Ms Batista celebrates getting closer to the summit. *Photo supplied
Ms Batista celebrates getting closer to the summit. *Photo supplied
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A Bermudian woman is encouraging others to follow their dreams after climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

Amanda Batista, 38, endured frostbite and a near-death experience with a falling boulder in her quest for the summit.

But she was the first of her group to reach the peak at 5,895 metres, on the sixth day of the climb.

Miss Batista, who works in veterinary medicine, was inspired to make the journey to Africa’s highest mountain after spending a month in Nepal last year.

She said: “I reached Everest Base Camp and the summit of Kala Patthar, and enjoyed the trekking so much I decided to take on a new adventure, of trying to do as many of the Seven Summits (the highest mountains of each of the seven world continents) as I can.

“This one, Kilimanjaro, is probably the easiest. It’s not very technical, it’s more hands-on, but is still quite challenging.

“It was a seven-day trek, with five to eight hours of climbing each day, covering 45 miles, plus a few miles high. The climb is extremely steep the entire way.

“On Day Six it took about 16 hours to reach the summit and then come back to our final camp.

“There were 13 people in our group — nine men and four women. Two of the men didn’t make it as they got altitude sickness and had to go back down.”

Miss Batista said: “It was an incredible experience. 

“They call it the ‘roof of Africa’, and it was amazing to stand there from the summit, looking over everything.

“Also, to see glaciers and ice, it’s not something you expect to see in Africa.” 

To reach the summit, she had to ascend through four climatic zones.

Miss Batista, of Southampton, said: “We started off in a forest and eventually the landscape became more barren and volcanic.

“Near the summit there are very few shrubs that can survive, with so little water.

“We started off in T-shirts and shorts, but by the time we reached the top, we had five or six layers on top.

“Every day our goal was to make it to the next camp. We had 25 porters to our group and five guides, and they would go on ahead to set up camp.

“The porters carried our tents and equipment, food and water. They would set up also cook for us.

“It got very cold at night. The first night was five degrees (Celsius) and at the last campsite it was about minus five.

“On Day Six we left our base camp and started at 10:30pm in the evening for the summit. I made it at 6:20am the following morning.

“With the wind chill up there it was probably about minus 30 degrees at the summit.

Frostbite

“I left my gloves off for a bit too long and my fingertips got frozen. 

“I lost the skin and the sensation in my fingertips, but they have healed now.”

She said: “Then, on the way back down, a woman higher up had sat on a boulder and dislodged it. The boulder came crashing down and I was sat down and it came right for me.

“All I could do was use my pole to deflect it. It actually bent the pole into an ‘L’ shape, at a 90 degrees angles, but the pole saved my life.

“Our guide turned white; he was just stunned. It could have turned out so badly. But after that I was known as ‘the girl who survived the boulder’!”

She said: “I also lost a few toenails, but it was an awesome experience.”

Miss Batista, who travelled solo, said her fitness as a runner probably helped her to cope with the altitudes.

She also trained for the climb by going walking with a backpack containing 25lb in weight. 

But she said: “It doesn’t matter how fit you are, if the altitude is going to affect you, it will.”

She now hopes to climb Aconcagua in Argentina, at a height of 6,962m, next year.

“When I was young I was teased for being chubby and that can set your mind into thinking you won’t be able to achieve certain goals,” she said. But no matter how people try to hold you back, you can still get out there and accomplish things.

“I have talked to a lot of women and young girls since Kilimanjaro, who think they can never do anything like that, but I think if I can do it, anyone can. Just don’t let anyone hold you back, or say you can’t do things.

“I have started to do things I never thought were possible. And to look back and see what you’ve accomplished, it is so rewarding.

“When people say to me, ‘I don’t think I could ever do that’, I think anyone can do it.

“You just have to trust in your heart and put your mind to it.”