozen tent after no sleep.

"Climbing is easy part of this trip. It's everything that goes with it like how altitude affects us and the nights.

"Long day today as making our way to last camp before starting ascent at midnight tonight."

Gail Emms on Mount Kilimanjaro
Badminton star Gail Emms poses on Martina Navratilova's 2010 charity walk

Thursday 13 January

The team set off in the dark at 11pm on Wednesday evening and watched the sunrise.

Texts were received to say that 13 out of the 14 members of the team made it to Gillman's Point (5,685m), including Lesley Dolphin.

Four of the men then went on to what is regarded as the true summit - Uhuru Peak (5,895m).

BBC Suffolk finally made satellite phone contact with Lesley at around 3.50pm (UK time).

Rather appropriately, she and Mark Loades were interviewed by Georgina Wroe who was sitting-in for Lesley on her afternoon radio show.

Lesley said: "I'm knackered. This has been the toughest, toughest thing that we've all done and tougher than any of us expected.

"It was horrible! Not just the climb itself, but the days leading up to it because they're training us for high altitude."

Lesley had moments of doubt starting the final climb.

"I nearly didn't do it at all. I've been poorly and it was the middle of the night and I did say about an hour into the walk that I'd had enough and I just didn't need to do this.

"And there was a lovely guide who took my rucksack and took me all the way to the top. He didn't carry me and I did have to do the walking bit!

"[At the top] lots of people had tears in their eyes. I've got friends in America whose daughter died from leukaemia, so I remembered her."

Mark Loades, who made it to Uhuru Peak, said: "If you saw all the faces, you would know it wasn't a walk in the park.

"We set out at about 11 o'clock last night in the pitch black and reached the summit at 7 o'clock in the morning.

"This is the hardest thing I've ever done.

"We're walking a lot each day, sleeping in tents and they're not the comfiest, we're changing altitude every night so sleep's not easy.

"For everyone to pull together and get 13 out of 14 of us up to the summit was absolutely fantastic.

"Several of the team have suffered greatly whilst over here so please make all their efforts worthwhile by donating to the team."

After the summit the team descends to the final campsite at Horombo (3,720m) - a total of 11-15 hours walking today.

Friday 13 January

A very relieved, emotional but much happier Lesley Dolphin spoke to Georgina Wroe on Friday, half an hour after arriving back at the team's hotel in Marangu, Tanzania.

"I have never seen a bed look so lovely in all my life," she said. "The bath is already run - I can't tell you what the luxuries in my life mean to me now.

"It's been the toughest four or five days in my life, and probably the horriblest as well."

Lesley, who said it was another four to five hour trek to leave the national park, was thrilled to hear the team had raised over £35,000 via the Just Giving page.

"I'm so proud of all our team," she said. "We have all worked so hard every day, it hasn't been a holiday.

"If I had known what it was going to be like I wouldn't have done it. I'd rather have babies!"

But the thought of helping the Treehouse Appeal kept the team going.

"While I was walking I was thinking there are families who go through so much day in, day out," she said.

"And after all this was just hell for me for five days."

The Treehouse Appeal team members on the walk were: Steve and Jayne Flory, Lesley Dolphin, Mark Loades, David and Ian Rowledge, John Button, John Hutton, Glenys Carter, Stuart Scarff, Clive Sparks, Rob and Sally Collins and Nick Jacob.

Donate now

To give money directly to the Treehouse Appeal, please send a cheque made payable to "EACH Treehouse Appeal" to:

EACH Treehouse Appeal, Epsilon House, West Road, Ipswich, IP3 9FJ

The appeal donation line number is 01473 276116.

Donate online at EACH Treehouse Appeal .

However, this method won't donate directly to the Kilimanjaro team's fundraising effort. Use the Just Giving link for that.

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