Today we tackle the Barranco Wall!
This is the Barranco Wall. It’s nearly 1000 ft of almost straight up climbing. More of a scramble than hiking, requiring us to use our hands to get over several obstacles.
It’s one of the most challenging parts of the climb, besides summit night, especially since I agreed to head all the way to base camp today instead of overnighting at Karanga Camp like originally planned.
We get an early start to avoid the traffic jams that come later in the day.
Some sections of the wall are really narrow, requiring a bit of maneuvering to get through, so movement slows down. Fortunately we’re early enough, so we don’t encounter many other people. Unfortunately I have to use my hands quite a bit to get up the wall, so I had to put my camera away for this part, but I manage to snap a few blurry shots of Amy.
It takes us about 90 minutes to get to the top, but we’re rewarded with some great views!
From here, we have a fairly easy hike to Karanga Camp, where we’ll stop for lunch. Amy goes on ahead at her own pace while I linger to take pictures.
Innocent insists I take his photo. I think it’s starting to go to his head. (And no, I don’t know what the umbrella is for. I meant to ask, but always forgot!)
The last section before lunch requires us to go down a steep incline, cross over a creek before heading back up to the ridge. It’s a bit tricky to navigate as the path is winding and narrow, but I somehow make it down. I guess food and rest are good motivators.
After lunch, we push on to Barafu Camp. I’m tired at this point and wishing that we were staying the night at Karanga Camp, but since I agreed to go to Barafu, our gear and tents have already been sent on ahead.
Finally we see our destination. I just need to get to that flat part in the top middle of the picture below, and I can be done for the day!
We’ve come such a long way!
When we arrive, I literally collapse at the tent. It takes 10 minutes of rest and eating a Luna Bar before I’m able to even crawl inside to pass out. Barafu Camp has an elevation of 14,930ft and for the first time on this climb, I’m feeling the effects of altitude. I’m nauseous and the idea of eating dinner is very unappealing. I do end up drinking some tea a little later, and tell Innocent that there’s no way I’m summiting tonight. He tries to convince me to give it a try, and if I don’t make it, we can try again the next night. But I know that I’m too tired and feeling so poorly from the elevation that I need to stick to our original itinerary and try the following night. Finally he agrees and I head to bed.
In the morning, we wake up and have a leisurely breakfast and I snap a few shots of our campsite. I’m feeling much better today and I’m so glad we didn’t make the attempt for the summit last night.
These birds are similar to crows and we’ve seen them at every camp throughout the climb, even all the way up here.
Since we’re at base camp a day early due to skipping our overnight at Karanga Camp and me not feeling ready to summit, we do an acclimatization hike for a couple hours, a short way up the path we’ll take tonight on our way to the summit.
You can see the way we’ll be going in just a few short hours!
We head back down to base camp to eat lunch and sleep until it’s time to get up and begin our summit attempt! I take Ibuprofen PM and some Diamox (for the first time) for passing out to hopefully help me on my way!