Monday, January 2, 2012

Day Four- Shira Hut to Lava Tower

Starting Point: Shira Hut, ~12,500 ft. elevation
Ending Point: Lava Tower, 15,200 ft.elevation
Total Climbing Time: approximately 6 hours

I woke up and tuned into my body. I had a headache and some chest pains, but I didn't feel nauseous. Herman came to my tent and asked me how I felt. I told him my symptoms but said that I wanted to walk around a little bit in order to assess my climbing ability.

Despite my headache and a little light-headedness, I felt fine walking around. I went back to Herman and reported my findings. Herman was concerned about my chest pains. I was like, "Herman, I really don't want to stop the climb. I think I'm okay." We agreed that the porters would delay their start just in case I needed to turn around after we began.

I didn't take many photos during today's climb; I just focused on my climb because I didn't want to turn around.

In the photo below, we are almost at Lava Tower:

We couldn't see much as we were enrobed in cloud:

It was very nice to have the camp set up before we arrived:

We were now in the land of rocks:

Resting in my tent, I am one happy camper; I completed the day's climb without getting sick!

I was also happy because Rumisha made french fries for lunch:

 As it was cloudy outside and I was tired, I decided to write in my journal:

"Dear Journal,

I have not written in here for the last couple of days because I was quite sick! I believe that I got food poisoning from the cheese. When we started to walk after I ate lunch, I began to feel like I was going to throw up. As it turned out, I threw up at least six times two days ago and shat in my pants twice. That was fun (one of the pairs was Herman's long johns).

But I don't want to think about that right now! Due to the grace of God, I decided to push on this morning. I was very close to calling off the whole thing (the rest of the trip) yesterday. As of this morning, my stomach no longer hurt. I did feel a bit light headed, and I had a headache and some chest pains while breathing, but I decided to take some of Herman's Diamox (altitude sickness pills) and try the route. (*Herman was a veritable pharmacist on this trip, providing me with Cipro, Diamox, Ibuprofen...). I am glad I did. I made it to Lava Tower today- 15,200 ft! This is the highest point I have ever been outside of an airplane.

I am incredibly dirty and smelly, but at this point, I don't care. The underwear I'm currently wearing is dirty, but I only have two pair left and need to ration (cause I'm still up on this mountain for four more nights! I look at the mountain when it's not covered in fog and think, 'Geez, that's an awful long way to go. I can't do it.' The idea of going up the mountain tires me- it's so huge. Sometimes I try to think of things to keep me motivated, but I realize that they don't really help. In truth, it's best not to think of anything.

Ronaldo walked behind me today and played his radio. Although it was good to hear some American songs (eg "Dirty Diana" by Michael Jackson), I'm going to ask Herman to ask Ronaldo not to play it while we climb.

My fingernails are so dirty! They stopped the washing thing when I got sick. Don't know why.

Herman carried my bag for the second half today. He offered. I feel really bad having him do that, but it's better for my shoulders and stamina. He'll just get a better tip ☺

Now knowing these guys, I wonder how I couldn't give them the highest tip. I certainly don't have money right now to pay them the highest tip. When I voiced my concern about Herman carrying my bag, he reminded me that he is the "Herminator," "part machine." I said that I was lucky to have him as my guide.

I passed white foreigners today for the first time since I started the climb- *3 guys from the U.K. I didn't say anything, save for hello. It was weird to see them.

I think I'm going to try and read now."

*These guys are mentioned in a later entry. Stay tuned.


  1. I don't even know what to say about some of those pictures Kate. The fog and clouds/mountains,..SO beautiful. I want to go so badly now.

  2. Haha, you are too kind, Sarah! You will go; make it your 2012 dream!!!