Monday, 20 April 2015

Mt Kilimanjaro Day 4

24 Mar 15. Shira II Camp (3840m) to Barranco campsite (3950m) via 4600m. 0715- 1140 (4 hours 25 minutes)
am oS 88/bpm 84, pm oS 87/bpm 90

I got up at 0300 and it had completely cleared leaving the sky full of stars. I went back to sleep easily and was warm. The hired synthetic sleeping bag is doing a good job.

I was woken at 0600 and the tent had ice on it. I had to put on a hat and my down jacket while I had breakfast. Looking up at the mountain I saw the rain had washed the recent snow dump away.

Breakfast was the same but no avocados.  I was ready to go at 0700 and wasnt impressed to be waiting outside ready to go while Nechi was still in his tent finishing packing.  Finally he was ready and I stripped off my down jacket and swapped my thermal hat for my sunhat. I also put some thin gloves on and I was glad I did as my fingers were cold for the first hour.

Luxury Toilets
The hole is still very small!

We headed up a steady climb through barren rock with the occasional small alpine shrub to break up the dirt. The dirt was frozen so I got the satisfying crunch as I walked along. Looking back I could see fluffy white clouds below and in the distance Mt Meru poking above the clouds. The track then dropped sharply and sidled down to a stream before heading back up to a ridge. We stopped for the second rest break here and this is where we join the more common Machame Route. David caught us here. We dropped down to another stream and back up to a ridge.  

Crunching through the frost
Looking back down the hill. Mt Meru is in the distance

Nechi taking a break
Mt Meru behind me. Note the gloves as my concession to the cold
Mist on the way in already
Mountain graffiti

The snow has washed off Mt Kilimanjaro
Heading for Lava Tower

Daniel making his load look light

David left us to take the direct route while we continued up to Lava Tower, a tall rock outcrop. The rest of the crew decided to come this way as well. At the Lava Tower I ate some of my packed lunch watching the Ravens flying around.  There were also some mice with stripes on their back.

Lava Tower is the rock formation below the snowline

Lava Tower complete with Ravens
One of many Ravens at Lava Tower
Mountain Mouse

Now heading down Nechi picked up the pace which was nice and then let me off my leash to go my pace so I took off down the hill and kept a good pace all the way into camp, stopping twice for photos of the Centosa trees.

In camp I registered and David had the tents set up but even after two previous days having to change to face the mountains as I had requested the tent was facing the toilet block instead so Nechi made him move it.

There were two other parties set up so crowded compared to what I had experienced. 
Down and up
Looking back at Lava Tower. We came in the gap between the middle rocks

Now this is more interesting. Very Dr Seus
Nearly deserted camp again

The mist quickly made an appearance and there were occasional showers. I kept my tent open but it got too cold so I zipped up. I ate the rest of my packed lunch (fried chicken, mini muffin, peanuts, bread roll, orange and fruit juice). Shortly after I was given a plate of popcorn.

I spent the afternoon drinking hot drinks alternating between milo and tea. When I went to the toilet I was surprised to see there were tents everywhere, including on the path to the toilet making me go cross country to get there.  Well into late afternoon more and more people arrived. They must have either started really late or walked slowly as their last camp was closer than mine. I felt sorry for them as visibility had reduced to 10 meters and it was a damp and cold cloud they had to walk in.

I was cosy in my tent and still no headaches.

Dinner was a nice onion soup with pancakes followed by a strange dark brown macaroni that tasted funny with vegetables. Desert was an orange-again!
Candle for reading

Coming back from my last toilet trip of the night I nearly got disoriented as I weaved my way through some new tents in the thick mist but luckily the flap was open in the kitchen tent  and I recognised my crew and reoriented myself to where my tent was.

Just before going to sleep there was some ominous thunder and it rained hard from 2130 for several hours.  When I got up to the toilet at 0500 it had cleared.

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