When a lifelong dream becomes a reality, I believe that one of the best ways to preserve those precious memories is to put the experience down in words. A diary, a notepad, or in this case, a blog, are great tools for remembering, sharing and reliving those highs and lows that come with an extreme adventure, and as we share our Kilimanjaro Climb story over the coming days, we hope it encourages you to share your own.
Day 4 – Barranco Camp
Our second night camping was just about as successful as the first night, although I do think we managed to get a good 2-3 hours sleep. By the time the sun rose over the Shira Camp, we were up, dressed, and ready for our first hot meal of the day, and our chef Kelvin didn’t disappoint! Hot millet (a warm, brown porridge like dish) with honey, French toast, a platter of fruits including my favourite Avocado, and rashers of bacon, washed down with plenty of fluids to get us ready for the day on Mount Kilimanjaro.
Blessed once again with glorious weather, we were able to view the entire Shira Plateau before heading off on our route towards Barranco Camp. Mathew had informed us that today’s hike would be relatively steep uphill for around 3-hours, and then downhill a further 3-hours to base camp. The reason for ‘hiking high and sleeping low’ is to help the body acclimatize to the altitude.
The morning hike was steep, but nothing too strenuous and we reached our lunch base just as the sun disappeared behind the rain clouds. The rainfall arrived pretty quickly, and while we were lucky enough to be enjoying our tomato soup, vegetarian penne, and fresh fruits in our warm and cosy mess tent, many other Kili conquerors were left out in the rain, eating their soggy packed lunch on the side of the mountain – not fun!
The rain gradually turned into a light snow, but by the time we had finished lunch and were ready to move on, it was little more than drizzle. Armed (or should I say “dressed”) in our rather attractive green safari poncho’s we set off once again towards the magnificent Lava Tower at 15,000ft. We had intended to climb up the tower, but due to the inclement weather, Mathew advised against it. From the Lava Tower, we trekked downhill through the immense canyon of Grand Barranco, to our base camp for the evening – Barranco Camp at 13,000ft.
While the weather was not ideal for photos, the scenery was simply breathtaking, but one thing that had us all gasping (and not due to altitude!) was the striking Barranco Wall that we were to climb the following day. An imposing, but quite beautiful rock face – “it looks worse than it really is” confirmed Mathew.
Our routine of wash, change and rest, was followed by dinner in the mess tent with the crew. Tonight’s menu included carrot and ginger soup, pork with soya sauce and garlic, rice with vegetables and banana fritters with fresh honey – I swear we do not eat this good at home!
We left the warmth of the mess tent to find the entire Barranco Camp covered in a sprinkling of frost. Beautiful but freezing, we didn’t stick round long enough to enjoy the view and headed into our sleeping bags fully clothed – here we go – night 3 on Kilimanjaro!