Kilimanjaro Diary: Day Five

1:34 PM

As soon as the sun rose above Kibo Peak, a stream of porters and climbers could be seen winding their way up the seemingly impossibly steep wall.

How I start my day; warm peppermint tea, a couple of biscuits and water in my water bladder

Breakfast is served!
That's the starting route for the day
What did Barranco Wall hold in store for us? Technically the most difficult section of the Machame Route, this morning’s scramble can be an intimidating obstacle for those who don’t like heights. The conversations from last night were all about it, the majority of the team had watched YouTube videos on the subject but I refused to watch any of the links they shared on the Kilimanjaro Whatsapp group prior to the climb because I wanted the element of surprise. I am the type of person who gets discouraged the moment I know what is really expected of me and the obstacles I need to cross to achieve something. It instantly demotivates me because I keep looking at them as barriers impossible to overcome. I work best once put in a situation that I must get myself out of and that’s the rule I have lived by so far.  

Scrambling about to start
With Sultan Al Jabri halfway up the Barranco Wall. Check out the view behind us
With Abdullah Al Jufaili in red & Faisal Al Abri in green
Towards Kibo
Up we go!

This climb broke the slight monotony of the pole pole structure of the past few days. Carefully placing hand and feet, we scaled the valley wall and passed kissing rock! It’s obvious from the name, you had to place your hands in a bear hug position, hug the rock and edge across a narrow ledge that had an impressive view down, that is if you are brave enough to look down. The view from the top was well worth the effort of the climb. From the flat ledge at the top you could see the banks of clouds spread below while Mount Meru emerged hazy amongst them and darkening to a deep mountain blue at the peak. Behind, you had Kibo and its Uhuru peak feel so close that I reached out my hand wanting to touch that magnificence.
With occasional mist comes the use of an extra fleece layer

Check out the view behind us; lovely!
Hands and feet fully used during Day 5
With the awesome Ali Al Abri

The worries and apprehension of the visually impressive Barranco Wall finally came to a halt while we were on the top and we realized that it was actually a very easy scramble and unless you freeze at the top of a steep flight of stairs, most of you have nothing to fear. Personally I loved scrambling, the noises and the action so the Barranco Wall was a highlight and made the definition of climbing a mountain real to me.

We made it to the top of Barranco Wall
Selfie time!
The southern ice fields; the Helm, Kersten and Decken glaciers, hang high above you on Kibo whilst the views out over the African plain were wonderful company. The sun sparkled bright bathing us in its warmth as we enjoyed a dry sunny trek to Karanga campsite standing at 4050m. This campsite on the Machame route was previously known as Karanga Valley Campsite, but has been moved away from the river due to environmental concerns.
Above the clouds
Misty tents
Hello home for today
Rise above the clouds, always aim higher
Mess tent and toilet view for the day
After four days of tough walking, it was great to arrive in camp for lunch with the sun still warm which triggered alarms in our heads and suddenly all of our tents ended up being a gimmick clothes line with all of our damp clothing spread out to dry. The afternoon quickly vanished in a haze of a leisurely lunch, which got improved by shisha (yup the guys were adamant to take shisha to the top and smoke it), general chitchat, pointless walks and a snooze till dinner time.
Our tents became our clothing line
The toilet obviously, front and centre, stealing the show from the fluffy clouds
Kibo right in front of us
Meru behind us rising in its colorful glory
A stunning sunset, over Meru as always, brought the day to a close and suddenly summit day seemed to be drawing very close. After dinner Edward as per usual would brief us on what to expect the next day but this time after the briefing he asked a question that was music to our ears. ‘Do you need anything from Arusha? We can have a porter deliver your stuff tomorrow before summit night’. A lot of us wished to have bought or brought things they didn’t and this was just the perfect opportunity to do so, and that’s when I pounced on the requirement of hand warmers, plenty of them which seemed strange to my team until I explained what they were where then more orders for hand warmers were placed. Edward is an awesome chief guide. He has a very calm and collected and in the same time funny personality. His nickname is left eye because of his lazy left eye and when we heard the story of how he got the lazy eye, his personality seemed to grow to one larger than life itself. On a normal day after a Kili hike with a European team, he was attacked by thieves who wanted to steal the money he just earned from the trip. He refused to give up the cash until an axe was brought onto his head splitting his skull where he was rendered unconscious but still managed to save the money from them. I salute this guy!

Once the order list was settled, water bladder filled with hot water, I bid farewell to the beautiful view of the city of Moshi in all its night lights glory bustling with life which you could see clearly from over Karanga camp and was off to a very cold sleeping bag but just like yesterday slept like a baby while cuddling my bladder.

Off we go to day 6 of our Kilimanjaro Survival Challenge; we have survived so far …

Special photo credits goes out to Faisal Al Abri, Mohamed Al Touqi and Sultan Al Jabri for some of the pictures shared in this entry.

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