It turns out the wind was just taking a break, not disappearing for good. About 2 am it came roaring back with a vengeance. Our tents are taking a battering–even these good quality expedition tents are caving in, with the roof constantly hitting us as we lie in our sleeping bags. We hear the porters out scrambling to tie everything down, using the heavy rocks as anchors. We find out in the morning that one of the porter tents had blown down twice during the night. Our mess tent had been damaged. Some of the permanent outhouses at the campsite were blown over. Later in the day, when we got to Arrow Glacier Camp, we came across some climbers heading down. Their tents had been shredded in the wind and they were aborting the climb.
There’s really no hope for sleep. The sunrise doesn’t calm the wind, but being in the sun does take some of the sting out of the biting cold. We don’t have any way of measuring how strong the wind is except seeing how hard it is to stand up in it. Having spent a lot of time growing up sailing and windsurfing in strong winds, my best guess is that it was a pretty constant 50- to 60-mile-an-hour winds. Even our guides, who had climbed Kilimanjaro over 170 times, said that they hadn’t seen anything like this keeping up for so long–usually, the wind comes up and blows itself out after a few hours. Somehow the porters manage to pack up the campsite without it all blowing downwind, and we’re on our way again.
Today’s hike is quite short, and we gain only about 700 feet as we head up to Arrow Glacier Camp.
The landscape of Arrow Glacier Camp isn’t a lot different from Lava Tower. But now we’re right at the base of the Western Breach. We’re going to have to climb that tomorrow in what we’ve already been warned will be the hardest day of the climb.
The glacier itself is a little past the campsite. It’s not much to look at, mostly covered with rocks and dirt. But it’s also our only water supply. Tonight we’ll be drinking water taken directly from the glacier.
We get a beautiful sunset, the golden rays catching the tops of the billowy clouds below us. Only the summit of Mt. Meru breaks up the sea of clouds stretching off to the horizon.
This is part of a climb diary I put together with photos from each day on the Lemosho Route. You can find the other posts below. I’ve also included some gear tips for climbing Kilimanjaro and some ideas on what to expect from your climb.