Hiking Kilimanjaro – The Middle

Sept 13-15


Sept 13 – Day 3 of the Trek


The next morning, the mountain was still there…

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We hiked about 6.5 miles across the Shira Caldera to camp 2 (12,000 ft).  I didn’t take too many pics today, but got a video of the windy conditions as we setup camp:

After a short nap, we hiked a little ahead on the trail to an overlook of the camp where a lot of other hikers had gathered, then back to camp, dinner, and rest up for tomorrow – crossing 15,300 ft for the 1st time – taking the Lava Tower route before descending again to Baranco camp at 13,000 ft.


Sept 14 – Day 4


This was Brutal.  The notes I took are officially not repeatable here.

We had lunch at the Lava Tower (15,300 ft).  Shortly after, I started feeling the headache.  By the end of the descent into Baranco, my head was pounding.  We had to go slow because every movement felt ice an Ice pick in my skull.  I thought it was Blood Pressure related and not altitude, as I took some BP meds that evening and everything went back to normal… but in hindsight, I was not as impervious to altitude as I thought (having trained just fine on 14’ers in Colorado).  Apparently I start feeling it above 15,000 ft… sorry Colorado, you just aren’t high enough (which is fine with me).

We finally made it to Baranco camp, which has a nice view down a valley to the South.  dsc00729

 


Sept 15 – Day 5


The guides don’t call it call Baranco.  They call it Guantanamo Camp, because once you’re there, it’s hell to get out.

After breakfast, everyone started scaling “The Wall”.  Look at this thing…

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People look like ants…

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This was the easy part…

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No good picks of the hard parts… too busy climbing… There’s one spot where you cross a very small ledge with a concave rock bulging out.  The guides just tell you to “kiss the rock” and be careful.  There was another spot where you have to stretch across a vertical gap and basically decide between throwing your legs up, or falling to the jagged rocks below and probably taking 15 people with you.

Once at the top, everyone took a break.

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After “the wall”, the rest of the trek to Karanga camp (13,300 ft) was pretty easy.  …and I felt great.

And just so you know… this is the bathroom.  Yes, there’s no door and just a hole in the floor.

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That night was clear, so I got some cool pics…

I think the lights are the city of Moshi.

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Yes, that pic is not level, it should be steeper and the horizon should be level… but rotating cropped too much out, and I kinda like it this way anyhow…

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…and looking the other way – back up at Kili – still towering above you.

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Almost there… the last Kili post (summit attempt and descent) is coming soon!

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