My Blog

Aug 27, 2010 – Day Five

9.16.2010 | My Blog

Barranco Camp – Karanga Hut (at 13, 235 ft)

See this?

This is the Barranco Wall.  We have to go around it, remember?

Here it is again, but from a different view:

And one more time:

Actually, have another look.  A closer look.

See those little white dots on the photo? Those tiny little things that kind of look like high up plant-life? Yah, that would be the line of porters. They mark the trail where we have to go.


Each morning I have a look out yonder beyond the “comfort” of my tent to see if I can spot the line of porters already on their way to the next camp, so that I can see where we’ll be going. This morning was no different. I woke up this morning and looked at the Barranco Wall through the clouds. I looked to the right of the Barranco Wall, as I had assumed that’s where we would be going. The clouds parted briefly, I had a look. I scanned, saw no porters.

Huh. Strange.

Then, just as I was turning to walk to the mess tent for breakfast I saw it – a nearly imperceptible line of men, hulking their way up a nearly sheer wall. “No way“, I thought to myself, “that can’t be right“. I called to Ali, who was wrestling with her boots in the tent. “Dude, you’d better get out here!”

Ali came out of the tent and I pointed to the Barranco Wall… the clouds had once again obscured the view. She couldn’t see anything. I tried to explain to her what I saw, and, as would be expected, she thought that I was a total freaking liar who was just trying to ruin her day. I swore up and down that I saw our route go UP the Barranco Wall, not around it.

Then, the clouds parted again.

A stunned, scared quiet fell over us both, broken 15 seconds later by Ali’s succinct summation of the view: “Holy. Shit.”

Alright team, up and over!

And no bitching, please – these guys gotta’ climb this wall like this:

Amazing. I have NO IDEA how they do what they do. Kili porters are seriously underrated, overworked, and above par. Following their lead was a little tough until you get it into your head that they are simply not like other human beings. On about Day Two you realize that the porters are in a class all their own, and trying to compare yourself to them is kind of life comparing apples to, oh I don’t know, let’s say  neuroanatomical textbook illustrations.

The thing with climbing the Barranco Wall is this: it was so much freakin’ FUN! Seriously! We’re all scrambling and laughing, trying not to fall off a big cliff and die a horrible, painful death… seriously, it was the best time! Well, maybe for those of us who aren’t a big fan of heights it was a tad less entertaining, but all in all we had a great time. And our reward at the top? Unimaginable…

So, after taking a break to gawk at the World’s Most Beautiful Place (so far…), we pressed on to Karanga Hut. We hiked for four straight hours, going up, down, around, up, up, up, up, and a little bit of up, and we gained… 158 FT!? That’s it?! Are you freaking kidding me!?  Stupid mountain.

The end of the hike was hard for me. Really hard. I was NOT doing well, and I was getting frustrated at how my body was reacting. At the beginning of the day Reggie had approached me and told me that if I’m not doing well when we get to Karanga Hut, then he’d make me stop there. Needless to say, that was adding some stress, and just added to my anger regarding my physical condition. Life sucked for me at the end of the day, that’s for sure.

However, Karanga Hut is a beautiful camp, but our tents are becoming more and more tricky to sleep in, as we’re slanting away down a mountain, and sliding out of our sleeping bags mid-dream. The funny thing is that toilet situation is… changing. The “bathrooms” are becoming, ummm… doorless… and the holes in the “bathroom” floor are becoming strangely smaller. In fact, we can confirm that the hole in the floor of the “bathroom” at Karanga Hut was about the size of an iPhone.  And that’s all I’ll say about that.

But hey, if you gotta’ pee in a doorless pseudo-bathroom, you really can’t beat this view, eh?

And so, at the end of the day. Ali and I got together and had a chat about how it went. Now, it may be tricky, but see if you can tell if the altitude is affecting us at all…

At Karanga Hut

Next time: And Then there Were Three… Karanga Hut to Barafu Camp