Day 5: summit day. In the morning my nausea was worse, and managed just tea for breakfast. At this point I knew I wouldn’t be able to make the peak, so made it my challenge to reach the base camp, Barafu, 4633m. Although the walk here was only 4 hours – again to reach the camp by lunchtime – this was an exceptionally tough 4 hours. The start was almost rock climbing – scrambling up very steep rocks with hands. Being quite short, I needed quite a few pushes to get up some of them! Once the first steep part was done, it was fairly flat until the final steep hurdle to the base camp. Every step was harder for me as I was totally exhausted and still not eating much; I managed a piece of toast with peanut butter on it for snack, and some soup for lunch when we eventually got there. I think this was the only day that I didn’t enjoy myself.
Whilst eating lunch I noticed movement from under the food tent floor – and saw a small mouse scuttle from one side to the other, and then under the tarpaulin. Steven then came bounding in saying a mouse was in his bag and was munching a bag of open peanuts! Turns out to be a four-striped grass mouse. Amazing considering the total lack of wildlife and vegetation up there!
Taryn and Lorena slept after lunch for a bit before having dinner and heading off at midnight to do the summit. The managed to get to the peak and returned around 9am. A lot of people didn’t go to the summit – Silvano reckoned about 20 people stayed at the camp that night. I read when we got back that the statistics that the tour providers give are usually vastly overestimated. Zara gave a 95% success rate, but realistically it’s more like 30% according to the records they keep at the camps. Although I’d’ve liked to get to the top I’m pretty proud of where I got to.
I slept on and off from about 3pm until the next morning when we set off down the mountain. Ironically the main thing that woke me was Silvano checking up on how I was…including him waking us up at 6am to tell us he’d wake us up at 7am instead (What kind of logic is that?!). Unfortunately both our cameras were dying at this point, and we didn’t get any decent photos at the camp. We brought along a solar powered battery charger, however that took all day to charge, so cameras where only ready the following day.