Thursday, August 8, 2013

Day 6-8: Trekking Day 4-6 Shira 2 camp to Barranco Hut to Barafu Camp

Day 4: SHIRA TWO CAMP to BARRANCO HUT (12,956 ft.)
Hike time: 5 hrs,
Elevation change: + 100m
Estimated distance: 6km
Final elevation: 3950m

"Today is the last of the “easy days”. It is about a 7-hour hike. We pass the Lava Tower, around the southern flank of Kibo, and slowly descend into the spectacular Barranco Valley, interspersed with giant lobelia and senecia plants. After arriving at our most spectacular campsite, everyonestands in awe at the foot of Kibo Peak, looming high above, on our left.Our camp is only 465 feet higher than where we were last night, but during the day, we will have climbed to just over 14,000 feet. This is one of our most valuable days for acclimatization."

Beautiful Morning. 
Mt Meru on the right.

Start of Day 4 Trek


These folks packed everything after we left the camp, and overtook us (as we were much slower) to set up the tent at the next campsite.

Beautiful highland Desert

A trekker who died in Kilimanjaro.
A reminder of the risks of trekking in high altitude.

"Pole Pole"
Slow Slow in Swahili

Lava Tower (4600m) at the far end.

We are small and insignificant.

White-necked ravens

Summit of Kilimanjaro

Highland Dessert.
Descending from Lava Tower.
Love the trek & the view.
It was freezing.

Lava Tower at the back

Descending further.
Around this point, AMS hit hard on SM who vomitted a few times.

"Dendrosenecio is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the family Asteraceae. It is a segregate of Senecio,[1] in which it formed thesubgenus Dendrosenecio.[1] Its members, the giant groundsels, are endemic to the higher altitude zones of ten mountain groups in equatorial East Africa,[3] where they form a conspicuous element of the flora."


We arrived the camp quite early and I managed to wash my hair, which is a luxury.

Day 4 evening, the morale in the camp was quite low. AMS has affected quite a number of us - I could feel the pain and struggle on the face of my friends. It wasn't a good feeling. Ivan was asking about the evacuation plan - preparing for worst case scenario.

My resting heartbeat was 100/minute (my avg resting heartbeat at sea level was around 55-60/min)

Hike time: 3.5 hrs, Elevation
change: +240m (787 ft);
Estimated distance: 4km,
Maximum elevation: 4190m,
Final elevation: 4000m

"On the eastern side of the valley, across the stream is the Barranco Wall-a 950ft. barrier of volcanic rock. Although it is tall and looks steep, it is very easy to climb. This is our first challenge of the day. The views from the wall are nothing less than magnificent. The rest of the day is spent skirting the base of Kibo peak over our left shoulder. We descend down into the Karanga Valley, where we rest up for the night before the tough climb up to Barafu hut."
Every morning, a mug of hot tea was delivered to our tent.
Having a hot tea in a cold tent is heavenly.

My camp-mate (DD) reminded me that we are very fortunate. We have the luxury of flying halfway across the globe (from US, Europe & Asia) to trek the highest peak in Africa. We were staying comfortably in a tent in the mountain supported by a big crew of guides and porters. Indeed, we are very fortunate and I am very grateful. 

Our guides.

Amazing View

I was on the roof of Africa, looking its great plain. 
It was surreal. It was beautiful. 
I told myself "even if I do not make it to the summit, this view has made all the time/money/effort worthwhile."


It was a great time to contemplate about life too. I was asking what king of life I wanna live. It was quite clear - one that gives hope and loving-kindness to the weak and needy.

Day 6: BARAFU CAMP (15,088 ft.)

Hike time: 3.5 hrs, 

Elevation changes: +410 M (1,345 ft)

Estimated distance: 4km,

Final elevation: 4600 M

"First thing, you will be making a steep hike out of the valley. The air starts getting quite thin, and you will be running short of breath. It is a tough, but rewarding uphill to the rocky, craggy slopes at the camp. Barafu means ice in Swahili, and it is extremely cold at this altitude. So, go to bed early because we will be waking you at midnight for the final leg to Uhuru Peak."

Indomie for breakfast.
(Thanks to PY who purchased it Arusha

Day 6 morning

Ladies had a hard time finding rock to relieve themselves.

Piles of rocks for good luck

Day 6 - Campsite.

It was snowing for a while.
What an experience.
This might be my first and last time experiencing snowing in equator.

We are supposed to have an early dinner, take a 2-3hour nap and set off at 12midnight for the summit climb. Everybody was nervous and worried.

To our pleasant surprise, the guide told us that the guides & some porters will be carrying our day bag (3-4kg) for the summit climb. This would significantly improve our chances of reaching the summit. 

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