Monday, 2 September 2013

Kilimanjaro Challenge Day 6. 28th August 2013

The walk today from Barranco Camp, to Barafu Camp was tough, real tough. I awoke feeling a million times better than yesterday. No headache or feeling rough, a good nights sleep had sorted me out. I left my tent and stared at the Barranco Wall for a moment. It did look a little intimidating. In truth, this is one of the parts of the trip which I was most concerned about before I left England.
I'm no rock climber, I knew it wasn't a technical climb, it was going to be more of a scramble but I still felt a little uncomfortable. I went for breakfast. The great thing about the group I was a part of was that many of us were very similar. Certainly in our concerns, I was not alone in feeling uneasy about what was coming, and in actual fact after I'd talked it through with some of the others we were all less uneasy together.
We set off slowly. It was hard work. Parts of it we could just walk steadily over the rocky surface. Other parts we had to pull ourselves over rocks, and small gaps. Steadily winding our way up to the top of the great wall. We stopped for breaks and I admired the views.
Our incredible support team then began to fly past us. They had given us a head start while they packed away our camp. Then they all overtook us on the wall. I just can't put into words how awesome they are. There was me and my friends with our rucksacks taking our time over the tricky task, then our crew blast past us with heavy kit balanced on their heads. Just remarkable people.
Finally I heaved myself to the top of the wall. What a rush! I was really pleased and relieved to have safely negotiated the wall and celebrated at the top.
We then had to negotiate a steep descent and ascent in to Karranga Camp for lunch. This was shattering. The descent over loose ground was not helping my knees, but on the ascent the pain went from my knees and it was just a tiring slog to the lunch stop.
After lunch we took a long steep ascent very slowly to Barafu Camp-Base camp for the summit push. I had tried not to think of the summit attempt later on, but gradually it came into my head, I feel I did do a reasonable job in pushing it out of my head. I still had to focus on the walk to base camp. I knew thinking too far ahead would not be wise. 'One step at a time, lets just get to camp first' I said to myself.
We arrived into the rocky Barafu camp late afternoon.
Dinner that night was tense. Everyone was talking about the summit attempt. Nerves were building, apprehension, panic. I sat with Jen and Jo at dinner. We were all nervous about the summit attempt. I gave the pair of them a motivational pep talk which they said they found really good. It made me feel good too. Somewhere inside of me the determination that I would be banking on later was pushing itself to the fore and getting me set for what was going to be the most challenging night of my life.
Dean said we would be woken at 11pm, have a hot drink and snack at 11.30pm and start going for the summit at midnight.
I went back to my tent. Andy and I laid out all the clothes we would be wearing later then went to sleep around 8.30pm. Soon enough I was woken by one of the guides. I dressed myself. It was bitter cold,I layered up. I wore a pair of thermal longjohns my heavy duty fleece lined trekking trousers and waterproof trousers over the top. Two pairs of socks. My base layer long sleeve shirt, t-shirt, fleece, my heavy down jacket, my GRWE T-shirt which I was given, so that hopefully I could get a photo wearing it at the summit, and finally my waterproof coat. I also had my trusty West Ham fleece hat, and two pairs of gloves.

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