Adventure Associates Adventure Associates Adventure Associates Adventure Associates


. . .
. . .
. . .
. . .
. . .
.   .

Women on Top!
Jayne Mayne Summits Kilimanjaro with Asthma

Smith College graduates aren't the only ones celebrating "women on top"!

In the summer of 2004, Jayne was invited by Kathy Church to join a group of women friends who would be attempting to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Surprised with the amount of training the other women were doing, she joined a gym for the first time in her life and worked with a personal trainer who had climbing experience. After a couple months of training and a practice trek high in the Colorado Rockies, Jayne found herself unusually short of breath. A doctor's visit resulted in a referral to an asthma specialist. Sadly, she believed she then had to cancel her trip.

"Before canceling, I wanted to know whether I had a chance of making it to the top. I didn't want to give it my all if I had no chance." Both Sandra Braun, Director of Adventure Associates, and her asthma specialist gave her their full support in the ability to summit.

"Sandy told me I would need to take it slow, that I would likely be at the back of the group all of the time but never alone on the trail or separated when it came to nightfall. Our group would camp together every evening. She also provided a set of parameters for assessing one's hiking pace necessary for the climb."

She decided to go for it. After more exercise and experimentation with various asthma medications, we as a group were on the climb in February 2005. Jayne quickly realized that "going slow," meant "REALLY going slow" as well as stopping frequently to catch her breath. Although she was taking a series of medications for the asthma, her first day on the climb left her exhausted. Even though her daypack had only a camera, water bottle and a few personal items, she still found it too heavy to carry and that night in camp, she emptied it of all but the necessities. After the second day of "taking it slow,"the head guide stayed back to walk with her, and offered to take her pack so that all she carried was her hydration pack.

"By the 3rd day, I found that I needed to pace myself even more. The head guide asked if I was all right, and I told him that I was finally going as slow as I needed to. The climb was still very challenging, but I really learned how to listen to my body."

In camp each night, Jayne's sense of camaraderie with the other women was never broken. "The women were so neat - each one was so accomplished in their own right, and encouraged me to do my best every day."

On day five, during the 12 hour push for the summit, Jayne took her final steps to the top of Kilimanjaro lit by a full moon in the African night. The climb down was difficult, but the accomplishment of the eldest woman in this group will never be forgotten.

Jayne attributes the success of the climb to her new and now regular exercise habits. She still goes to the gym and works with her personal trainer. She is slowly decreasing the amounts of asthma medication and continues to learn about her type of stress and exercise induced asthma. She canoed part of the Lewis & Clark trail in the summer of 2005, and she says her newest adventure is dating.

"I started out the climb thinking, 'I just want to do the best I can.' My goal was not to make it to the top, but to know that I gave it my best shot."

"And," she adds, "If given the opportunity, I would do it again, for sure."

Contact Adventure Associates (888)-532-8352 or write for reservations for climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro!

For women's, coed and custom trips to Africa,
check out our website:

Suggestions to help you assess your fitness for
climbing Mt Kilimanjaro.

  • Work with your trainer or head out on a hike with long hills and see if you
    can find out your hiking pace per hour at a working heart rate.
    Generally when climbing mountains we allow 1 mile / hour with 1000'
    elevation gain. (1000' elevation gain is equal to 1 mile hiking
    time). Of course at higher elevations (15,000' - 19,000') this pace slows down
    to 1.5 to 2 hrs per hour. See if you can find a pace that allows you to
    walk slow and steady with out starting and stopping to catch your breath.
    Check to see if you can hike in the time frame suggested. If you are able
    to hike at higher elevations (8,000' - 14,000') that's great for acclimating.
  • Know that the distances between campsites on the Machame route are such that most all hikers will make the campsite before dark.
  • The final ascent to Uruhu Peak averages 6 - 9 hours with about 4000' evelvation gain. (Barafu Camp).
  • Some climbers have come in early and climbed Mt. Meru (approx. 15,000') to increase the possible
    success for summitting Mt. Kilimanjaro.
  • Climbing to higher elevations and then coming down can help acclimate the body.

  • Some things to think about:
    If you are not aware of your body's response when placed under
    physical demands, it can be alarming. It is good to work with
    your doctor and trainer for conditioning and
    assessing your limits. This will help avoid any panic or anxiety.

    For more information on Asthma, visit the American Lung Association website: Asthma and You

    Back to May 2006 Newsletter

    Join Our Mailing List


    Check out our archive of past newsletters and articles.


    Home  |  Who We Are  |  Photo Gallery  |  Store  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us


    Adventure Associates


    Copyright © 2006, Adventure Associates.  All Rights Reserved.

    PO Box 16304  Seattle, WA  98116-0304           Ph: 206-932-8352

    ATTA Member logo