12 Days of Kili – Day 9: Barafu

January 5, 2014: Barafu
14,950-ft/4,556-m
3-4 hours 

Barafu Camp

The view from Tusker’s site at Barafu Camp. (Note: The toilet hut on the left.)
Photo credit: J. Creore from “A Life of Adventure” (http://jcreore.wordpress.com/)

This will be our last day of climbing before tomorrow’s ascent to the highest peak of Kilimanjaro known as Kibo. I’m sure there will be much nervousness and also close assessment of how everyone is faring. It seems that most climbers have good days and bad days, but eventually they rally and find the will and inner strength to keep moving forward. As recounted in yesterday’s blog, sometimes while discovering what we are truly capable of, we even surprise ourselves.

Barafu means “ice” in Swahili and true to its name, this camp is particularly exposed to wind, cold and ice given the altitude. Very little vegetation exists apart from hardy lichens and oddly the occasional flower, standing out among the barren land. From what I can tell, the trek to Barafu camp (sometimes referred to as either Base Camp or High Camp) is not very difficult apart from the fact there is no respite from the upward grade and, of course, the thinning air.  Even now, though, I am acutely aware of the significance of the next day’s feat. I am excited to get to the next stage after so much preparation and planning and training over the past year.  It is simply so hard to believe it is so close now.  Onward and upward…

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