MT. KILIMANJARO & SAFARIS – CLIMB 2: 17 – 30 Nov 2016

Wednesday, Nov 23rd we were up around 6:00am which was our usual start to each day.  However, this time it would be the beginning of a long 36 hour period.  The first thing we saw was the Barranco Wall pictured below.  We could climb this wall first thing in the morning.  It was actually one of my favorite parts of the whole week.  It looks tough but was really pretty simple except for one spot where you had to “kiss the wall” to get around a big rock.

 

This is a nice shot looking back down on the Baranco Camp Site.  Our group was up and on the wall before most of the other groups were moving.
Here are a couple photos near the top of the Baranco Wall.
After the wall, we descended hundreds of feet before heading up again towards Barafu Camp (15,300 feet/4,673 meters) which would be our high camp for the trip.
I think we arrived at Barafu Camp around 2:30pm on Wednesday.  We relaxed for around 3 hours before getting up for dinner.  I probably slept an hour at most.  After dinner, we all went to our tents and tried to sleep before getting up around 11:00pm for a snack.  We started climbing to the summit around 12:30am Thursday (Thanksgiving day).  I am guessing I might have slept a couple hours and rolled around for the balance of the “rest” time.
We climbed using our headlamps until the sun came up.  We climbed 3 straight hours before we even took a break.  This was not optimal for me because I learned on the AT that I need to eat something every 1.5 – 2 hours or I start hiking weirdly, stepping wrong and mentally checking out.  After a very short break, we started climbing again and went almost 4 straight hours without another break until we reached Stella point.  This is on the edge of the Kilimanjaro crater about 500 feet below the true summit.  We took a short break but we were all very cold and shaking…the wind was strong at this spot too.  I ended up putting another layer of gear on and had 5 layers on my upper body and 3 layers on my legs. It was still cold but that was also a function of not getting any real quality sleep for the past few days and not eating enough.
After a short break, we climbed another hour to the summit.  I don’t think we spent much more than 5 minutes at the summit because we were all beat and cold.  We headed down pretty quickly.
Here is a picture after summiting pointing at High Camp.
I think I was back at camp around 10:30am.  Unfortunately, the day was not over yet.  We were supposed to take a 2 hour break and then hike down 4+ hours to a lower camp for our last night on the mountain.  Luckily, the guides gave us a longer break of around 4 hours so we could get an hour or two of sleep.  We then broke camp and climbed down couple hours to High Camp (12,800 feet/3,905 meters) and thus concluding our 5th day on the mountain.
On the way out we passed some “emergency stretchers” as picture below.  Our guide Barnaba had an interesting story of the very first time he was a porter on the mountain.  He fell into a coma at one of the higher camps due to the altitude and the porters had to carry him down and eventually they put him on one of these contraptions to get him off the mountain.
The last day was a 5-6 hours hike out to the Mweka Gate.  This picture of the team was taken that morning before we hiked out.
The hike out eventually ended up in the rain forest ecosystem and we ended up at the Mweka gate (5,400 feet/1,653 meters).  We then took a bus back to Arusha.
I found this summary below online.  The only difference in what we did was we went straight from the Barranco Hut camp to the Barafu Camp and skipped the Karanga Valley camp site.
Day 1: Machame Gate (1634 m/5,363 ft) to Machame Hut (2834 m/9,300 ft)
Hike time: 7.5 hrs
Elevation change: +1200 m/+3937 ft
Estimated distance: 10km/6.21 miles
Final elevation: 3100 m/10,170 ft
Day 2: Machame Hut (2834 m/9,300 ft) to Shira Hut (3749 m/12,300 ft)
Hike time: 7 hrs
Elevation change: +800 m/+244 ft
Estimated distance: 6km/3.75 miles
Final elevation: 3800 m/12,467 ft
Day 3: Shira Hut (3749 m/12,300 ft) to Barranco Hut (3901 m/12,800 ft)
Hike time: 5 hrs
Elevation change: +100 m/+328 ft
Estimated distance: ?
Final elevation: 3900 m/12,800 ft
Day 4: Barranco Hut (3900 m/12,800 ft) to Karanga Valley (3963 m/13,000 ft)
Hike time: 3.5 hrs
Elevation change: +100 m/+328 ft
Estimated distance: 4km/2.5 miles
Final elevation: 3963 m/13,000 ft
Day 5: Karanga Valley (3963 m/13,000 ft) to Barafu Hut (4,600 m/15,091 ft)
Hike time: 3.5 hrs
Elevation change: +600 m/+1968 ft
Estimated distance: 4km/2.5 miles
Final elevation: 4,600 m/15,091 ft
Day 6: Barafu Camp (4,600m/15,091 ft) to the Summit (5896 m/19,343 ft) and then to Mweka Camp (3100 m/10,170 ft)
Summit time: 7 hrs
Elevation change: +1300 m/+4265 ft
Estimated distance: 5km/3.2 miles
Final elevation: 5896 m/19343 ft
Descent time: 5 hrs
Elevation change: -2800 m/-9186 ft
Estimated distance: 12km/7.5 miles
Final elevation: 3100 m, 10,170 ft
Day 7: Mweka Hut (3100 m/10,170 ft) to Mweka Gate (1828 m/6,000 ft)
Descent time: 4 hrs
Elevation change: -1250 m/-4101 ft
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