Mount Kilimanjaro Day 4 - Barranco Camp to Karanga Valley Camp

At a glance:

  • Barranco Camp to Karanga Valley Camp
  • 3.7 miles
  • +800 feet, -800 feet (I feel like there was more uphill than that)
  • Final altitude 13,000 feet

We woke up this morning for our tea-in-bed and then breakfast. I have learned to enjoy the porridge by adding lots of sugar to it. We had Spanish omelets this morning instead of plain, which I was able to get down a lot easier. We didn’t touch any of the four slices of bread.

Raymond, Charlie, and I started up the Barranco Wall ahead of Arden who was communicating down to the office in Moshi to work on getting more food up to us.

Since today is a short day, many groups left ahead of us, which meant we got stuck behind a lot of groups. We caught up to a slow group of 50-60 year olds before we even got to the Barranco Wall. Raymond called them the “traffic jams.” Some of them weren’t even carrying packs. When they got to the Barranco Wall, they had to stop to put their poles away, and that was our opportunity to pass them.

The Barranco Wall

The Barranco Wall was fun. There was some scrambling, but we both thought it was easy. We caught up with a group of 30-40 year olds that we have been playing leap frog with since the beginning, and we learned that they are from Denver and Las Vegas. They were very nice and looked like a fun group of people.

Making our way up the Barranco Wall
Getting close with one of the rocks on the Barranco Wall

Arden caught up with us, and we made it to the top of the Barranco Wall. We were up there for quite a while, and it took a long time for the older group to get there. By that time, none of them were carrying their packs. Hopefully they tip their guides well.

Looking down on last night's camp from the top of the Barranco Wall

Looking down on last night's camp from the top of the Barranco Wall

Looking down on people climbing up the Barrano Wall
View of Mount Meru from the top of the Barranco Wall

Next, we went down, then up, then down again. The last downhill part had a lot of dry, loose dirt. Raymond was going slow, which is fine uphill, but it actually makes the downhill more difficult. Anytime he heard us slip he would stop and ask if we were okay, when it would actually be easier to just keep going instead of sliding to a stop.

Making our way to Karanga Valley Camp
Our first view of Karanga Valley Camp. We just need to go downhill to the river and then back up.

At the bottom of this downhill section was a “river” (but really it was a very small stream). This is the last place we pass water on our way up. Camp today (Karanga) is another 500 vertical feet from the water, and Crater Camp is another 6,000 vertical feet. The poor porters have to carry all our water for the next few days from here.

On the Lemosho Route on our way to Karanga Valley Camp
Last uphill stretch before Karanga Valley Camp

We walked our last 500 vertical feet up to Karanga Valley Camp and got there around 12:30. We had a hot lunch which was the best yet (chicken, mango, and FRENCH FRIES!). Now we get to relax a bit. It has been raining on and off which is fine since we are done hiking for the day.

Rain clouds at Karanga Valley Camp
View of Mount Meru from Karanga Valley Camp

Today, Arden and Raymond told us more about the process of becoming a guide. Many of them start as porters for 3 years or so, but others do it for less time. They do two weeks of training in the classroom where they have to take a test, then 1 week on the mountain learning about the trails, preserving the environment, customer relations, etc. And of course, they must be able to summit.

The weather and temperature have been great so far. Right now, in the clouds, in the afternoon, in our tent, at 13,000 feet, it is 60 degrees. It’s probably 50 degrees outside.

We had a lot of free time today, so Charlie and I played poker. I won 4 out of the 6 games! I have a little bit of sunburn from day 2 of the climb. I missed some sunscreen in between the webs of my fingers and on my wrists. It is starting to blister now.

Our O2 sats are still in the high 80s and low 90s.

Dinner tonight was soup, mango, rice, chicken, and a meat/veggie sauce. Tomorrow is another easy day. It is a 2.5 miles, gradual uphill walk to base camp, a.k.a. Barafu Camp. Before going to bed, we enjoyed watching the sun set next to Mount Meru, watching Moshi light up at night, and watching shooting stars over Kilimanjaro. It was beautiful.

Watching the sun set behind Mount Meru from Karanga Valley Camp on Mount Kilimanjaro
Moon rise on Mount Kilimanjaro
Stargazing and looking at the lights of Moshi from Mount Kilimanjaro
Stargazing from Karanga Valley Camp