Kilimanjaro Summitted, the hardest day of my life, my diary of the Summit Day. Paul Cayzer.
DAY 6 Summit Aug 10 up at 23.30 on 9th. All layers on in sleeping bag, 2 T shirt, 3 wool long sleeve shirts , four season down jacket and rain jacket. Wool and Aldi socks ( gave Aldi socks to Peter and his friend whose socks had no sole! End of trip also gave Peter my $35 Aldi boots which performed better than those with boots 10 times the price!).
Allan, had no problem with altitude sickness or breathing, think the altitude training at your centre assisted greatly. Major problem tiredness and maybe attitude...at 74 I really do not need to do this!!!
Straight out of sleeping bag into boots and into mess tent for some porridge and toast, and then on our way departing Barafu Camp at 4,600 metres at midnight. Already groups ahead, with conga line of lights way above us. Guide, Julius assigned to me and takes my backpack. Off we go in single file, Julius behind me. We were told not to look up but tempting however very daunting seeing the conga of line of lights way up. Waxing half moon rose just as we leaving so this is my clock, I think when in zenith I should be reaching summit. As I stumbled Julius would give me slight shove. Whilst cold, fortunately there is little wind. At first stop I take off raincoat and unzip four seasons. Only part cold is my toes, trying to wriggle them but soon they OK.
Also had on neck warmer and balaclava. It is a long way up and across to the east is Mt Mawenzi which is some 5149m and it seems like hours before we are level with its peak. Maybe when 100 metres below Stella I think what the hell and consider aborting but head guide , Elias comes and gives me encouragement. Eventually make Stella 5,739 metres (crater top) at 07.15 and meet with Belinda Brosnan who also had doubts about summiting. She encourages me to continue to Uhuru, the summit, you can see the track up and looks easier. It is easier and a nice slow, pole pole (slow) trek to Uhuru 5,985 metres (translates freedom), great scenery on way, no problems with breathing or altitude sickness, arriving at summit at 08.25. Chris (tour leader) does not want us to dally due to rarefied atmosphere, so after gazing at sights turn around and back at Stella at 09.10.
They said it was only a trek, nothing difficult... This was Day 4, we were told we would go around Baranco Wall not over it!
Our group of 14 all made the summit, Chris claims due to our guides and the fact we spent extra day acclimatizing. Now into the scree, slip on my rump whilst trying to snow plow down so Julius plus a friend grab my arms and gang haul/frog march me down the scree, different to route up. This not very comfortable but gets us down quickly, some parts I walk with stocks.
We back down at Barafu camp at 11.30 and just as we arrive it starts to sleet, cold and wet. Had rest whilst packing up, everything now getting wet, have lunch at 13.00 and on our way again at 14.00 for another 12km.Takes us 2 hours to get to Millenium camp 3810m and my knees have really taken punishment. Stanley sees my predicament and came across with knee brace he borrowed from Paul, top guides!. The next 2.5 hours to Mweka camp 3068m which now about the start of jungle. was muddy and difficult walk down, everything now damp from break up of Barafu camp, arrived at 18.30 with a total of some 16 hours of trekking and coverage of 30km, 1300m ascent and 2800 descent for the day. A BIG DAY!
Mweka Camp. Sit down loo, what a luxury! and damp seat for dinner, exhausted but exhilarated.