Max El: 15247 ft. Total ascent 2056 ft. Camp el: 13080 ft. Distance 10.46k.
I woke up to 34F temperatures inside my tent, and quickly realized that it was colder than that outside when I opened up the tent flap and found there was ice formed on it. Most of the rain from the previous night had frozen, but the sky was clear providing a magnificent view of both Kili and Mt. Meru. I got a few good pictures, and we had breakfast. Apparently the cook can’t handle the concept of one of us ordering their eggs scrambled, and one ordering fried. Yesterday we both had scrambled, and today we both had fried. It seems easier to eat whatever we’re served than to try to communicate what we really want.
We started walking at about 8:25 am and headed straight toward Kili. The mountain really seemed to make its presence felt as it loomed larger and larger. It really doesn’t seem possible that we’ll be on top of it in less than 48 hours! After a couple of hours, the fog rolled in right on time. A little bit later, and the word for the day was “bleak”. The vegetation had nearly disappeared, leaving nothing much to look at except for lots of exposed lava formations. At the 15,000 foot mark we began to see snow on the ground for the fist time. Lunch was a bit chilly, but I was fine in just my rain jacket. There were a bunch of little mouse/gerbil creatures the kept poking their heads out of the rock hoping for a bit of food left over from our lunch packs. They were incredibly skittish, and it took quite a few bribes of cupcake before they’d come out into the open for even a couple of seconds.
After lunch we descended down a steep wet rocky river and began to circle the mountain toward the face that we’d make our ascent from. The vegetation started to return as we descended, and after another couple of hours we reached the campsite. Right on schedule, it started raining just as we got to camp. It wasn’t as intense as yesterday, but it did have a good bit of pea sized hail in it.
Today we camped with one of the most spoiled groups I’ve ever seen! They’ve actually gotten their porters to carry up portable toilets all the way up the mountain. They’ve got canvas sides, western seats, and fluffy toilet paper. We’re told that these guys paid about $7000.00 each for their trek, and Imed and I are thinking that if they have that much money, they can afford a little charity toward us poor basic climbers!