Sunday, January 11, 2009

From Kibo Hut, 4703m

It's 10:40 on Saturday night.  In 20 minutes we'll be getting up and suited up for our summit attempt.  It's too bad that there is no reception here at Kibo Hut (15,400ft) because these messages are delayed however I'll try to connect as we get higher on the mountain.  Saturday started out at 6AM with tea then breakfast.  Since we'd done most of our sorting the night before, breaking camp was fairly efficient and we were hiking up the trail to Kibo Hut by 8:10AM.  It was a long 8 hour slog to Kibo, with an elevation gain of about 3,000ft.  We all fared pretty well, helped no doubt from the Diamox (an acclimatization enhancing drug) that everyone except Sarah can take.  Unfortunately she has to do it "O naturelle" due to an allergy to this drug.  We've all taken some little green pill though - to reduce brain swelling apparently - it's great to be traveling with 2 nurses in the group!  We got to Kibo at 4PM.  It's a wood structure on a substantial concrete and rock foundation and thanfully it's quite empty so the 4 of us are occupying a 12 bed bunk room by ourselves.  Supper was early and between 5 and 8PM we sorted gear, prepared water and energy supplies.  I modified some crutch tips with studs and also took the ice tip off the snow show attachments as that may be a good solution for descending through the scree.  At 8PM we got into bed - not to sleep.

Back at Horombo Camp we had a late lunch of delicious celery soup, deep fried bread and plantain, together with grilled vegetables and fruit for dessert.  Once again, the Marangu Hotel Crew have done us proud.  From 3 to 6PM we rested in our hut, sorting through gear that we would be taking on our summit attempt - preparing our 'Warrior Bags' as Susan said (oh yes, I wrote this the first time around!).  Unfortunately Ellen had a splitting headache which incapacitated her and when supper time rolled around (way too soon at 6PM) she felt that she couldn't move, let alone eat.  The guides on the other hand had a different idea.  'Must eat, must eat'.  They brought her some food in the hut and she managed to eat some of it.  Typical of this journey, the guides have proved correct and by bed time Ellen was on the way to recovery.  Just before bed time I disassembled Sarah's Sidestix.  

I thought I'd go into some detail because from here-on-in I suspect communication will be somewhat terse because with a heart rate of over 100bpm it's a little disconcerting, but at least we can meditate for a while and ponder the crazy thing we're about to do.   At 11PM we will get tea and biscuits and get dressed - ready for a midnight start.  However, altitude sickness, cell reception and God-willing I'll continue sending texts on the way to the summit.  TTFN

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