We got up a bit later this morning. . . according to the guide, it was better to start a bit later because it can be a bit cold here before the sun comes up. We all felt better this morning compared to the state we were in yesterday afternoon/evening. I guess the body is getting a bit used to the altitude and maybe the Diamox pills have an effect.
After breakfast, we got ready to face the Barranco wall and we started walking at about 9am. I was wearing my Fjällräven trousers once again and I had the thin super underwear top under my Gore-Tex jacket. The climb up the wall was not as bad as expected. As we were coming down the campsite the day before, we looked at the path up the wall and thought that it would be a hard day. But once again, we took our time and after about an hour, we reached the top. The wall is steep at places and from time to time, you have to use your hands to haul yourself up. But I walked most of the way up to the top with my walking poles.
At noon, we reached Karanga Valley and our mess tent was erected here. I guess this is used as a campsite from time to time because there were a few toilets here. We were the only group there at that moment and we enjoyed a hot lunch in the mess tent. We got a pretty good meal here consisting of soup, an omelette with fries, etc. According to the Kilimanjaro book, Karanga Valley is the last place on this route where water can be found, so the porters had to carry water from here to our next campsite at Barafu.
The path out of Karanga valley is a bit steep, but we were still in pretty good condition. Once we reached the top, we turned north and headed for the Barafu campsite. It took us quite some time to reach this campsite by the way. And it was a quite miserable because it was getting windy; we had no view due to all the clouds that came in and I was getting a bit cold. But at about 5pm, we reached the campsite and the first thing we saw was a toilet. It was still quite cloudy, so we didn’t have a view to the mountain itself or the route that we would be taking the same night.
The Barafu campsite at about 4600m is a strange place. . . it is situated on a hillside and the campsite is filled with rocks. I’m quite surprised that they were able to find places to erect our tents. At 4600m, we started to feel the effect of the thin air. It became a little mission just to go to the toilet because it was located a few meters higher than the tents. I was sitting in the mess tent and I measured my resting pulse and it was 105. When I’m at sea level, it is about 60!! I felt cold even in the mess tent and it was nice to have a warm meal again and some warm drinks. Our guide Nelson told us that we would get a light meal this evening, but it looked pretty standard to me.
After dinner, we started preparing for the BIG thing!! I got into my wool underwear, long woollen socks, changed the batteries of the headlamp, mixed XL-1 into two litres of water in my Platypus to get some energy on the way to the top, put my sunglasses and sun cream in the pocket of my jacket, and so on. At about 7pm, we were ready to get some rest and sleep because at 11pm, we would get a wake-up call. It was quite windy when we went into our sleeping bags. I don’t think I slept at all during these hours because I was excited.