Day 4 was hard. After breakfast in the open air, we set off for Mawenzi Tarn, a second day skirting the base of the peak to help us acclimatise.
We climbed to 4500m (summit 5895m) before descending to 4350m to camp on the east side of the mountain. The terrain was heather covered rock at the start becoming surface-of-the-moon-like by the end.
Visibility was down to about 50 feet by midmorning due to the clouds and we spent the rest of the day in the clouds. We are camping by a lake, in the shadow of the Mawenzi volcano. We can see neither. Matt nipped to the loo about 1am and said the clouds had lifted. It’s about -5 outside. I’m not that desperate to see it.
I started to feel the altitude today. The lack of oxygen makes me panic sometimes in my breathing. My inflatable pillow, which was the envy of the camp at the start, is now impossible to inflate. Its all I can do to breathe let alone blow up a pillow!!
Before dinner we went on another altitude walk to expose us to the thinner air. We climbed to 14.700 feet. It felt astonishingly high. Just over half the height of Everest.
It is now Monday morning. Today we walk to Kibo hut at 4700m by lunchtime. We then rest up until 11pm. At 11 we get up, wrap up and start the final ascent. We should reach the summit (5895m, 19341 feet) between around 8 am tomorrow morning, the seventieth birthday of Ali.
We return to Kibo for lunch before a rapid descent to our final camp on Tuesday night.
Finally, John Bundy’s quote of the day “Listen to me Williams. I don’t care how important this is, but if your next big idea involves camping, you can stick it right up your a****”