Monday, 1 February 2016

15 Jan 16, Climbing Mt Stanley, Ruenzori Mountains, Uganda - Day 5 Hunwick Camp to Margarita Camp

15 Jan 16 Hunwick Camp (3974) to Margarita Camp (4485), 3.2 km. 4 ½ hours

I slept better but still not continuous.  We had a big sleep in due to the short day today.  At 0815 I got up and had a coffee then packed my things. Breakfast was porridge followed by omelet,  fried potatoe slices and baked beans.  Then as it started raining hard our 0930 start was delayed for a while. 

At 1015 we departed heading down the toilet boardwalk before branching off onto a steep slippery muddy slope. Due to the rain and expected bogs I was back in gumboots. Also as it was cold I had my jacket on for the first time. 

We reached the bog and crossed the flat muddy area, still having to concentrate on the mud to prevent it going over the top of our gumboots. Once across the bog there were a few streams to cross but they were not deep. We then sidled close to a hill and the vegetation get denser which was affecting my umbrella so I collapsed it and thankfully the rain had stopped.  We then started climbing gradually along the side of the Hill through thick trees on a rocky and muddy path. Our reward for trudging through the mud was the surprise of a pretty Lake with a hut at the end. The hut was the other trekking company who come in via a different and shorter route. The rain started coming heavier so my umbrella went back up but thankfully the thickest vegetation eased off.  So it did not get in the way. 

Still smiling despite the rain.

Descending from the hut

Across the bog. There is fresh snow on Mt Spiers and you can see it's glacier

Nicola making easy work jumping across the stream

Kitandara Lake

Once past the camp we continued climbing and were able to look back down the Valley at the lake. Them as we climbed higher we could see the step hills in front and the guide pointed out the green speck which seemed to be perched on the edge of a steep cliff very high up the mountain, just a little intimidating. Thankfully I was distracted by the other views and at one of our many rest stops was a pretty sun bird close by.

Now we were climbing again we had to stop for longer periods for Anna Marie to catch up.  Eventually we left Anna Marie with her guide as we were getting cold waiting.  The scenery continued to be stunning which ever direction we looked. We stopped for a quick break and then began our 480 meter climb from the valley floor to our camp.  I was feeling strong and was not out of breath but at 4300 I started to get a slight headache.  We climbed up to a ridgeline including through some boulder fields then along the ridge passing Stanley-Evans Pass before the final climb to the camp.

You can see our camp if you look carefully. It is slightly below the skyline on what looks like a cliff slightly left of centre

The mist trying to get over the ridge

Camp is slightly closer but still looks a long way up.

There were two accommodation huts and further down the hill the kitchen.  We relaxed and then the clouds above us cleared and we could see the glacier which we were all excited about, though it looked a long way off. I took a ibobrophen and Panadol and my headache went away.  I went for a walk to see another lake and Mt Spiers with its large glacier clinging precariously to the rock race. Then tea and I washed my water proof trousers and asked the guides to put my boots by the fire to completely dry after they had gotten wet when they were when them.

Looking at the first of the glaciers we cross tomorrow

Mt Spiers