Kilimanjaro Day 5 Mawenzi Tarn to Kibo Huts

Our tent is frozen when I wake. Another incredible sunrise but I am too cold to appreciate it. I move quickly to put on more layers before heading to the mess tent for breakfast. Tonight is the wedding night. We discuss over breakfast how in 24 hours we will have made the summit.

Our walk starts with a short climb to reach the saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo. As we start to descend we can see in the distance the green roofs of Kibo Huts. Base camp. A procession of people is winding its way up the switchback path to the huts. Porters, some carrying water from the Tarn as there is no water at Kibo Huts, as well as other groups of walkers.

I’m feeling much stronger today and start to appreciate the alien landscape that surrounds us. A barren lunar desert scattered with boulders and the occasional stubby succulent plant. I imagine that this is what walking across Mars would be like.

As we walk the clouds blow across us. Most pass until we find ourselves walking through a relentless hail storm as we ascend. There’s no shelter, we simply have to keep walking as fast as we can up the steep path to the camp.

We register as quickly as possible in the small hut office and try to find shelter from the hail. My gloves are soaked through and I just hope I have time to dry them before we start our climb tonight.

Our tents are a short walk from the centre of the campsite in a small sheltered basin. We have lunch in the mess tent before trying to get some rest. I sleep for a while. My body is so tired and an afternoon nap in my sleeping bag seems strangely decadent.

After dinner we have our final briefing for the summit climb. As I lay in my sleeping bag willing myself to sleep I feel short of breath. Another thunder storm has started and eventually I fall asleep listening to the sound of the thunder echoing around Kibo.

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