Day 6: Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp
Trip Start Jul 17, 2010
73Trip End Sep 19, 2010
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Short hike today but there was still a good gain in elevation as it was pretty much just straight up the hill to the next camp. This was a struggle for me, it was the highest we had been so far and every break was much appreciated. The landscape changed from being rocky to lots of shale and scree and as dry as ever. The last part of the trail to camp was especially tough, I was very happy to get to camp and sit around relaxing while waiting to sign in lol.
This camp was different to the rest of the camps. Whereas the other ones were on open areas near some water, this one was very rocky and uneven, with the only flat areas the ones that had been cleared for pitching tents on where possible, and porters had to bring water up from below Karanga Camp, poor buggers. It had a pretty sweet view over the other peak on Kili and the clouds down below. Our orders were to relax and not do anything for the rest of the afternoon after we had lunch, Theo said even if we couldn't sleep then we were to lay down in our tents and he didn’t want to see anyone walking around outside lol.
The way the schedule works is that you arrive around 13:30 and sign in, then have something to eat and sleep or rest for the rest of the afternoon. Dinner is early at 17:00 followed by a summit climb briefing and meeting the porters that would be coming along as extra guides for the day, then its back to bed at 18:00 for sleep before getting up at 23:00 or midnight (depending on your guide) to get ready to go up. After summiting (or trying to summit) you go back down and rest again until lunch just before midday then you head down to Mweka Camp, the aim to have everyone out of camp before 13:00 when the next groups come up the next day. I managed to drift off to sleep for a while and had to woken for dinner.
As we ate I think everyone was a bit nervous and thinking of what was ahead of us. As we finished eating Theo and Atale came into the mess tent with 3 of the porters who were coming as extra guides for the summit and went through what we were going to do and what to expect. A few things were going to be different, like breaks on the hour every hour but for 5 mins only so that we wouldn’t get too cold. Everyone was to wear a beanie, gators, have a head torch, etc. Interesting was Theo’s decree that if you threw up 5 times you would be sent back down, no negotiations. Other guides may let people continue and although he wanted us all to reach the top our safety was his main concern.
He also said working together as a team and not stopping were very important to us all making it there, but from we had shown so far, we were all going to make it. Back to bed after the briefing for more sleep then we got woken up at 23:00 to get ready for the climb and have a quick snack. I had borrowed thermal vest and long johns from Scott and Travis, but I didn’t realise while getting dressed in the dark that the long johns only went mid calf, so I didn’t pull them up high enough and that would be a problem later on.
As I walked into the mess tent for our snack I was wearing: thermal long johns, long pants, waterproof pants, thick socks, hiking shoes, gators, thermal vest, 2 tshirts, snow jacket and beanie, with my gloves and chemical heat satchels in my jacket pockets along with some Kit Kats, and my head torch on my head with fresh batteries. A few cups of tea and Milo and munching on what biscuits were left then before I knew it Theo was at the tent door telling us it was midnight and time to start….