Terry Chan 陳國宣
(BSocSc 1999; MSW 2001; MSocSc 2007)
Karen Chau 周雅欣
Amanda Yik 易琪
(LLB 1999; PCLL 2000; MSocSc 2009)
Raymond Lo 盧毓信
(BSc (Eng) 1986)
The snow-capped peak of Kilimanjaro attracts millions of determined hikers from all over the world each year. Among those who can claim to have conquered the highest peak on the African continent were HKU alumni: some recent graduates and some in their 50’s - all brought together by the ultimate challenge of trekking a 35 km hike to 5,893 m above sea level.
This year marks the 10th year since the first Kilimanjaro trip taken by HKU alumni. Since 2008, over 20 alumni have joined in the action. The expeditions in 2010 and 2015 were led by Terry Chan (BSocSci, 1999; MSW 2001; MSocSc 2007), founder of CruxPro Limited, reaching the summit at Uhuru peak on both occasions. He has also led expeditions to Denali in Alaska and the European Alps.
Alumni arriving in the town of Moshi typically start hiking the very next day after they landed in Tanzania; but acclimatisation doesn’t take place until they’ve reached the first huts 2,700m up.
"Climbing Kilimanjaro was an exercise in mindfulness, focusing on every step taken, while sucking in deep breaths. Taking the time to breathe was what I wrote down to remind myself. It is vital to maintain a calm mind and a steady rhythm," said Karen Chau (BNurs, 2009). Karen is an A&E attending nurse at Tuen Mun Hospital. She has since climbed to the peaks of Mount Kinabalu and Taiwan Yushan, among others.
Horombo Huts is another 700m up and most hikers going up will take advantage of the running water. It’s also the biggest hut on the mountains, serving as a key resting area for both hikers going up and coming down.
"Climbing the glacier sitting at nearly 6,000m above the equator is an endlessly wondrous journey. The process is certainly a physical challenge, but what impacted me even more is the deep sense of awe and respect inspired by nature's magnificence,” Amanda Yik (LLB, 1999; PCLL 2000; MSocSc 2009) recalled. Amanda was the founder of Shinrin Yoku Hong Kong and is now an active Forest Therapy Guide.
Kibo Hut at 5,895m is last stayover before reaching the peak. The prize of making it to the top is what everyone is after. And it takes more than stamina, endurance and being able to overcome altitude sickness -- it takes a bit of luck too. The 2008 HKU alumni hikers had to stop short at the volcano’s rim: met with heavy snow, they reached Gilman’s Point before beginning their hike back down.
Raymond Lo (BSc (Eng), 1986) who joined the 2015 expedition, remembered his great sense of pride, when he reached the peak with his colleagues at Dah Chong Hong (DCH). "Mount Kilimanjaro existed before the history of humankind. However, it never feels like it’s behind its times. It remains a tremendous fascination for all those who visit.” Raymond is the corporate director of the DCH and an enthusiast in some of the toughest outdoor challenges. To this day, those who joined the same expedition remained good friends.
Terry continues to bring together alumni from different generations together through truly challenging overseas adventures. He will be running another Kilimanjaro expedition in December 2018.
Crux, which has a mission to help people realise their potential by reaching beyond their comfort zones, offers exclusive privileges to HKU alumni, including discounts and special rates for tailor-made expeditions. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The process is certainly a physical challenge, but what impacted me even more is the deep sense of awe and respect inspired by nature's magnificence.