Monday, 13 February 2017

That's not a walk!!!

 Here we are, not quite base camp, but basking in a glorious sunrise over the target area.
 From every angle its big, close up its huge
 and finally Jim felt better!
 The trek up to Ice Camp was tedious over Arctic desert. Beth wasn't feeling the love.
 Eric and Ernie couldn't help posing.
 Neither could we!
 Eventually we made it to Ice Camp, or Barafu Camp, formerly Ice camp but thanks to global politics the weather has changed here and its a lot warmer hence no ice.
 Camp was pitched on a series of terraces overlooking miles of nothing . We hid in our tents and got ready best we could for the long haul up. Another 1300 metres of rock was above us and the plan was to set off at 11pm for the summit. Pole Pole, slowly slowly, very much so, its hard to describe the climb other than its mind numbingly cold, the air is very thin so you are constantly exhausted and this means you are not thinking straight, though any straight thinking person probably wouldn't be there in the first place. For some insane reason I decided to weight my pack down with 9 litres of water, a huge breakfast for on the way back plus the usual stuff you need to survive at high altitude pre and post dawn. Thankfully at 5100 metres I realised one reason why I felt so crap was the weight I was carrying and managed to dump 5 litres of water.
 This set of pics shows the difficulty we had, this is Mr President and Beth
 who was suffering at this stage
 but she kept going. Got her Dad's bloody mindedness I think :)
 Dawn was incredible, up in space
 and worth every bit of effort top see.
 The zig zags finally ended and we
 reached Steller Point which is pretty high and where a lot of people stop, so we did for a huge group hug and collective blub.
 Richard was very emotional at this point and doesn't really remember much 2 hours before this.
 Dom stood like he was lost until he saw me then we both had a huge man hug and burst into tears too.
 I saved the biggest hug for Beth, the most tears too.
 Eventually we pushed on the the summit
 Beth was rallying at this stage
 and by the time she summitted was very happy
 which lasted while a load of pics were taken
 of all of us who reached the top including our guides and porters.
 All we had to to do now was get back to Ice Camp, which was a long way away.
 I loved this bit as it was downhill scree running, get it right and its almost effortless,
 get it wrong and you end up being carried.
 Being first back I saw all the rest come in
 to big hugs, high 5's, fruit drinks
 comfy chairs.
 We all made it. Just as well. What followed was a nightmare, an hours rest then a descent of 2500 metres to the jungle which was nothing other than a ball ache, tedious nightmarish and repetitive.
 So why did I look so happy in my tent in the jungle as the sun set?
Beer obviously! Kilimanjaro, ice cold as it had been up to the summit and was now ready to serve. Serves one. Beth had Vimto.

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