Saturday 5th January 2019
That day, we went from Third Cave to School Hut.
Map – Copyright ‘Ultimate Kilimanjaro’
Description of the day by African Scenic Safaris:
We woke up to a wonderful weather and a wonderful view of Kibo summit.
We were getting closer!!
We started hiking towards School Hut around 8.30am. Everyone decided to put their gaiters on that day, yeah, fashion! 🙂 The hike was steep as we went from 3,800 to 4,800m roughly. On our left was Mawenzi, the second highest peak of Kilimanjaro, at 5,149m. Mawenzi is reputed to be dangerous to climb because of its hardened lava which is rather shattered and its steep gradients. In the morning, it looked like an evil mountain, a good setting for the land of Mordor! At some point, we stopped to see the carcass of a dead buffalo which some cheeky ones had named ‘Bold’ by writing that word on it.
We hiked for three hours and arrived at School Hut at 4,800m at 11.30am. There was a bit of snow on the ground and Mawenzi was not looking like Mordor anymore but rather friendly and beautiful. Its shape definitely had some personality.
I started preparing my snack bags for the Summit Night as here we were, last day before the night ascent!! Then we had lunch. Then I prepared all batteries. And kept an eye on beautiful Mawenzi with no clouds. Then we had dinner at 5.30pm. Then we all tried to rest as much as possible. The sunset on Mawenzi was very pretty and we saw beautiful colours in the sky.
Was I getting nervous about THE Summit night? Well, actually not, cause I was looking forward to it as ‘THE FINAL SNACK PARTY’!!! Whoohooo!! Yeah!!! I thought about that very carefully. We could start with dried mangoes then later dried peaches then later have some biltong, have some of the Vooma gels handy, keep the ‘BLOKES’ fruity chewing gels for 3-4am. One cereal bar in the middle and one at Gilman’s Point? Or maybe earlier on? Oh dear, preparing a summit night by thinking about food is AWESOME! That is my best tip to anyone, just concentrate on the nice things you can snack on all night while going up. That way it draws away your attention from the dreadful effort you might have to produce to the lovely tasty stuff you are going to put into your mouth. Well, you do need to also think of the layers you are going to put on and spare ones in the bag in strategic spots so they are easily accessible. And think of batteries! You don’t wanna be that guy who reaches the summit and can’t have a picture taken with his camera because the battery is dead! You actually do need several batteries as most will be dead, drained by the cold, by the time you reach the summit. 🙂
Around 5pm, my tent was the first one hit by the shade, and the temperature dropped drastically suddenly, that was crazy! That hike decidedly made us appreciate the power of the sun! And so we rested after dinner (and prepared layers and snacks and bags).
Next ‘day’ starting at 10pm…Summit Night!!! Whooo…This is it…This is…happening!
Oh and the past few days, Matt, Annie and I had some light headache. Marta and Scott seemed to be doing fine. Then that afternoon, at 4,800 meters high, I had a light nausea and also the feeling I was constantly about to have diarrhoea but strangely when I would go to the toilets, I didn’t have it. Antipas advised that I was simply dehydrated and needed to drink as much fluid all afternoon as possible, with hydrating powder in it and so I did. I was glad that we had arrived at the camp around 11.30am and had 12 hours of acclimatisation and rest and intense hydration at 4,800m high, before to start the night hike. 12 hours at 4,800 meters high, after 7 days hiking between 3,000 meters and 4,800 meters, that is a good way of preparing.