Snows of Kilimanjaro…the journey begins

Day 1 – Arusha to Machame Gate to Machame Camp
First daily diamox with our last breakfast in Arusha. Diamox – aka acetazolamide – is a prevention of (but not a treatment for) symptoms of altitude sickness: headache, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath at high altitudes (10,000 feet/3,048meters).  Diamox helped me on the Inca Trail but…will it help here? We’ll find out soon.

We four – friends Troy & Louise, Jeff & me, our Canadian Guide John Furneaux (Global Mountain Adventures), and an African crew from Majestic Kilimanjaro Outfitters leave Machame Gate at noon for a relatively easy 10.75 km meander up a (more or less) gradual slope through spectacular rain forest.

Day 2 – Machame Huts to Shira Cave Campsite (7.77 km)
Approximately 20 minutes after departure I realized my visit to Pastor Christopher’s orphanage (sponsored in part by Majestic Kilimanjaro) two days before the climb might have been a bad idea.

I dashed to the “special” bush bathroom then returned to toss my cookies in front of the gang. Head Guide Kefas looked horrified. However, luck was with me:
(a) I had contracted a minor virus from one of the children, and
(b) today would be the only day I would vomit on Kili!

Kefas ensured I kept hydrated. Adding my Nuun electrolyte tablets helped with flavour and energy!
John provided margaritas (aka Shot Bloks). How did he know margaritas are my favourite?

Day 3 – Shira Caves Campsite to Barranco Huts (11.22 km)
Spectacular weather continues: massive high pressure system with widely spaced isobars = almost no wind!

Day 4 – Barranco Wall to Karanga (Peanut) Camp 5.29 km
Happy Canada Day!  Barranco Wall climb was actually F-U-N! Cool climb in the lee of the sun. 1- 4C early morning but 10 – 12C midday.  Stretch out on warm rocks at the wall summit (4219 m/13,842′).
End-of-the-day descent and steep climb to Karanga Camp N-O-T fun. But we’re there!

NEXT….will we summit?