Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Mt Kilimanjaro Day 6

26 Mar 15. Karanga Valley Campsite (4000 m) to Barafu Hut Basecamp (4600m). Ascent 600m. 0800-1000 (2 hours).
am nil machine not working, pm oS 81/bpm 86.

It rained during the night but was clear when I woke up. It was nice to sleep through the night and not have to get up.

I was woken at 0550 by the noisy porters (not mine) so I just snoozed until 0700 when I had to get up. There was a layer of ice on the tent but it didnt feel cold. Breakfast was the same again. As I was having breakfast there was an annoying buzzing noise and looking outside I saw someone had brought a remote controlled heli-drone which I assume had cameras on it. Thankfully it was only flying for 15 minutes. I was impressed it was flying at this altitude but it was definitely not a stealth drone with the noise it made.

Good Morning!
At 0800 Nechi and I left, once again the first people to leave despite the intentions of my neighbour who I had overheard insisting to his guide that they leave at 0730 so he didnt have to walk in the rain again. I heard him woken at 0600 but when I left he was still fluffing around getting ready.

The trail was a gentle uphill through the barren volcanic landscape. There was a frost so I had the satisfying crunch through the ice in the dirt. Looking back down the hill I could see the camp spread out and the clouds below.
Looking back down at the camp

After reaching the top of the hill we dropped into a wide valley and then climbed steeply to reach the campsite which was a lot more cramped than previous ones and tents were perched on angles on the hill. For the first time there were tents already up when arriving at the campsite. These tents belonged to the people going for the summit. There were already some people who had returned from the summit who were resting before continuing down the mountain. People continued trickling down from the summit all day with the last ones arriving at 1600 making for a long day for them given most would have started at midnight.

Once camp was set up there was actually some sun so I sat outside reading. The wind was coming in strong gusts and one of the empty tents actually ripped out of its pegs and started flying down the hill. Eventually it got too windy and the mist blocked the sun so I headed back inside my tent for shelter but kept the door open as I enjoyed the view of the mist.
It snowed again last night

Interesting cairns made by the porters

More Cairns and a bright yellow flower which stood out in the grey/brown

Still an easy path

Crossing the valley

Daniel passing us to get the tent set up before I arrived.

Looking back at the path

Not Mt Kilimanjaro but impressive looking peak

Approaching Base Camp

Base Camp
Lunch was vegetable stew and watermelon.

The first of the people from last nights camp started arriving around 1300 by which time the mist and rain had started again. I just do not understand why they continue to leave late and walk through the mist and rain when they could have fantastic views and stay dry by leaving earlier.

Mid-afternoon as I was reading I heard a noise and looked up to see a mouse in my tent. Now this was not your average house mouse but a large and hardy alpine mouse with stripes down its back. It was not particularly concerned about me and was helping itself to some peanuts. I tried to shoo it out of the tent but it had now lost all ability to jump to get out of the door, despite being athletic enough to jump the 15 cm doorway to get in. So I ended up chasing it around and around the tent trying first to get it to jump out (I had both ends of the tent wide open now), and then trying to capture it to take it out. It kept going under my bags and sleeping bags around the edges and I could not trap it in my sleeping bag cram sack. It must have been 10 minutes going round and round and both of us were pretty tired before then when the mouse obviously had enough and rediscovered its jumping ability to jump back out of the door.

The rest of the afternoon passed incident free though I was disappointed not to get any afternoon tea. I got the first twinges of a headache so took a Panadol and increased my fluid intake and it did not reappear.

Dinner was Cucumber soup with fried bread, pasta and the same vegetable dish and no desert. Nechi did the normal briefing after dinner and said we would be leaving at midnight and I told him given my pace we should leave later so he relented and changed this to 0100 which I thought was still too early but bowed to his experience. I went to bed at 2010.

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