When we, earlier did the planning what to do in June, which was to be the last month in Judy’s gap year I had only one idea: mountains and altitude. I wanted to get at least some training to have the slightest chance in the mountains. Judy volunteered to be our travel guide and picked Ethiopia. Well, I knew, that quite a few world class runners come from Ethiopia, but still I was surprised when I got there.
Its Capitol, Addis Ababa is situated roughly on 2.500m altitude. When we arrived we went into the surrounding mountains into a training hotel of Haile Gebrselassie where I went running for 3 days. It felt like some of the slowest runs I ever did and still the altitude just took away my breath.
So I could say, exactly as planned. I wanted to push my limits, that had shrunken so much over the last 6 months.
From Addis we flew to a lovely city called Gonder which was again on 2.600m altitude to spend two days there and from where we left into the the near Simmien Mountains.
I had never heart about the Simmiens before although even Homer wrote about the Simmiens as the playground of the gods. Even the valleys of the Simmiens are over 3.000m with the top of the mountains mostly over 4.000m and the highest one over 4.500m.
We went on a 7 day track and once again it took my breath away. First because of the even increased altitude second because of the stunning breathtaking views.
After a day of heavy headache on 3.200m we slept the following nights always above the 3.600m and went to 4.000m each day. On the second last day I went with our guide and scout to the highest peak and wanted to find out what was possible by now. We made it up in three and a half hours and back down in 2 which included a lot of running back down, since we were walking on the edge on the way up.
It was a great experience and training which make me all exited about the Eigers 2.500m peaks that we have to reach. If I somehow make it over the distance I will at least be able to tolerate the altitude after 6 months in Zanzibar.