At a glance:
- Crater Camp to Uruhu Peak (again) to Millenium Camp
- 0.6 miles up, 9.3 miles down
- +541 feet, -6,841 feet
- Final altitude 12,500 feet
Well, that was a shitty night. Charlie and I barely slept at all. I had a mild headache and was a little cold (I put toe warmers in my sleeping bag on three occasions), but it didn’t seem bad enough that I wouldn’t be able to sleep because of it. My guess is that my body’s instinct is to not let me fall asleep with the air so thin.
Our cook woke us up at 5:15am to start packing. It was 20 degrees in our tent and probably 10 degrees outside (not including the wind chill). Our cook brought us some cookies and hot water, and that was pretty much it for breakfast. Charlie only ate 1 cookie, which means I ate like 5.
The sun was starting to come up, so we made our way up the shortcut up to Uruhu Peak. It was much easier going up than down, although I seemed to struggle with the uphill walking. I’m not sure if it was the altitude finally kicking in, my asthma, or my pack being a little heavier than usual. Either way, we made it to Uruhu Peak (again) with clear skies.
As we headed back down, Arden was telling us how Steve, our camp manager, was vomiting all night last night, and even Arden said he got a bad headache after our hike to the crater. Crater Camp is no joke, even for experienced guides!
Both yesterday going up and today going down, we passed quite a few people who were being aided down the mountain due to altitude sickness. They had their arms linked to 2 guides, and they all looked very confused and out of it.
What took us 6 hours going up took us a little over an hour going down. We passed many people! We made it to Base Camp (Barafu Camp) at 9:30. We had a few hours to rest before lunch at 12:00, and then we’re heading down to Millenium Camp. Right now at Barafu Camp, our pulse ox’s are up to 85%!
As we were lying in our tent with nothing to do, I mentioned how we would have been better off just finishing the last 2.5 miles now instead of waiting around at camp since it was probably going to rain in the afternoon. Wel, soon after I said that it started to snow and DIDN’T STOP. We had lunch in our tent (onion soup and oranges) and continued to wait around. We were hoping Arden would wait for the snow to pass, but no, we were to start walking.
So that’s what we did. We started walking down the Mweka Route towards Millenium Camp, and the snow never let up. As we got lower in elevation, the trail turned into a huge river, so we walked on the side of it. Charlie was lucky enough to have a rain cover for his backpack. I didn’t so all my stuff got wet.
The trail down was a nice, easy incline. While Charlie and I prefer to go faster downhill, Raymond went fairly average/slow. This got irritating when we got stuck behind a group of slower people (4-5 people). Two of the girls weren’t even wearing backpacks (a surprisingly common sight on this mountain). One of the girls hesitated any time there was a rock more than 6 inches high (again, another frequent sight).
The reason this was a problem was because Raymond would not pass them. Eventually they stopped, but when Raymond passed them, he continued to walk slow, so the group passed us again. Ugh!
Eventually we made it to Millenium Camp. It was still raining, and all the porters were huddled with their wet gear under the porch of the ranger station.
We went inside an met a couple from the San Francisco Bay area who just summitted Kilimanjaro today via the Machame Route. They still have to go down to Mweka Camp today. Apparently they had to rent all their gear because their luggage got lost in Istanbul, Turkey.
The rain eventually subsided, and we were left with a wet tent and some wet gear. When the sun came out for a litte, we did our best to dry everything out, although it looks like our tent floor is going to stay damp tonight. I’ve given up on my wet clothes that were in my day pack, and they are going in the dirty/wet laundry bag.
We had a wet/rainy dinner tonight of leek soup (I’m starting to grow on soup!), bread which is MUCH better, rice, veggie sauce, green beans, and pineapple. It was raining so hard that every few minutes a puddle formed above our heads on the roof of our mess tent. What a mess. After dinner, we waiting inside the mess tent for about 15 minutes until the downpour subsided.
We then went over to our soggy tent. Charlie made a trench around the tent to prevent us from getting completely soaked, and then we went to bed. It didn’t rain too hard overnight, and we stayed fairly dry.
Tomorrow is our last day on the mountain, and then we get a SHOWER!