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Lemosho Route: Day 5

September 1, 2010

Day 5: Barranco Hut to Barafu Camp
Estimated Hike time: 7 hrs
Estimated distance: 8km
Elevation changes: +650 m
Final elevation: 4600 m

The first challenge of the day was climbing Barranco Wall – a 950 ft. barrier of volcanic rock. The weather was cloudy in the morning and I was grateful for it meant that it would be difficult to see down while climbing the wall. The plan was to look at my feet until we were at the very top. To my surprise, although the wall is tall and looks steep, it is very easy to climb and quite enjoyable. The ascent was easy-going as a result of the delicate nature. You don’t want to go too fast and miscalculate. I was extremely impressed at the porters. Not only were they carrying a large and awkward load, now they were bringing it up a huge near vertical wall.

Once we reached the ‘top’ of Barranco wall we were welcomed by a series of hills. This seems to be the theme of the climb. Once you think you’ve reached a milestone, the top of a large hill, there is always another larger hill hiding from view. I realize that I am climbing a mountain but where are all the plateaus? I was feeling really good all morning but I started to feel like I was out of steam at the bottom of a valley. I was promised a hot lunch at the top. It was grueling to get there. I melted into the mess tent. And after a struggle with hot chocolate and orange slices I expelled the contents of my stomach out the tent door. Knowing that I needed at least a minimum amount of fuel I wrestled down a cup of rice and some more oranges. I was hoping that I acclimatized somewhat yesterday since we “walked high, slept low.” I started feeling a little better after lunch.

On a never-ending incline we met a medium-sized european group who seemed to in all states of health. Some members seemed raring to go and annoyed at the overall slow pace. There were others just like me and so we decided to keep pace with them. Misery loves company? It was nice to have some conversation to keep my mind occupied. Apparently they also had two other members of the group who were doing really badly and climbing along with one of their assistant guides.  We had already seen a handful of people descending to the rescue road at this point. So even if I don’t make it to the summit, a fact that I was coming to terms with, I had at least outlasted a few.

The rest of the walk to Barafu camp was some of the most desolate landscape we had seen so far. Even the ‘everlasting flower’ was now few and far between. I pondered if this was an omen since I had become so attached to it. The volcanic rock began to display different properties than before. We were now in the presence of ‘glass rock.’ When you hit the rock is sounds exactly like glass. These rocks also looked like shards of glass now. There was a lot of scree to maneuver while hiking up to our destination.

 

Upon arriving at Barafu “campsite” I felt a bit disappointed. The campsite was huge and quite spread out. Tents are haphazardly placed between the rocks wherever there is room. The toilets are too infrequent and usually found at the top of section of rock. This setup results in many makeshift washrooms everywhere. You could never escape the smell. Shortly into tea I vomited again. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to make it to the summit in my condition. I am hiking quite slow now. I’ll only have a short break this evening before we are to make our attempt at the summit. Pole Pole will be my motto.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 23, 2010 9:24 pm

    That looks ridiculous!!! Did you get altitude sickness?

    • September 23, 2010 9:51 pm

      I was definitely feeling the effects of altitude sickness! As we descended the next day I started to feel myself again around 3000 metres.

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