Having opted for the 7 day route, we used 2 days to get the base camp instead of 1. Normally today would be the day to reach Barafu camp at 4600m, however we went half way and stopped at Karanga camp at 3963m. Whilst again not being much higher than the previous camp, the walk started off with a steep climb, followed by flat/downhill to the camp. It was a short walk, so we arrived at the camp for lunch at 1.30pm. Other groups continued to Barafu – another 4 hours away. They would then do the summit (another 8 hours) this evening, followed by another 5 hours down the following day…21 hours of climbing in a 36 hour period. No thanks!
In the morning I had woken up with terrible nausea and no appetite for breakfast – altitude sickness. I threw up, and then felt a bit better, but I could only manage the porridge for breakfast and no toast or fruit. As we climbed in the morning the nausea went away, but the headaches came back. I’m glad it was a short walk as lunch was difficult: I knew I had to eat to keep up my energy, but I was completely put off food. We had lots of glucose tablets with us, so I tried to eat those when I felt weak.
The view from the camp was amazing – looking up we had Kibo right next to us, and looking down we had wonderful cloud formations.
That afternoon was the first afternoon we had off for a while. Usually we’d only arrive at camp sites at 4-6pm and wash, eat and sleep. But now we had about 4 hours before dinner. It was perfect – warm, sunny and a beautiful view. I sat with my Kindle and mug of tea and read. The sunset was beautiful too – you could just see Mount Meru (a smaller sister volcanic mountain – 4566m) popping up from the clouds. The night sky was always just unbelievable. I’d never been in a place with no artificial light at all, and the amount of stars and the Milky Way was just breathtaking.