The Kilimanjaro Diary: Day 4 – Barranco Camp (3950m) to Karanga Camp (4200m) (14 March 2013)


Today feels as good as yesterday in terms of readiness and preparedness. I still feel markedly better and my strength has improved significantly, but I also know it is too early to declare victory. The energy required to simply be on the mountain is immense. It’s only Day 4, but the Day 6 summit attempt is now coming sooner rather than later. Life at 4000 meters is manageable.

I recorded a video blog here as well. You can see I am visibly tired. Not sick or ill in any way, but just tired. But I feel like I can go on and we must! We have every intention of reaching the peak and getting our gold certificate!

About today’s climb – the Barranco ‘Breakfast’ Wall

We are taking this extra acclimatisation day to get used to the altitude. But our day starts with what is at times a near vertical climb up Barranco Wall. It is called the ‘Breakfast Wall’ because we climb it pretty much immediately after breakfast. It is the hardest thing we will do today.

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There are several times when Ashard reminds us that we have to step carefully. The alternative is falling to your death. So we navigate those parts quite carefully, including the “kissing rock” which is the rock that sticks out and makes it difficult to cross the path. If you aren’t basically hugging that rock so tightly that you are kissing that rock (and I kissed it), then it means you aren’t close enough and might fall. I like these moments – they cause adrenaline. The climb however is relatively pleasant as long as we keep to my super super slow pace. Christina is a ball of positive energy. I don’t like it 🙂 She’s singing Disney songs which should lighten the mood. I don’t like it 🙂 She asked me what song she should sing. I responded with R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly.” The irony wasn’t lost on her, but she sang it anyway 🙂

After we get to the top of the Barranco Wall, we stop for a pause. It’s really beautiful up there. And of course, we have the ravens with us every step of the way. They are either our faithful companions or they are looking to eat us if the opportunity arises. It’s probably a bit of both.

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I think I need to take a moment to explain the porters and just how amazing they are. To climb Kili one must has licensed guides and porters. As a climber, you only carry your daypack, the porters carry everything else, including your duffel bag. Everything else includes the tents, food, water, cooking equipment, as well as their own stuff. And they do this with amazing energy. They are the last people to leave the camp site (since they break everything down), and they zoom past everyone so they are the first to arrive at the next camp site to set everything up for our arrival. The next time you think “man, my job is tough,” think about what these amazing guys (and one girl) do and then get back on about your business. Probably nothing you do is as tough as this. 🙂

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Karanga Camp

We eventually make it to Karanga camp, which is at 4200m. But the trek to the camp was tough. It was also rewarding.

Here is the afternoon video blog.

Courtesy of Christina, here is a pic of Moshi town from 4200m above. Christina simply takes awesome photos!

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