Our Climb Crew
Karanga Camp to Barufu Camp 13,260’ to 15,325’
I was up and out of the tent by 6:30 AM to get some awesome shots of Kili and Meru. After our usual breakfast, the sun comes out to warm us. I snap a picture of our entire support team with Mt. Meru in the background
Off to our right I see a bit of commotion as many campers are gathered around the lone Swiss woman who has a support crew of 16. All of a sudden we see this full size ironing board which appears to be set up with an iron on it. We were all scratching our heads wondering what that was all about. Apparently, it is what is known in Europe as “Extreme Ironing”. Pictures were taken (including us, who would believe someone would iron at
15,000’) and I’m sure it will make some TV station somewhere in the world. Yes it was for real. Some years later I saw a Extreme Ironing calendar.
We break camp a little later than usual (8:55) and soon catch up to two Germans and a Dutch couple we have met before. They will join us as we “pole, pole” (remember? slowly, slowly) to Barufu Camp 2,000 ft higher. It was an easy climb with Kili looming to the left. We had pleasant conversation keeping an easy pace. I had felt strong today, not out of breath, Bill was chatting and singing. I felt that Craig was struggling a bit. We taught them our Kili song (Bill and I composed to “Row, row, row your boat) Really cheesy but fun. I won’t torture you with the words.
We climb up a short rocky face to a very interesting campsite. Large rocks all over in a very exposed location on top of this short peak. The tents were tucked in behind the rocks as much as possible to get them out of the wind. (it was blowing good!) The sun seemed very high and direct. I got the solo tent tonight, for which I was grateful. I can reorganize my gear for tonight’s ascent. Sitting here writing I see these little dark chip monk like rodents scurrying about, probably looking for scraps. Up in the sky we see this huge eagle like bird soaring around in circles. We identify it as a Verreaux’s Eagle being pestered by two ravens.
Dinner was early and I really didn’t have an appetite for Carrot soup and spaghetti with a white vegetable sauce. It started during dinner. Snow! Hence the name Barufu (ice or snow). Temps were falling and the wind picks up again. I knew that if I could hold down dinner it will help to fuel the engine of later tonight. I went light on the sauce and had hot milk and sugar to settle everything down. It worked. I’m wondering how much sleep I’ll get for a very long hard day and wished we were headed up the mountain now. If the snow/blow lifts like it usually does at night we will have some moon light to light our path. The nights are usually calm and as the sun warms, the day the wind and clouds increase.
I’m sure that is why we break for the summit during the wee hr. of morning. Ok. “Bring it on! Let the adventure begin
Lunch was a bit different today served at 12:30. We had this fried bread with some kind of stuffing. It tasted good but the fried food absolutely blasted by stomach. I’m sure that the acids in the fruit we had for desert didn’t help. About 3 PM my stomach was really queasy so I took two pepto tabs, about ½ hr later it all came up and out, as I ran off to hide between some boulders. One of the other guides must have seen me and probably though I was altitude sick. Within several minutes Mohamed tracked me down and wanted to know what was going on. I’m sure he was thinking I was altitude sick, but I explained to him the issue with fried foods and assured him I was OK. Which I was!
Hopping into the tent after lunch to rest was weird. When the sun came out of the clouds, the tent was like a sauna, when it went under, it was cold and windy.
It weighed heavy on us that we were now higher than we had ever been before in our lives and still had another 4,000’ to the summit, not to mention that we faced a 15 hr. hike tour next bed. Next, chapter, The summit