After rock climbing to Shira Camp (which you can read about here) I was in very much need of some sleep. But sometimes things just don’t go as planned and whilst I loved the food we had for dinner, the food didn’t really love me back which resulted in me spending the few hours that I had reserved for sleep, throwing up everything and anything. Brilliant…
So after an intensive night of snoozing and “screaming at the bushes” of around four and a half hours it was time to get on the trail again for what was supposedly the easiest day with a relatively flat trek. Let me just say it wasn’t.
The trek took eight hours including six hours up to a ridge to acclimatise to the altitude to the Lava Tower where we had lunch.
We then descended 800 metres for the last couple of hours. This was the ascent part probably as we had to scale down very steep rocky waterfalls for a start.
Since the difficult night before and the non-stop cold rain throughout, I started to have quite a few “FML” moments. The guides are great at helping you through it though. They are incredibly knowledgeable – as most do the tour to the summit twice a month, and quite funny as well! They really kept me going that’s for sure. One more thing and I don’t know if everyone else noticed but the porters are machines. They carry so much up the mountain by mainly balancing heavy bags and equipment on the top of their heads. We even saw one guy balancing a big heavy bag on his head wearing converse trainers! Best ad for Converse ever made and it definitely beats this one
Day 4: From Baranco Wall to Base Camp
It was an early start as usual, the morning challenge was to scramble “the wall”. I’m not a morning person at the best of times so traversing across a slippery almost vertical wall with significant drops was not the start I had in mind.
As it was going to get colder later the ski jacket was out for the first time. The risk here was that if it got wet then this could provide problems for future days, and guess what: it got soaked because just like every other day it rained big time.
We stopped for lunch after about four hours which was in the mess tent at a half way camp. It was warm and yummy and it didn’t mess up my stomach as well. Winner!
As the rain was coming down in stair rods, the guides had to get me out of the tent kicking and screaming. I was finally and reluctantly ushered out and the ascent continued for another four hours where for the last part of it we started to encounter light snow. It was a fairy-tale sight and it kinda hit me why I wanted to do this in the first place. I like to push my boundaries and see what I can achieve and this was definitely a challenge.
We arrived at base (Barafu) camp cold and wet, the mess tent wasn’t up yet so I decided to stay at the sign-in hut and sit on a bench shivering, breathing into my ski jacket to keep warm and attempting to dry out.
When I finally made it to our tent to get into some dry clothes, I frantically started to think of the best way to get my ski jacket dry for the next day. The best solution I came up with was to but it underneath a towel underneath my sleeping bag where my head was. Genius? Not really, but at least I got a good night sleep.
The (almost) final Kili climb
At this point I thought we had another day’s trekking to go. However, our guide came into the tent and said we would start the summit climb that very night. I was half ecstatic that I didn’t have to do another days trekking before the summit and half nervous that the summit climb was in 5 hours’ time.
After eating just spaghetti (to be on the safe side) around 7:30 I managed to get about two hours sleep before we started to get ready for the summit climb.
What do you think? Did I make it to the top?
This is the third partof Lloyd’s diary guide to tackling the beast – aka: Climbing Kilimanjaro.