The Ancient Historian

Ancient history, mountaineering, cycling and other outside adventures

Climbing Kilimanjaro-Part 2

We all reached the first camp together. It was around 5 PM, and nice to see our camp already set up, and the cooks working away! Luxury.

We selected our tents and unpacked. We were just about at tree line, above the clouds, and we could catch our first real glimpse of the Kili summit as the sky was clear above us.

It seemed so close, and yet it was about 5 days away! By the time we had gotten our pads and bags set up and stuff we needed like headlamps out and ready, it was dinner time. Very surprised, as I would be all trip, how good the food was in camp. Always a warm soup, and comfort food, like fries, chicken, pasta. Yumm. Our guide determined that it was best for us to pool our iodine tabs to make one large container of drinkable water each evening so we could be set up for the night and the next day. It proved to be a good idea. In bed by 9 (actually I had crashed when we hit camp and slept through dinner, preferring to catch up on zzzz’s) to get ready for the next day, which we knew already would start out super steep. The next morning came quickly (ahhhh, Ambien) and it was chilly. Eben decided that pushups were in order before breakfast. Only one person took him up on it. It was not I. We tucked into a hardy breakfast, packed up, and hit the trail by 9 ish or so. It was began steep, a little scramble over rocks and then just steep walking for a while. First stop, camp 2 on the Shira plateau at about 12,000.

We had gained only about 2000 feet in elevation. Here began the “zone of weird plants.” And there are really some odd looking things. We would get used to seeing them by the next day. The landscape quickly turned “lunar” as we reached the plateau. Kili summit was in full view. It was a large camp, and our tents were set up right in the center. It was another long day, as we pulled into camp again by 5 or so, we were ready for a rest, and dinner. The next morning, we began our southern traverse of Kili.

We were expecting 6 hours or so, it turned out to be more like 9. The day began sunny, and I was eager to get going. We hit rain and fog much of the day. Not too many views, and a lot of up and down. We climbed up to about 15,000 and then down to 13. Some people began to experience AMS. Fortunately for me for some reason, I had only the slightest of headaches, and good slow breathing did away with that. So I felt great, but it was a very long day, wet and slippery, and we all were glad to see Barranco camp, at 13,000, come into view. Our group was now all over the mountain, and the last folks came in an hour or so behind the front group. We all stared at the breach wall. It’s quite something to see. Straight on, it looks like pure rock climbing, from the approach angle you can see that it is a steep trail. Still, it was on my mind all night. Some work ahead of us tomorrow.

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