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Day 3 The Climb 2/17

Updated: Dec 22, 2021

Night before:

Since I couldn’t sleep due to the jet lag, I went for a walk in the moonlight. It was awesome! I was the only one in camp awake at this hour. I have no idea what time I finally hit the pillow. I had some crazy dreams, like the night before. I was awake at six o’clock, and it was only thirty-five degrees out.



2/17

Machame to Shira Camp 9966 ’to 12, 590’


I’ll use this time to write about last night’s dinner etc. We “dined” at 6 PM with Leek soup and bread, fried chicken served with a huge portion of rice with cabbage and onion and a pot of hot vegetables in sauce. We though we died and gone to heaven! The rice was perfect and with some hot sauce (like Frank’s) it was quiet enough. The meal finished with fresh papaya. This isn’t anything like our camping meals in the Adirondacks.


After dinner the clouds are starting to drop down and we get some great views of Meru to the west below us. Bill and I experiment with our digital cameras and I give him a lesson on manual settings on the camera to get a desired effect. Awesome!!!!


8:30 PM it’s time to hit the tents….. Well, it’s dark out. What else is there to do?

I guess I can switch on my headlamp and try to read. We are still jet lagged. Sleep was easy early in the night. Reading was a bust. I woke at 10:30 cold and oh, oh, have to poop again. It’s too far to the outhouse and I already scoped out an area of bushes close to the tent. What a fantastic clear night and cold too. I put my tights on and an extra top layer which was just the ticket.

AM


Typical of most nights I woke again, this time about 5 AM to pee. Inside the tent it was 40 F and the sleeping bag is wet on the outside. Last nights dreams were crazy again. The temps outside were in low 20’s . I can hear Bill snoring in the other tent and our African team talking and laughing. I’m so impressed by how happy and jovial these guys are among themselves. I know I’ll have to get out of the bag again soon with the morning routine, (pee, brush, morning meds).


6 AM the birds start singing signifying my exit from the tent to enjoy the morning. (really!) I’m a morning guy….. It’s the best time of the day for me. I love it.


The question for the day is what to wear. I already know that when the sun comes up it will warm nicely. Somehow, I lost my good Brooks Running cap. Big bummer, but I have many back up’s. OK, back from pee #2 and it is so beautiful looking out the tent where I get another good view of Mt. Meru. I know that I’ll get some good photos of Kili and Meru in the sunrise. Bill and I each have shot over 200 already.


It’s very frosty (20’s) and we all start to get our stuff organized and dried out a bit as the sun comes out. We want to get an early start out of camp before 7:30 Am. Yesterday we were the first out of camp and Mohamed caught us on the trail before lunch


The ravens have arrived squawking for breakfast. These are funny birds, big and fearless and seem to take over the camp. I enjoy this night of luxury of having the tent to myself so I can spread out a bit and re-organize. I have one more pair of trail pants (zip off legs) that I’ll wear today as it has already started to warm up a bit.

It’s starting to warm already as breakfast is prepared. The full sun is marvelous. We enjoy another great breakfast and added this morning to our porridge is a packet of Instant Oatmeal and a handful of gorp…. Awesome!


We pack up and are the first out of camp again by 8:30 AM. Just us three! Mohamed said he would catch up with us. “Pole, Pole, smell the Rosies”.


The trails are well marked so we don’t have any fear of going off trail. Today we will head along a ridge towards Kili to Lava Tower and maybe a climb depending on whether it’s icy or not. Bill takes us off trail before someone yells at us telling us we went the wrong way. “Bill, you’re fired!”



As we climbed easily, many porters were flying by us with huge loads on their heads and the huge landscape looking like the moon with incredible rock formations with hardly any vegetation. Also passing us were other climbing parties including the German girls. Later we all stopped together for lunch at the Lava Tower and Barranco Trail split at 14,757’ GPS at @ 11:30. The sun was still out but the clouds were rolling in again making a surreal setting.



At this juncture we were headed to a side trip to what is know as Lava Tower, which makes our trip 1 hr longer but gives us an opportunity to do some hand over hand climbing without ropes up a huge outcropping of dome rock and a close up view of Kili near the Western Breach, where some climbers were killed just a month earlier.


This is an incredible tall rock which juts out of nowhere into the sky. It is an campsite and a popular stop off on the route. We look up as we approach and see these little colorful dots (parkas) of climbers ahead of us it gets Bill and my climbing juices flowing. I didn’t realize Craig has some climbing fears until we are headed up the rock face.


We got to the base and there is the 20’ wall face looking towards Kili and this German guy is bouldering along with Kili looming in the background. An awesome view. Picture time!


The three of us drop our packs at the base and Mohamed 1 & 2 lead us to the top. For Bill and I it was a non technical climb and there were many good hand and foot holds with lots of crevasse grips. The tower reached 200’ and was clouded in so out views weren’t’ that great. GPS told me 15,200’. We were elated for this mini adventure.



After our climb, we headed back to our next stop which was Barranco Camp. The terrain was changing again because we were descending again. Up is easier on my legs than down. Coming down the terrain is again getting rocky, not steep but difficult. I was tired

and starting to get a headache which didn’t help. The Giant Lobelia were abundant and the camp had some Protea flowers and giant Groundsels which I will check out in detail tomorrow.


We arrived in camp at 3:10 tired and sore. I’m not sure if it’s the elevation, lack of sleep, climbing for three days or a combination of all.

Breakfast was our normal fare of bread, cheese, porridge, coffee, pb & j, eggs and sausage. @ 8:10 we broke camp and were the first up the trail from camp. The climb from camp was steep and strenuous because of elevation and sleep deprivation. What was really neat was the many changes in flora. We had some good views of Mt Meru before the clouds rolled in and the temps dropped for lunch at 11:00. I felt good at this point and the GPS gave me 12,254’. More layers for the cold.


I wasn’t that hungry for lunch but I know I must keep putting in the fuel. We left camp at 11:30 and again met with some steep climbs, some hand over hand with lots of rocks and awesome views and changes of vegetation with caves and volcanic debris with obsidian rock leading up to the Shira Plateau where our next campsite is.




We arrived at camp site in the clouds around 1 PM with the terrain looking much like a moonscape. Our tents were already up and ready for us. Craig and Bill share and I’m solo.




Juma, our asst. cook brings us each a pan of hot water to clean up with and I “finally” do a good wash job and actually change underwear (maybe not what you want to visualize, but telling it like it is). Afterwards we get called to the food (army lingo…mess tent) tent with a table and stools where we ate cookies and popcorn with tea or hot chocolate and I’m catching up on my journal entries. GPS says 12,590’. Somehow, I think this must be a bit higher, climbing only 300’ since lunch, I don’t think so. Thus entered! The camp tents are scattered all over and our cooks are preparing our dinner early. I just walk around scoping the place out and fixate on these huge birds hanging around. They are called white necked ravens and seem to be everywhere looking for handouts or scraps.



My body wants to sleep as I keep up journal entries and hang about camp. I know it’s not a good plan to nap and then expect to get a good night’s sleep, so I walk around and take pictures and chase the nasty birds around. The rains come quickly and only sprinkles as it clears. This weather pattern is consistent with our entire climbing experience. Something we can count on and I’m sure the guides know this well. This is why we climb early in the day and camp early afternoon.





I’ll use this time to write about last night’s dinner etc. We “dined” at 6 PM with Leek soup and bread, fried chicken served with a huge portion of rice with cabbage and onion and a pot of hot vegetables in sauce. We though we died and gone to heaven! The rice was perfect and with some hot sauce (like Frank’s) it was quiet enough. The meal finished with fresh papaya. This isn’t anything like our camping meals in the Adirondacks.


After dinner the clouds are starting to drop down and we get some great views of Meru to the west below us. Bill and I experiment with our digital cameras, and I give him a lesson on manual settings on the camera to get a desired effect. Awesome!!!!


8:30 PM it’s time to hit the tents….. Well, it’s dark out. What else is there to do?

I guess I can switch on my headlamp and try to read. We are still jet lagged. Sleep was easy early in the night. Reading was a bust. I woke at 10:30 cold and oh, oh, have to poop again. What a fantastic clear night and cold too. I put my tights on and an extra top layer which was just the ticket.

AM


Typical of most nights I woke again, this time about 5 AM to pee. Inside the tent it was 40 F and the sleeping bag is wet on the outside. Last nights dreams were crazy again. The temps outside were in low 20’s . I can hear Bill snoring in the other tent and our African team talking and laughing. I’m so impressed by how happy and jovial these guys are among themselves. I know I’ll have to get out of the bag again soon with the morning routine, (pee, brush, morning meds).


6 AM the birds start singing signifying my exit from the tent to enjoy the morning. (really!) I’m a morning guy….. It’s the best time of the day for me. I love it.


The question for the day is what to wear. I already know that when the sun comes up it will warm nicely. Somehow, I lost my good Brooks Running cap. ( note, I didn't lose it, but stowed it back at the hotel) Big bummer, but I have many back up’s. OK, back from pee #2 and it is so beautiful looking out the tent where I get another good view of Mt. Meru. I know that I’ll get some good photos of Kili and Meru in the sunrise. Bill and I each have shot over 200 already.


It’s very frosty (20’s) and we all start to get our stuff organized and dried out a bit as the sun comes out. We want to get an early start out of camp before 7:30 Am. Yesterday we were the first out of camp and Mohamed caught us on the trail before lunch



I’ll use this time to write about last night’s dinner etc. We “dined” at 6 PM with Leek soup and bread, fried chicken served with a huge portion of rice with cabbage and onion and a pot of hot vegetables in sauce. We though we died and gone to heaven! The rice was perfect and with some hot sauce (like Frank’s) it was quiet enough. The meal finished with fresh papaya. This isn’t anything like our camping meals in the Adirondacks.


After dinner the clouds are starting to drop down and we get some great views of Meru to the west below us. Bill and I experiment with our digital cameras and I give him a lesson on manual settings on the camera to get a desired effect. Awesome!!!!


8:30 PM it’s time to hit the tents….. Well, it’s dark out. What else is there to do?

I guess I can switch on my headlamp and try to read. We are still jet lagged. Sleep was easy early in the night. Reading was a bust. I woke at 10:30 cold and oh, oh, have to poop again. It’s too far to the outhouse and I already scoped out an area of bushes close to the tent. What a fantastic clear night and cold too. I put my tights on and an extra top layer which was just the ticket.

Typical of most nights I woke again, this time about 5 AM to pee. Inside the tent it was 40 F and the sleeping bag is wet on the outside. Last nights dreams were crazy again. The temps outside were in low 20’s . I can hear Bill snoring in the other tent and our African team talking and laughing. I’m so impressed by how happy and jovial these guys are among themselves. I know I’ll have to get out of the bag again soon with the morning routine, (pee, brush, morning meds).


6 AM the birds start singing signifying my exit from the tent to enjoy the morning. (really!) I’m a morning guy….. It’s the best time of the day for me. I love it.


The question for the day is what to wear. I already know that when the sun comes up it will warm nicely. Somehow, I lost my good Brooks Running cap. Big bummer, but I have many back up’s. OK, back from pee #2 and it is so beautiful looking out the tent where I get another good view of Mt. Meru. I know that I’ll get some good photos of Kili and Meru in the sunrise. Bill and I each have shot over 200 already.


It’s very frosty (20’s) and we all start to get our stuff organized and dried out a bit as the sun comes out. We want to get an early start out of camp before 7:30 Am. Yesterday we were the first out of camp and Mohamed caught us on the trail before lunch


The ravens have arrived squawking for breakfast. These are funny birds, big and fearless and seem to take over the camp. I enjoy this night of luxury of having the tent to myself so I can spread out a bit and re-organize. I have one more pair of trail pants (zip off legs) that I’ll wear today as it has already started to warm up a bit.

It’s starting to warm already as breakfast is prepared. The full sun is marvelous. We enjoy another great breakfast and added this morning to our porridge is a packet of Instant Oatmeal and a handful of gorp…. Awesome!


We pack up and are the first out of camp again by 8:30 AM. Just us three! Mohamed said he would catch up with us. “Pole, Pole, smell the Rosies”.


The trails are well marked so we don’t have any fear of going off trail. Today we will head along a ridge towards Kili to Lava Tower and maybe a climb depending on whether it’s icy or not. Bill takes us off trail before someone yells at us telling us we went the wrong way. “Bill, you’re fired!”



As we climbed easily, many porters were flying by us with huge loads on their heads and the huge landscape looking like the moon with incredible rock formations with hardly any vegetation. Also passing us were other climbing parties including the German girls. Later we all stopped together for lunch at the Lava Tower and Barranco Trail split at 14,757’ GPS at @ 11:30. The sun was still out but the clouds were rolling in again making a surreal setting.




At this juncture we were headed to a side trip to what is know as Lava Tower, which makes our trip 1 hr longer but gives us an opportunity to do some hand over hand climbing without ropes up a huge outcropping of dome rock and a close up view of Kili near the Western Breach, where some climbers were killed just a month earlier.



This is an incredible tall rock which juts out of nowhere into the sky. It is an campsite and a popular stop off on the route. We look up as we approach and see these little colorful dots (parkas) of climbers ahead of us it gets Bill and my climbing juices flowing. I didn’t realize Craig has some climbing fears until we are headed up the rock face.


We got to the base and there is the 20’ wall face looking towards Kili and this German guy is bouldering along with Kili looming in the background. An awesome view. Picture time!




The three of us drop our packs at the base and Mohamed 1 & 2 lead us to the top. For Bill and I it was a non technical climb and there were many good hand and foot holds with lots of crevasse grips. The tower reached 200’ and was clouded in so out views weren’t’ that great. GPS told me 15,200’. We were elated for this mini adventure.



After our climb, we headed back to our next stop which was Barranco Camp. The terrain was changing again because we were descending again. Up is easier on my legs than down. Coming down the terrain is again getting rocky, not steep but difficult. I was tired

and starting to get a headache which didn’t help. The Giant Lobelia were abundant, and the camp had some Protea flowers and giant Groundsels which I will check out in detail tomorrow.


We arrived in camp at 3:10 tired and sore. I’m not sure if it’s the elevation, lack of sleep, climbing for three days or a combination of all.

The ravens have arrived squawking for breakfast. These are funny birds, big and fearless and seem to take over the camp. I enjoy this night of luxury of having the tent to myself so I can spread out a bit and re-organize. I have one more pair of trail pants (zip off legs) that I’ll wear today as it has already started to warm up a bit.

It’s starting to warm already as breakfast is prepared. The full sun is marvelous. We enjoy another great breakfast and added this morning to our porridge is a packet of Instant Oatmeal and a handful of gorp…. Awesome!


We pack up and are the first out of camp again by 8:30 AM. Just us three! Mohamed said he would catch up with us. “Pole, Pole, smell the Rosies”.


The trails are well marked so we don’t have any fear of going off trail. Today we will head along a ridge towards Kili to Lava Tower and maybe a climb depending on whether it’s icy or not. Bill takes us off trail before someone yells at us telling us we went the wrong way. “Bill, you’re fired!”



As we climbed easily, many porters were flying by us with huge loads on their heads and the huge landscape looking like the moon with incredible rock formations with hardly any vegetation. Also passing us were other climbing parties including the German girls. Later we all stopped together for lunch at the Lava Tower and Barranco Trail split at 14,757’ GPS at @ 11:30. The sun was still out but the clouds were rolling in again making a surreal setting.



At this juncture we were headed to a side trip to what is know as Lava Tower, which makes our trip 1 hr longer but gives us an opportunity to do some hand over hand climbing without ropes up a huge outcropping of dome rock and a close up view of Kili near the Western Breach, where some climbers were killed just a month earlier.


This is an incredible tall rock which juts out of nowhere into the sky. It is an campsite and a popular stop off on the route. We look up as we approach and see these little colorful dots (parkas) of climbers ahead of us it gets Bill and my climbing juices flowing. I didn’t realize Craig has some climbing fears until we are headed up the rock face.


We got to the base and there is the 20’ wall face looking towards Kili and this German guy is bouldering along with Kili looming in the background. An awesome view. Picture time!


The three of us drop our packs at the base and Mohamed 1 & 2 lead us to the top. For Bill and I it was a non technical climb and there were many good hand and foot holds with lots of crevasse grips. The tower reached 200’ and was clouded in so out views weren’t’ that great. GPS told me 15,200’. We were elated for this mini adventure.



After our climb, we headed back to our next stop which was Barranco Camp. The terrain was changing again because we were descending again. Up is easier on my legs than down. Coming down the terrain is again getting rocky, not steep but difficult. I was tired

and starting to get a headache which didn’t help. The Giant Lobelia were abundant, and the camp had some Protea flowers and giant Groundsels which I will check out in detail tomorrow.


We arrived in camp at 3:10 tired and sore. I’m not sure if it’s the elevation, lack of sleep, climbing for three days or a combination of all.

I’ll use this time to write about last night’s dinner etc. We “dined” at 6 PM with Leek soup and bread, fried chicken served with a huge portion of rice with cabbage and onion and a pot of hot vegetables in sauce. We though we died and gone to heaven! The rice was perfect and with some hot sauce (like Frank’s) it was quiet enough. The meal finished with fresh papaya. This isn’t anything like our camping meals in the Adirondacks.


After dinner the clouds are starting to drop down and we get some great views of Meru to the west below us. Bill and I experiment with our digital cameras and I give him a lesson on manual settings on the camera to get a desired effect. Awesome!!!!


8:30 PM it’s time to hit the tents….. Well, it’s dark out. What else is there to do?

I guess I can switch on my headlamp and try to read. We are still jet lagged. Sleep was easy early in the night. Reading was a bust. I woke at 10:30 cold and oh, oh, have to poop again. It’s too far to the outhouse and I already scoped out an area of bushes close to the tent. What a fantastic clear night and cold too. I put my tights on and an extra top layer which was just the ticket.

AM


Typical of most nights I woke again, this time about 5 AM to pee. Inside the tent it was 40 F and the sleeping bag is wet on the outside. Last nights dreams were crazy again. The temps outside were in low 20’s . I can hear Bill snoring in the other tent and our African team talking and laughing. I’m so impressed by how happy and jovial these guys are among themselves. I know I’ll have to get out of the bag again soon with the morning routine, (pee, brush, morning meds).


6 AM the birds start singing signifying my exit from the tent to enjoy the morning. (really!) I’m a morning guy….. It’s the best time of the day for me. I love it.


The question for the day is what to wear. I already know that when the sun comes up it will warm nicely. Somehow, I lost my good Brooks Running cap. Big bummer, but I have many back up’s. OK, back from pee #2 and it is so beautiful looking out the tent where I get another good view of Mt. Meru. I know that I’ll get some good photos of Kili and Meru in the sunrise. Bill and I each have shot over 200 already.


It’s very frosty (20’s) and we all start to get our stuff organized and dried out a bit as the sun comes out. We want to get an early start out of camp before 7:30 Am. Yesterday we were the first out of camp and Mohamed caught us on the trail before lunch


As usual on long hikes like AT trail hike or PCT hike you see and meet many people from all over the country and in our case world, who have the same goal destination. Here are two young German ladies we met several times before our summit who we saw often and became quick friends with.


The ravens have arrived squawking for breakfast. These are funny birds, big and fearless and seem to take over the camp. I enjoy this night of luxury of having the tent to myself so I can spread out a bit and re-organize. I have one more pair of trail pants (zip off legs) that I’ll wear today as it has already started to warm up a bit.

It’s starting to warm already as breakfast is prepared. The full sun is marvelous. We enjoy another great breakfast and added this morning to our porridge is a packet of Instant Oatmeal and a handful of gorp…. Awesome!


We pack up and are the first out of camp again by 8:30 AM. Just us three! Mohamed said he would catch up with us. “Pole, Pole, smell the Rosies”.


The trails are well marked so we don’t have any fear of going off trail. Today we will head along a ridge towards Kili to Lava Tower and maybe a climb depending on whether it’s icy or not. Bill takes us off trail before someone yells at us telling us we went the wrong way. “Bill, you’re fired!”





As we climbed easily, many porters were flying by us with huge loads on their heads and the huge landscape looking like the moon with incredible rock formations with hardly any vegetation. Also passing us were other climbing parties including the German girls. Later we all stopped together for lunch at the Lava Tower and Barranco Trail split at 14,757’ GPS at @ 11:30. The sun was still out but the clouds were rolling in again making a surreal setting.




At this juncture we were headed to a side trip to what is know as Lava Tower, which makes our trip 1 hr longer but gives us an opportunity to do some hand over hand climbing without ropes up a huge outcropping of dome rock and a close up view of Kili near the Western Breach, where some climbers were killed just a month earlier.


This is an incredible tall rock which juts out of nowhere into the sky. It is an campsite and a popular stop off on the route. We look up as we approach and see these little colorful dots (parkas) of climbers ahead of us it gets Bill and my climbing juices flowing. I didn’t realize Craig has some climbing fears until we are headed up the rock face.




We got to the base and there is the 20’ wall face looking towards Kili and this German guy is bouldering along with Kili looming in the background. An awesome view. Picture time!



The three of us drop our packs at the base and Mohamed 1 & 2 lead us to the top. For Bill and I it was a non technical climb and there were many good hand and foot holds with lots of crevasse grips. The tower reached 200’ and was clouded in so out views weren’t’ that great. GPS told me 15,200’. We were elated for this mini adventure.



After our climb, we headed back to our next stop which was Barranco Camp. The terrain was changing again because we were descending again. Up is easier on my legs than down. Coming down the terrain is again getting rocky, not steep but difficult. I was tired

and starting to get a headache which didn’t help. The Giant Lobelia were abundant and the camp had some Protea flowers and giant Groundsels which I will check out in detail tomorrow.


We arrived in camp at 3:10 tired and sore. I’m not sure if it’s the elevation, lack of sleep, climbing for three days or a combination of all.

The ravens have arrived squawking for breakfast. These are funny birds, big and fearless and seem to take over the camp. I enjoy this night of luxury of having the tent to myself so I can spread out a bit and re-organize. I have one more pair of trail pants (zip off legs) that I’ll wear today as it has already started to warm up a bit.

It’s starting to warm already as breakfast is prepared. The full sun is marvelous. We enjoy another great breakfast and added this morning to our porridge is a packet of Instant Oatmeal and a handful of gorp…. Awesome!


We pack up and are the first out of camp again by 8:30 AM. Just us three! Mohamed said he would catch up with us. “Pole, Pole, smell the Rosies”.


The trails are well marked so we don’t have any fear of going off trail. Today we will head along a ridge towards Kili to Lava Tower and maybe a climb depending on whether it’s icy or not. Bill takes us off trail before someone yells at us telling us we went the wrong way. “Bill, you’re fired!”



As we climbed easily, many porters were flying by us with huge loads on their heads and the huge landscape looking like the moon with incredible rock formations with hardly any vegetation. Also passing us were other climbing parties including the German girls. Later we all stopped together for lunch at the Lava Tower and Barranco Trail split at 14,757’ GPS at @ 11:30. The sun was still out but the clouds were rolling in again making a surreal setting.



At this juncture we were headed to a side trip to what is known as Lava Tower, which makes our trip 1 hr longer but gives us an opportunity to do some hand over hand climbing without ropes up a huge outcropping of dome rock and a close-up view of Kili near the Western Breach, where some climbers were killed just a month earlier.


This is an incredible tall rock which juts out of nowhere into the sky. It is an campsite and a popular stop off on the route. We look up as we approach and see these little colorful dots (parkas) of climbers ahead of us it gets Bill and my climbing juices flowing. I didn’t realize Craig has some climbing fears until we are headed up the rock face.


We got to the base and there is the 20’ wall face looking towards Kili and this German guy is bouldering along with Kili looming in the background. An awesome view. Picture time!



The three of us drop our packs at the base and Mohamed 1 & 2 lead us to the top. For Bill and I it was a non technical climb and there were many good hand and foot holds with lots of crevasse grips. The tower reached 200’ and was clouded in so out views weren’t’ that great. GPS told me 15,200’. We were elated for this mini adventure.




After our climb, we headed back to our next stop which was Barranco Camp. The terrain was changing again because we were descending again. Up is easier on my legs than down. Coming down the terrain is again getting rocky, not steep but difficult. I was tired

and starting to get a headache which didn’t help. The Giant Lobelia were abundant and the camp had some Protea flowers and giant Groundsels which I will check out in detail tomorrow.



We arrived in camp at 3:10 tired and sore. I’m not sure if it’s the elevation, lack of sleep, climbing for three days or a combination of all.


Whew, that was a lot packed into one day, and this was only the beginning.

On to our next camp, at higher elevation.

.




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