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By: Daniel Renzoni

In 2019 Salomon is set out to launch the Women’s hike campaign, and what better way to celebrate than Salomon’s own Footwear Territory Manager, Nicole Kertcher climbing up Mount Kilimanjaro, located in Tanzania, Africa. Joining Nicole, 43 for the hike in November of 2019 will be her sister Savannah, 47. The two plan on training together for their climb, however there’s only one small caveat- the two live on opposite sides of the world. Nicole lives in Canada, just north of the Toronto area, while sister, Savannah resides in New Zealand. The idea for the trek up this esteemed landmark, started with the opportunity of raising money for the Sydney Children’s Hospital which, in the past has had a big impact in helping her family. Nicole stated “this is an amazing adventure to do together, and getting to include the Salomon brand and their amazing products will definitely make it that much better.”

Despite being on opposite ends of the planet and with a 16 hour time difference, Nicole and Savannah are still pushing each other to train for their climb. Nicole stated that although they are so far apart, there is still a sibling rivalry which motivates each other to train. “We motivate each other by seeing what the other one posts on social media- seeing my sister post a picture training encourages me to get out there and do the same” Nicole added.  With the different location and time zones, comes drastically different climates and landscapes. From June to September, Nicole will be training in Ontario, during summer, while her sister Savannah, who definitely has an elevation advantage in Queenstown will be experiencing winter.

While the two haven’t done any big mountain climbs in relation to Kilimanjaro, Nicole and Savannah both completed the multi-day Milford track located in New Zealand together. The Milford Track is comparable to Kilimanjaro in the sense of distance, with Kilimanjaro being a 67 kilometer hike (41.6 miles) and Milford being a 53 kilometer trek (32.9 miles). However, the Milford tracks peak elevation of 1140m (3740 ft) doesn’t come close to the staggering height of Kilimanjaro’s Uhura peak, at 5895m (19340 ft) above sea level.

Taking on a landmark as bold as Kilimanjaro is no easy feat, and requires careful planning of course. With Ontario, Canada being limited with high elevation to say the least, Nicole is working with what’s available to her, currently training in the Collingwood area, with a peak elevation of a mere 450m (1450 ft). To make do with this shorter than desired geography, Nicole is doing hill repeats up the popular ski hill, Blue Mountain- both running and biking up and down multiple times. To add to that, Nicole, and Savannah are doing lots of variations of cardio as well as leg strength training, to be properly prepared for this epic challenge. Nicole states, “A good level of physical fitness will be important of course, but the challenge to our mental fitness is what they are looking forward to the most.”

Kilimanjaro is an interesting prospect in the sense that the climb up will present 5 different climate zones- Savannah and Jungle, Alpine and Forest, Heather and Moorland, Highland Desert and lastly, Arctic Tundra atop the Uhura peak. Temperatures from base to peak can range anywhere from 27°C to -7°C (81°F to 19°F), while conditions can be rain, shine and snow all in the 6-7 day span that it takes to get to the summit. With Salomon’s help, Nicole and her sister will be ready for any type of environment that Kilimanjaro brings them. 

To train for the multi-day climb in Tanzania, Nicole is using the following Salomon products to train-

  • Trailblazer 10 Hydration Pack
  • Agile 6 Set Hydration Pack
  • Women’s OUTline Mid GTX
  • Women’s X Ultra 3 Mid GTX

Nicole and Savannah plan on using the following products to trek up Kilimanjaro-

  • Trailblazer 30 Hydration Pack
  • Women’s X Ultra 3 Mid GTX
  • Among a variety of suitable apparel to withstand the ever-changing climates from base to summit.

Follow Nicole on Instagram @NicoleKertcher and find her and Savannahs joint account posting lots of training pictures that will eventually include pictures of Kilimanjaro come November 2019 @Our_Authentic_Selves