January 3, 2014
13,200-ft/4,023-m • 4-5 hours
Today promises to be the most challenging so far. Shortly after breakfast, we must face the famed Barranco Wall – an elevation of 900 feet, most of it a steep incline. Scaling it – with no rope – entails much concentration while clinging to the rock face and searching for secure footholds along the way. I’m sure I’ll be especially focused! At another time, while much younger, I took a tumble while scaling Shannon Falls, a 1,099 foot waterfall, the third highest in BC. I still bear the scar from stitches on the back of my head and my mother’s words continue to echo in my mind, suggesting that I was never very coordinated anyway. I’m sure she would be the last one to expect me to be taking on Kilimanjaro, especially in her honour.
After conquering the Wall, the climb becomes easier with stunning views of the crags and crevasses of jagged Kibo (the highest of Kilimanjaro’s three volcanic cones) appearing to the left. There is then a descent into the Karanga Valley and up the other side of the gorge to the overnight camp, where climbers are often rewarded with spectacular sunsets and, most importantly, a well-deserved overnight rest.