February 23, 2018
Tye Chapman just checked in from Barranco Camp over on Kilimanjaro. The team had a big day today. This is always a long day as you really cover some terrain and pop up to 15,000 feet before descending down to camp. Its good trail though and not very steep, just slow and steady. It’s usually about 8 hours of walking and second toughest day of the trip – after summit day of course! A bit overcast this morning but cleared off this afternoon and clear now, which is pretty much normal weather for this time of year.
That’s good news as the views today are incredible. The first half of the day you spend walking directly towards the mountain with Kili staring right at you. After lunch you drop down and traverse below some of the southern glaciers. This is always cool to see and I love the hike from Lava Tower down to Barranco Camp. Just before camp you walk through a high elevation grove of the Giant Groundsel trees that are endemic to the high volcanoes of east Africa. Awesome trees! Then you arrive at Barranco Camp at 13,000 feet but sitting inside a deep ravine. Because of this, the sun sets early and rises late so it tends to be a fairly cold camp. The views of the steep southern face of the mountain are totally worth it.
Dinner’s finished and the team’s settling into tents for the evening. Dinner conversation included plans and the trail for tomorrow. I’ve had this discussion many times. From camp you can plainly see the trail tomorrow zig-zagging right up the Barranco Wall. It looks really intimidating from camp. However, it’s not nearly as bad as it looks and it is often remembered as one of the highlights of the whole climb. It’s about 1,000 feet of steep trail and some scrambling (occasional use of hands) and takes around an hour and a half. But there is very little exposure and the trail is quite good. To alleviate any concerns I always point out that the porters all do this with 30 pound duffels on their heads! The team is going to have fun tomorrow!