Beryl Park aged 78 climbs Margherita Peak November 2010

 

Ms Beryl Park who lives in a town called Canmore which is between Calgary and Banff National Park in Canada recently climbed the Rwenzori Mountains and reached Margherita Peak even though it was snowing heavily and visibility was poor due to swirling fog. Beryl showed enormous determination and inner strength to climb in conditions few could bear.

Beryl started rock climbing in her teens in England and often traveled to Wales to fulfill her passion for the outdoors and climbing. In 1970 she moved to Canada and up to this day she is skiing during the winter and trekking the Rocky Mountains during the summer.

After seeing our webpage Beryl wrote to Rwenzori Trekking Services in April asking if we could allow her to trek

The April 2010 email read

Dear Sir, I am interested in climbing Mt Margerhita on the 10 day trek, also doing the trip to see the mountain gorillas.  I should mention that I will be 78 next week.  However I live in the Canadian Rockies and ski all winter and hike 2-3 times a week so I am reasonable fit and have a good sense of the conditions that I would encounter..  When is the best time to come in regard to the weather? Are you willing to take someone my age??

Yours sincerely , Beryl Park

Having faith in the training and ability of our guides we answered saying, “yes we would be happy to take you up to Margherita Peak” and explained the different conditions and beauty of both the wet season where although much wetter and more difficult the effect of fresh snow on the mountains adds a fantastic dimension to the already incredibly beautiful scenery whereas the less wet season (dryer season) is easier underfoot but little chance of fresh snow and that photography during the wet season is often much better as when the cloud breaks the air is clean and the sky deep blue. The mountains can be smoky in the dry season due to the many fires down on the plains and as far away as Tanzania.

Beryl opted for the wet season in November.

The rest in history with a successful climb despite the rains being much heavier than usual and despite the day she made the ascent to Margherita Peak it was snowing making conditions very uncomfortable and slippery particularly on the section above Elena Hut. However with her characteristic grit and determination Beryl made it and was very happy and excited by her success.

Almongst then many places Beryl has trekked Kilimanjara twice, the most recent six years ago at the age of 72 years and has trekked in Nepal. She says that while Kilimanjaro is well known and getting to the top is a huge achievement the Rwenzori Mountains is far more difficult howevr the climb is much more rewarding as the scenery and plant life is incredibly beautiful. It is not just a mountain but a mountain range with many valleys and peaks and you climb up ridges and then descend into deep valleys. Likewise on the way down the mountain you also have to climb up and over high passes. Due to the heavy rainfall the vegetation and flowers are spectacular.

Not only did Beryl climb the Rwenzori Mountains but she went on to trek the gorillas in Bwindi National Park, visited Lake Bunyonyi near Kabale, stayed in Lake Mburo National Park and traveled up to Murchison Falls National Park to see Murchison Falls where the mighty Nile River gushes through a seven metres wide gorge on it’s way down to Egypt.

We are truly honored to have had Beryl climb with us and wish her all the best in the future, what an inspiration!! The Uganda Wildlife Authority held a function to congratulate her and to highlight the development of a new trail in the Rwenzori Mountains.

Below are some photos which say it all.

 
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Copyright Rwenzori Trekking Services 2009

 
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Enock congratulating Berly on reaching the top of Margherita Peak

Benard congratulating Berly on reaching the top of Margherita Peak

Scrambling up the rocks above Elena Hut

Having a bite to eat on Stanley Plateau

Climbing up to Stanley Plateau

At the base of the ladder to Margherita Glacier

A glimpse of Mt Baker from Stanley Plateau

Benard with Mt Baker in background

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Sandra with Mt Speke in background

Beryl making her way across Bamwanjara Pass near Camp 4

Climbing Bamwanjara Pass to Camp 4

Climbing Bamwanjara Pass to Camp 4

Beryl in Kiharo camp

Sandra leading the way back to Kilembe Base Camp

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Beryl Park Aged 78 From near Banff National Park, Calgary Canada

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Beryl speaking at the function

Beryl chatting with Christine Lynn Nakayenze, Warden Tourism Rwenzori Mountains National Parks and who has also successfully climbed to Margherita Peak

Beryl cutting the cake

Mr Justus Tindigarukayo-Kashagire, Director Tourism Development, Ministry of Tourism, Uganda addressing the gathering.

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In the wetter months of April May & October November the mountains may be covered in snow making the going tough but spectacular beauty

Our Camp 5 at 4,460m the night Beryl stayed there. The cold is a wet cold due to the amount of rain the Rwenzori's receive making it feel much colder than it looks and fog may reduce visability to a few metres but the beauty is worth every step

You may read this story in Uganda's Monitor Newspaper at

http://www.monitor.co.ug/LifeStyle/Entertainment/-/812796/1061994/-/3q2h9k/-/index.html

 

 

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