Thursday, 3 July 2008

Pole, Pole!

Day 3 - Horombo to Kibo Base Camp

Pole(with emphasis on the l and e) translated to english means slowly. Pole, pole - slowly, slowly which is one of the trademark sayings on Kilimanjaro.

The last stretch to the Kibo huts. This is where a lot of people turn back because of high altitude sickness. You can see in the above picture the path that leads to Gilman's Peak on Kibo and ice on the left just below the cloud.

Three views of victorious Mawenzi from Kibo base camp. People often think only Kibo is Kilimanjaro but its only Kibo they see from photos and images of Kili(Mawenzi and Kibo are two peaks on Kilimanjaro). Very few people have made it to the top of Mawenzi - its only recommended that skilled rock climbers climb it due to its high cliff faces and deep crevices.

Day 4 - Kibo Base Camp to Uhuru Peak

We set off at 12am the next morning. Luckily there was no wind to dampen our spirits but the temperature is still below freezing point at this time. It takes about 5 hours to get to Gilman's Point then another 2 hours to Uhuru Peak passing Stella's Point and Leopard Cave along the way.

The slope leading up to Gilman's Point is possibly a gradient of 80 degrees. No matter how slow I trekked, I needed to stop to catch my breath every ten metres or so. A feeling of nausea and mild headache start to set in, thoughts about turning back come to mind and the bloody drinking water freezes.

Its recommended that head lamps should be used but the moon shine made the dark and difficult situations a little more light and bearable. By the time we reach Gilman's Point its still dark and its here where we have a short break and congratulate each other for making it so far. Its at this moment when I will never forget the bright meteoroid(shooting star) that we saw on the north-east side of Kibo making its way along the horizon.

The sun started to rise as we passed Stella's Point. From here onwards its more of a rocky terrain with some steep drops on our right. The rock then clears leading us to ice. Not far now till we reach Uhuru Peak.

In the above picture mount Meru can be seen in the distance(the dark triangle sticking out of the clouds).

First site of the glaciers and the Uhuru Peak sign in the distance brings a feeling of overwhelming joy and relief.

Time passed quickly and we had to make our way back then I had a chance to get some great shots of Gilman's Point and a wonderful image of Kibo Huts.

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