To the ends of the earth…and back!

Headed to Barafu Camp

I was incredibly nauseous from Barranco Wall until the summit, so my journal had limited notes from the two days, however my memory certainly has not betrayed me! . . .

The last push up from Barranco wall and the many valleys left most of us incredibly tired the night we reached Karanga Hut. I recall really wanting a shower, having not showered in more than five days. A record that I would soon break the next day! Though there was no tub anywhere, Simon brought me a small basin, the love, and I used the waterless shampoo I had brought with me. If I couldn’t knock the nausea, at least I’d still be pretty whilst trying! You may think I’m crazy, but trust me, with long hair there’s nothing like a little freshening up like some waterless shampoo.

Before having evening grub (and after fighting some severe bouts of the chills), I managed to “wash” my hair. As I walked into the food tent, which would be another failed attempt at eating, I remember one of the guys sniffing the air and smiling before asking if I’d sit next to him. HA. Once we finished dinner, Rick read the postings from family and friends which could be received to his satellite phone. It was so great to hear from home and all of us in the tent soaked up every word of each message. Before heading to bed, I stood outside my tent and looked up at the stars and some of the twinkling lights in Moshi town for several minutes as I enjoyed a dessert of some pepto bismol tabs.


Headed to Barafu Camp…Simon awoke us the following morning as we were to begin the climb to the final camp, Barafu Camp, before we’d reach the summit. One of the most interesting bits from this day was the terrain. For most of the climb, it seemed like we were on another planet. There were jagged rocks, very thin and delicate, upon which we tread. I remember listening to our trekking poles hit the surface and thinking of the off broadway show STOMP.

Soon after stopping for a quick water break, we realized the specks of darkness if our view were not rocks nor bird, rather they were the climbers and porters ascending the mountain to Barafu Camp (which rest above 15,000 feet). We Regulators remarked on that fact for quite sometime as we continued on. I think the excitement and adrenaline was what pushed us so much this day, as we knew we were just hours away from beginning our final ascent to Uhuru Peak at 19,340 feet.

Chris and Mark playing with the rocks as Stan relaxes…







The one path leading us up to Barafu!










We finally reached the camp after a relatively short day of hiking. The Leomoshu group passed through our camp, en route to theirs which was closer to Uhuru. We would see them again around midnight, about an hour into our climb to Uhuru. We acted as a receiving line as each person passed–giving out hugs, high fives and words of encouragement to our friends.

Cal (on the left) welcomes Esther–the best tent doctor EVER! (More on her in the next post)

Anyway, once I found my tent, I decided to change outfits. As I pulled my sweatshirt over my head and placed it next to me on my sleeping bag, I was incredibly winded and my breathing quite labored! Apparently something as simple as that movement proves quite difficult at 15,000+ feet!

The clouds were especially fun at Barafu Camp–one minute the sky would be blue, the next it was as white as snow!

We also had some fun taking photos, an invited distraction as the air became thick with anxiety for our next day of climbing.

These toilets hung off the side of the mountain, literally! Even when inside you could feel and hear the wind’s draft. An added luxury though: a door!


Like all the previous nights we had spent on Kilimanjaro, we changed and had some dinner. After Cal read a beautiful card from his family and I prayed for the group and our climb, everyone retired to bed for about two or three hours in preparation for our final ascent at 11PM. The plan was to climb through the night, for about seven hours, until we reached Uhuru Peak and met the sun rise along the way.

I willed myself to sleep but just as soon as my eyes were closed it felt as though it was time to leave again! We had some hot tea/coffee/Milo, took some photos and hugged each other as we began our longest night on Kilimanjaro, on top of the world.


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