On To Barafu Camp…
We awakened to a cold and drizzly day that gradually turned into a more steady downpour. We all had good rain gear to get us through, the cold just couldn’t be battled adequately.
Dickson waking us at 6 am with coffee in our tents has become the usual procedure. My habit of setting my alarm to an earlier time so I’d be awake when DIckson arrived has long since been outlawed in camp after hitting the snooze button one too many times. I’ll survive.
After breakfast we all put on our rain gear ready for the day in the rain. Pack covers, rain pants, rain shells and gloves. It was another steady uphill trek to Barafu Camp which sits at over 15,000 and is the base camp for everyone heading to the summit from this approach which is the most popular. Our plan had been to arrive for a hot lunch in camp and to rest for the afternoon until dinner as we’d be leaving at midnight for the summit. Because of the steady rain/hail and frigid temperatures, it took a bit more time to set up camp which left us shivering and cold at the ranger station and wanting of a warm sleeping bag. By the time everything was set up it was early afternoon for lunch and then rest. I don’t think anyone really slept all that well as were all anxious about the upcoming climb. We had planned to relax with another movie (Dances With Wolves had been the selection – one of my all time favorites), but none of us were in the mood or had nearly enough energy to sit and watch a movie.
Dinner was several hours later and though none of us were hungry, we knew that we had to eat to store up energy for the climb. After dinner, we went over the plans for later that night. We would awaken at 11 pm and get dressed. That meant three layers on the bottom and four layers on top in addition to a balaclava and wool cap. Sock liners and socks were the dress code for our feet. Lindsay had brought hand and foot warmers thankfully, which ended up being a godsend. We’d assemble in the mess tent at 11:30 and plan to start at midnight. It was a normally a five hour hike to the crater rim and then a one hour hike along the rim to peak. We’d descend back to camp to rest for a few hours, then brunch and we’d be on our way. Very simple, just climb up and then climb down. You know what they say about best laid plans, though. We were off to sleep for a few hours though none of us slept with the anticipation at hand.