Kilimanjaro Climb – Day 3: Shira Camp to Barranco Camp

Day  3:1,2..1,2..1,2.  Shira Camp 3850m – Barranco Camp 3950m – 6h

Waking up at 6.30. Nothing new here. The body is already set up so I’m awake already before Charlie-Charlie to come. But Wake is too much sad. From the 10 hours available to be sleeping, I don’t know  if I managed to nap for more than 2 hours. It was damn cold in the tent; don’t know the reason, even if I got covered with many layers of clothing. Taking into the consideration the fact that I could not find my sleeping position during the night, meaning I was rotating left/right all, I wasn’t  ready for the next day. And day number three on climbing the Kilimanjaro means 6 to 6 hours, depending on how pole, pole we would go.

Yesterday, the rain and the cloudy weather did not allow us to see the view. In the morning it’s always clear on Kilimanjaro. Or we were very lucky. And the today view was absolutely fantastic. Uhuru Peak was behind my tent and on the other side was Mount Nauru, second highest in Kenya at 5700m. Suddenly I got the needed energy. Of course, chocolate porridge gave the rest of it!

Surprisingly, I have enough energy even without sleeping the night before too much. Day number 3 is all about  acclimatization. We go up to 4600m to the  Lava Tower and then we descend back  to  3950m at Barancco Camp. Unlike the previous days, this one is without many stops. In the first part of the route we climb fairly constant and we only stop for short breaks only to drink water. Cause, remember that we still have to drink 3l of water a day. Till now I did not managed to drink 3 liters of water, but 3l of liquids which includes the tea, the soup or the milk, yes. But and the end of the day a small headache appears so I have to do to with the drinking on the next day.

The first part was  relatively steep uphill for around 3-hours, and then downhill a further 3-hours to base camp.  The reason for ‘hiking high and sleeping low’ was to help the body acclimatize to the altitude.

I don’t know why, but time passes quickly while climbing on the mountain.. After a while, fatigue begins to take its toll. Decided from the beginning that in case of emergency when my brain says: man are you stupid enough? Just stop.. And  besides, to the magus chocolates, to self determine with different motivational song.

From my favorite songs I choose Survival by  Muse and Rammstein with Ich Will. Both are quite long, but I do not think it will help me too much in chasing fatigue. More they will tire me mentally. I need to find something much shorter… “, 1,2, 1,2, 1,2” following with my eyes my foot, comes to mind. Works great, and is the only ‘song’ that helps me in the coming days.

Lava Tower Kilimanjaro

Lunch near Lava Tower, packed lunch  this time. Chicken sandwich, banana, oranges, biscuits and eggs. And my package is missing. In our group there are 2  Mexican girls whom are climbing quite slowly and are behind  one hour with one of the guides.

And my lunch is at the other guide. Just perfect! Open my backpack and ate some of the biscuits I still have. I do not touch the chocolate, yes cause I will definitely need while climbing the Uhuru Peak.

One of the guides sees me not eating the proper lunch and gives me his own lunch! Guides packed lunch did not consist of chicken sandwich and the eggs. Even so, I manage to eat and add more energy to my body. But this is not the end of the lunch story, The guide goes back to the Mexican group, takes my lunch and brings it to me. Of course I only take the eggs and the chicken and give to him the rest of the food, I was a normal gesture but I got a big thank you!

Descent to Barancco Camp is less cumbersome, but if it rains starts can be a bit difficult. Pay attention to the stones you do not want to break anything before the final ascent. Today we had a different guide in front of us. For some reason the descent was on fast-fast forward! Everybody felt so tired after the descent and we were wondering why we descent that fast? We were on schedule  with almost everything. The problem was not the speed, but due to the light rain the rocks were slippery and even a small error might have ended your dream to reach the peak!

Dinner, same questions, increasingly fewer smiles and sleep. Except one breaking news! Tomorrow night will be the final climb to the top!  In my little head my week days do not exist anymore. Traveled  already 6 months, lost track of them. Small  talks about climbing day. How do you think it will be? We all will manage to reach the top? Everybody is positive and I am saying that the extra-day rest will help us too! What extra day? Tomorrow night will be the final climb? What? Tomorrow? No rest day..

The sky was clear and even if it was getting colder, I couldn’t resist to watch the stats. Was the most beautiful night sky, I have ever seen? Yes, I can  say that. Fresh air, awesome sky and in the valley, the lights of Arusha. This was my moment of meditation. Will I or will not be able to do it tomorrow night.


by Sorin

Sorin is a freelance travel writer. He is an experienced travel writer and traveller. Since 2012 he explored more than 60 countries on 4 continents: Asia, Europe, Africa and North America. Currently is based in Romania after spending the last 7 years in Myanmar.