When a lifelong dream becomes a reality, I believe that one of the best ways to preserve those precious memories is to put the experience down in words. A diary, a notepad, or in this case, a blog, are great tools for remembering, sharing and reliving those highs and lows that come with an extreme adventure, and as we share our Kilimanjaro Climb story over the coming days, we hope it encourages you to share your own.
Day 6 – Barafu Camp
Our night on Karanga Camp involved the usual tossing and turning, but by the time morning arrived, we were up and eager to head off to our final base camp before the summit attempt – Barafu Camp.
Of course, Kelvin wouldn’t let us leave without a hearty breakfast, and while my appetite had waned somewhat (another sign of altitude, I’m told), I managed to eat some peanut butter on toast and fresh fruit, while Ingo and Mathew tucked into fried eggs, bacon, toast, and millet.
Today’s trek was to take around four to five hours, and while steep, it was nothing too strenuous, and the stunning views of both Mawenzi and Kibo Peaks made it all the more enjoyable. Barafu Camp perches precariously on the mountain edge at 15,200ft or 4,600 metres, and while we found the hike relatively easy, we both arrived with the pulsating headache that we have dreaded since booking the trip.
The headaches caused by altitude sickness are, what I could only describe as a dreadful and sever migraine. So strong is the pulsating that your eyes begin to ‘flash’, lights appear from nowhere, and you begin to feel dizzy and nauseous.
However, help was at hand – in the form of a good old Ibuprofen, and when combined with a litre of water and a short nap in the tent, we both felt much better – and ready for lunch! Kelvin treated us to a delicious carrot and ginger soup (ginger is supposed to increase the appetite when climbing at altitude), and a delicious beef and pasta dish followed by fruit.
Mathew offered us the opportunity to climb up a further 200 metres after lunch to help with acclimatization, but we both felt that an afternoon in the tent would be more beneficial, as we were to depart on our summit attempt at midnight.
Surprisingly (and luckily), we slept all afternoon, waking just in time for another meal! Dinner was served at 6.30pm, and included another fresh vegetable soup, rice, a vegetable dish with beans, and savoury pancakes. After chatting through the procedure for our summit attempt, we returned to our tent, and slept yet again until Mathew awakened us as 11pm.
We were in great spirits when we woke, and after dressing in just about every layer we had, we emerged from the tent ready for our Kilimanjaro summit attempt… Years of dreaming and months of planning all come down to this one night – here we go….