Brunel alumnus takes on Mount Kilimanjaro
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is no easy task, but for our MSc Engineering Management alumnus, Navindra Mooroogan - who reached Uhuru Peak at 5895m on 6 June 2018 at 9.41am - the decision to make the expedition was based on his passion for mountains.
“I am a passionate about mountains and live at the foot of the ‘Corps de Garde’ mountain in Mauritius. Since my childhood I have been fascinated by the scenery from the National Geographic and Ushuaia TV on Africa’s National Parks, where - as mentioned in the song ‘Africa’ by Toto - the Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti. It soon became a childhood dream to one day stand on the top of this mythical mountain.”
Having financed the whole trip from his savings, the money invested in the trip was used to help the locals in Arusha and Moshi. Asked why he was keen to complete the climb, for Navindra it was all about the adventure and the chance “to demonstrate that dreams can come true and the power of the mind to accomplish it” adding that “unfortunately, it is believed that the glacier on top of Mount Kilimanjaro might disappear in the next twenty years due to global warming. As an engineer, I want my expedition to act as a call for action in order to reduce our carbon foot print.”
Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest freestanding mountain on earth. So, what aspect of the climb did Navindra find the hardest? “Flying from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro International Airport at 17000ft - when you look through the window and see Mount Kilimanjaro standing at 19000ft - it is quite intimidating. Knowing that in the next coming days you would attempt its ascension is even scary. However, the hardest part of the climb is the summit attempt as you have to fight against the cold, exhaustion, the lack of oxygen due to altitude and the lack of sleep. It is a fight against yourself, where you will need all your willpower and determination to succeed and finally reach the top, the Uhuru peak at 5895m.”
Following the achievement of making the climb, and the challenges faced on route, there’s nearly always likely to be something that those making the expedition most look forward to when they return home? Having completed the Lemosho route across six nights and seven days, Navindra recalls that he was “detached from all form of civilisation” and at night “it was near isolation where you could see only the stars and hear only the silence of nature.” When making his triumphant return home, what he most enjoyed was “to see my family, my dog and of course take a nice warm shower followed by some good food and finally my bed.”
When thinking back to what he gained from the adventure, Navindra commented that “although I reached the Uhuru peak and received the golden certificate, I was instead conquered by the magnificence of this mythical mountain. The mountain soon became my friend as I connected to nature - at this point you start to appreciate the beauty of the place, and this is what I would describe as the key to success in reaching the summit and give sense to the Swahili words, ‘Pole Pole’ and ‘Hakuna Matata.’” He also added that “Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro reminded me of what Johnny Clegg says in his song ‘Asimbonanga’ - “we are all islands, till comes the day we cross the sea of boiling water”- to overcome the limits of our physical strength opens the door to self-discovery.”