Day 4 — Jan 27, 2015
We woke up on day 4 of our Kilimanjaro trek to quite a bit of ice on our tent this morning, definitely a cold night. But we have clear skies and bright sun.
After breakfast we tackled Barranco Wall, the wall that had been ominously staring at us all evening. It ended up being really fun! Rick and I agree it was our favorite part of the hike. It was more of a rock climb than a hike really, as we scaled the volcanic rock wall. At the top we took a quick break to acclimatize to the 1,000+ feet we had just ascended, and got to take some awesome pictures with the peak in the background.
From there it was a lot of ups and downs through canyons and ridges, as we made to our lunch spot at 12,900 ft. The landscape started to get really sparse, even more that before with just gravel and perfectly round stones from softball to tire sized.
After lunch we had 3 hours of hiking to make it up to base camp. The morning hiking wasn’t bad at all… But in the afternoon part of the hike I started to feel the altitude, lack of oxygen and fatigue a bit. We dipped down pretty far into a valley, so the last hour and a half push was straight up the steep mountain side. But when we made it to base camp we got a fabulous view of the summit, especially at sunset, we felt well rewarded.
Base camp, called Barafu Camp, is over 15,300 feet. With only 3 days of acclimatization under our belt we could definitely feel the lack of oxygen when we moved around. The 400 ft walk to the outhouse from our tent was was quite an undertaking — the outhouse was far town a steep, scree covered hill — I’m embarrassed to admit the return uphill trip may have required a breather break midway for me!
We will leave at midnight tonight to start the summit!!! CRAZY!! So we ate dinner as soon as we arrived into camp just about and were told to go to sleep at 6:00 while it was still light out. We knew we were in for a cold night, plus getting up at midnight to start the summit would be tough, so we got everything ready and slept in the base layers of clothing we would hike in the next day.