Kilimanjaro Day 4: Lava Tower & Barranco Camp

As has become customary on every morning our trip, the 6:30 AM wake-up call consisted of two of the cooks knocking on our tent and greeting us with an in-tent service choice of coffee, tea or hot cocoa. After the warm drinks, we packed up our equipment in the duffle/boundary bags, readied our Daily backpack and headed for a sumptuous meal in the breakfast tent to get us ready for the long day ahead. As we seemed to have wrapped up breakfast, the main chef walked in and surprised Don with a beautiful cake to celebrate his birthday.

Don’s birthday cake.

After a tasty piece of cake, we were now on our way to the Lava Tower. Upon our departure, the view from Shira Camp was pretty spectacular with a massive white cloud covering the entire plain below.

Early morning at Shira Camp.

Our acclimatization hike today will take us from an altitude of 3810m/12,500ft up to the Lava Tower at 4630m/15,190ft and then back down to Barranco Camp at 3976m/13,044 and covering a total distance of 11km/7 miles. The strategy is to climb high and sleep low to trick the human body to generate plenty of red blood cells and help acclimatize to the altitude.

Midway through the day and after yet another lunch, the team broke off in two group. One group headed straight to our final Camp 3 destination at Barranco Camp and the other half decided on an additional hike to climb to the top of the Lava Tower.

Scaling and Rock Climbing the Lava Tower Wall.

Mathew, Mandy, Joe, Don, Ben, Sanjai and Sabrina at the top of the Lava Tower.

After enjoying the spectacular views from the Lava Tower, we continued on our way to Barranco Camp trekking across several streams, waterfalls and the ever present giant Groundsel Tree forest making for a Dr. Seuss like surreal environment.

Giant Groundsel Tree Forest.

Shortly thereafter, we finally made our way into Barranco Camp where we were greeted with fresh Mango Juice and the customary singing and dancing by the Tanzanian porters.

Barranco Camp.

After the long 9-hour day, we got into camp just in time for dinner and an early bed time. Until tomorrow when we move up to Camp 4 also known as Karanga Camp.

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