Barranco Wall is now behind me and I am resting once more at Karanga Camp. If you had a chance to read my pre-climb writing about Barranco Wall…well it was everything others had described and more! It was frightening especially creeping along a small rock ledge, your back to the “wall” trying not to look down. The only issue is that you have a pack on your back which pushes you out even further over the ledge, and all there is to rely on is a porter with his hand on your knapsack straps. Having short legs in addition to not being very tall doesn’t help either, as it seems all the handhold crevices were just out of reach. It was even harder than I had anticipated. One of our team members fell today, but only a minor injury along with one of the porters as well, so it reminds us of the earlier lecture from the Team Leader: Kilimanjaro is serious business.
Overall, I’m well. I still have a constant headache but managing to just live with it. I’m dealing with the altitude issues much better than I had when I trekked to Everest Base Camp. On that expedition, I had become very sick at a much lower altitude than we are now at 13,200 feet. The team I’m with are all Americans, and they’re are great and doing well too: they’re a very family-oriented group of uncles and brothers, fathers and sons and one gal in her twenties that is a niece. And then there’s me, the lone Canadian. As we discussed yesterday, communication has been terribly difficult with my iphone through my Canadian provider. Today, I managed to call my husband borrowing one of the US team member’s phone to a landline phone in BC and had no issue, then tried to shrink the last few days, the many sights and experiences into a single call.
Tomorrow, we do another 1000 foot climb from Karanga Camp and then return here to acclimatize our bodies for the summit. We summit Monday in Tanzania but that will actually be Sunday for you at home. Jim has passed on all your words of encouragement and believe me, they all help. This is a much tougher experience than I anticipated but I feel I am keeping up and belong on this team. One of the team members, a cardiologist, is also a very keen amateur photographer. As I experienced with the Everest trek, you are so fatigued during the daily climb to even consider bringing out the camera, or in this case with Kilimanjaro often afraid to let go! So to give us all a digital memory this life experience, one of our guides has his very expensive camera that does almost everything automatically and is snapping pictures of the whole team throughout each day. The pictures are stunning and we will all get a copy on our return home!
Once again, I cannot say enough about the professionalism of Tusker. We all see it when we camp out alongside other outfitters where trails often converge. They are truly providing an experience of a lifetime. I am sure I will be able to avail myself of the generosity of my American team member and update you once again before the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Bye for now from the mountain. R