Monday, March 16, 2009

Horombo to Kibo

Woke this morning early as our cabin mate, Trish the Australian, was headed for Kibo and the summit, so we wished her luck at 7:00. We had an altitude acclimatization day, so we had a leisurely morning and ate at around 8:30 AM. Sam collected us at 9:30 for a hike to Zebra Rocks.

Zebra Rocks are a formation of black volcanic rocks that have been stained with white stripes as a result of salts leaching out of the rocks. The hike was based on the principle of "climb high, sleep low". As Zebra Rocks are somewhat higher in altitude than Horombo we would acclimatize to the altitude better than if we just stayed in camp. There was a lot of flowers around the rocks and at one point we saw a Buteo like hawk. Sam called it an eagle but from the field guide it was a Mountain Buzzard. There were Alpine Chats about and a few Malachite Sunbirds up this high as well. From Zebra Rocks we had great views of Kibo peak, Mawenzi peak and the saddle region between them.
Up on the ridge we could see tommorrows hike stretched out before us. If we really looked hard and used our imagination we could see Kibo Huts on the lower slope of Kibo. It looked to be about 100 kilometers away but we knew it was only about eight. After eating our lunch on the ridge, we scrambled down the slope to the saddle, and followed the main trail back down to Horombo in the early afternoon.
When we arrived back at Horombo, we were brought back to earth seeing an "ambulance case" being taken down the mountain. We never did learn what the story was, but our thoughts were with the woman in the sleeping bag.

We had a relaxed afternoon and evening and were up and at it early the next morning. It was a fairly steep climb up over the ridge onto the saddle. Once we were in the saddle the climb was gradual but relentless. There seemed to be no downhills at all. In fact the depressions were very shallow and small.

We have left almost all of the vegetation behind the ridge. the Saddle is in the alpine desert zone with only a few tufts of thistle, arabis, helichrysum and sedges to be seen. We are going "pole pole" and it takes us 4 and a half hours to hike 7.8 km. As we hike into Kibo we see again a little village that strike me as what Base Camp Everest must feel like. Everywhere are porters and climbers from all countries. There are White Naped Ravens here and I would say they are the only birds to make it up here but this afternoon I see a magnificent Lammergeier soaring a hundred feet above my head. Sam advises us to rest and get ready for tonite and our summit climb.

Top of Page

No comments:

Post a Comment