Kilimanjaro – day three (26/02/10)

So today started with a big big relief.  The headaches and nausea from last night have abated.  I went for a pee at about 2am this morning, and the benefits of the impending full moon were readily apparent as both Mawenzi and Kibo were lit up incredibly by the moon.  When I got back to my tent however, I actually found it quite difficult to breathe.  It was pretty scary – I had a moment when I thought that the mountain was not for me.  I just started deep breathing however, and eventually all was normal.

Breakfast was the normal feast, porridge, toast, honey, omelette, sausages, mango, papaya, tea, coffee etc.  There is too much.  Again I feel sorry for the people who carried the stuff all this way.

Everyone else seems to feel good this morning too, other than Kamal who has really bad sunburn on his neck which actually stopped him sleeping, and Heather who was sick during the night, oh and Caroline fell over on the way back from the toilet and cut her knee, and is limping somewhat, so she will use her poles today. The weather is again great though, and here is a view just as we leave camp:

Leaving Kikelewa on day three

We set off at about 8.30, and we have a short distance to go today, just 5km.  It is steep however, and it takes us to over 4300m or 14,100 feet.  We will be there by noon, all being well.

The ‘olds’ stick to the back, and the tweens head off at their usual breakneck pace.  This time Kamal hangs back with us, and I pronounce him ‘President’.  Before long however Kamal goes to join the tweens, and we hand back at our usual slow ‘pole pole pole’ pace, accompanied by Deo and Raymond.

The climb up towards Mawenzi

The walk is fantastic we are above the line of the trees and bushes now, and all that grows are lichens and alpine heathers.  We reach camp at Mawenzi Tarn at about 12.15.  The camp is in the shade of Mawenzi Peak, which is stunning.

First view of Mawenzi Tarn and campsite, at 4,300m

Along the way today, Deo teaches us the following phrase: ‘Poa kichizi kama ndizi’, which means literally “as cool as a banana”, but means properly “as good as it gets” or the like, I think.

We also ask Deo today to give us Swahili names. He is teaching us various words, and so it is fitting that we learn some more. We already know “Asante” (thanks) and “Karibu” (welcome) and a few others, but our own names just cap it off. They are as follows:

Kamal – “Kifaru” , which means Rhino

Tamara – “Twiga”, which is Giraffe

Tayma – “Cheetah’, which is cheetah, funnily enough

Ronan – “Mzungu Maasai”, or white (Maasai) warrior

Caroline – “Mchumba”, which is Sweetheart, or lover, apparently

Heather – “Mrembo”, which means beautiful

Me – “Bao Bab” – a type of ‘old tree’, pretty fitting really:)

So we are now on an extinct crater at close to 5,100m.  It is totally spectacular.  I have a look around me in wonderment, and have a ‘this is what it is all about moment!!’

After lunch of cucumber soup, meat pies with chilli sauce, and fresh pineapple, we all crash for an hour or so.  At 3.30 we are awoken for hot peanuts and tea, and then we set off on an acclimatisation walk. We go up about about 700 feet higher than the camp, along a ridge of what was once the crater of the volcano.  The views are outstanding.

Close to Mawenzi Peak, acclimatisation walk, at about 4,600m

Back at camp at 6.30 or so we retire to dinner of beef and banana stew, a local Chagga dish – it was outstanding. Before this we had fried chicken wings and battered egg plant followed by leek soup.

Played a few games of ‘Oh hell’ at cards, which Ronan won, although none of us quite know how to this day, including Ronan, as the rules of the game seemed to elude him slightly!!  ….  And then sleep comes so easily despite being at over 14,000 feet.

I felt much better this evening, despite being so much higher than the previous night. It may be due to the acclimatisation walk. It may be due to the fact that I know that tomorrow we will be sleeping at almost 1,000 metres lower than we are right now. My body looks forward to that extra oxygen.

I love Kilimanjaro. I cannot get enough, and it just ‘has’ me, although as you know, that happened a long long time ago……….

4 thoughts on “Kilimanjaro – day three (26/02/10)

  1. Just want to thank you for this blog. This is the second time I’m reading through it. I just booked today with Henry on the Rongai Route for August 24-30. EXCITED!

    • Fantastic! I am very excited for you believe me. Henry will most certainly look after you very well – he is an incredible host in every way. If there is anything at all that I can help you with then please let me know. Have a fantastic time – saviour it all, starting now!!

  2. I am gathering together my kit items now. I’ve decided I’ll be renting the sleeping bag, down jacket and waterproofs. I don’t have much need for the down jacket outside of this trip and don’t know what size waterproofs I’d need to go over the down jacket. I’m going to buy a sleeping bag liner to add a few degrees warmth to the bag I rent.

    I’m considering buying a SteriPen to purify water but others have said it’s unnecessary because they’ll boil enough water for me. I sure don’t want anything stomach related to get between me and the summit.

    Trying to find a way to insulate my CamelBak and water bottle. May check out some insulating foam at the hardware store and see if I can find a way to put it on the hose and maybe find something else to put around the bag itself.

    Summit night I figure I’ll be wearing my Under Armour base layer top, thin fleece top, thicker fleece and then the down jacket and waterproofs if I need them. On the bottom, I have an Under Armour base layer, fleece pants. May throw on another pair of running tights if I think I need them.

    Probably will ditch my SLR camera in my camp bag until I return from the summit and just bring my small point and shoot camera for the summit photos.

    Still have so much to buy.

    • Don’t blame you re not buying the items – that’s what I did, and yes the sleeping bag liner is a good idea too.

      Re the Steripen – they will boil the water for you (and when you see where they take some it from you’ll see just why), but extra precautions can only help. I took purifying tablets with me, didn’t use them as religously as I should have done, and ended up with the most horrible ‘tummy’ I think I have ever had for about three days.

      Re the Camelbak – if you do a search online you can buy the insulating tubes for not much money. The bag’ll be fine in your rucksack it is the water in the tube which freezes as it is narrow.

      And yes – I didn’t see anyone with the energy to get an SLR out on summit night. Point and shoot is the way to go all day long.

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