Monday, January 16, 2012

Day Six- Crater Camp

Crater Camp is in Kibo's crater, next to the Furtwangler Glacier. Regarding this campsite, a website stated, "At this elevation (18,500) some of the hikers start to look blue from lack of oxygen. Altitude can also affect the brain making people feel confused and befuddled. Some hikers complain of lack of sleep since their breathing patterns become irregular. It's a huge effort to even make it to the toilet."

I don't think I turned blue, but I was certainly slowing down. I told Herman and Rumisha to go ahead of me as I was taking my good ol' time and wanted to take some photos of the amazing glacier:

Here's a NASA image from 2004 with locations of major glaciers on Mt. Kilimanjaro. Look for the Furtwangler Glacier; that's where I was.

Looking at the opposite side of the glacier:

Herman and Rumisha head toward camp. You can see our camp in the distance:

According to Wikipedia, the Furtwangler Glacier "is a small remnant of an enormous icecap which once crowned the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. This icecap has retreated significantly over the past century; between 1912 and 2000, 82 percent of the glacial ice on the mountain has disappeared. The retreat of glacial ice on the summit is expected to continue and by the year 2020, all the glaciers on top of the mountain may be gone, although seasonal snows will continue to cover the higher sections of the mountain for several months of the year. The glacier is named after Walter Furtwängler, who along with Siegfried König, were the fourth to ascend to the summit of Kilimanjaro in 1912." Click here for a sad yet interesting article on the Furtwangler Glacier.

In order to provide you with a sense of scale, look at the porter (I forgot his name); he is a shrimp!

I eventually stumbled into camp. What did I find? Most of the porters sunbathing. When I asked them if they were enjoying their sunbathing experience, they looked at me like I was nuts. As it turns out, there is not a Swahili word for "sunbathe," so they had no idea what I was talking about. I actually wanted to join them, but they had all scuttled off by the time I had placed my bags in my tent.

As my team had all but disappeared, I headed back to my tent to rest:

 Around 6pm it was time for dinner. Here was one of the many dishes:

Ezekiel always made a nice table top (even if it was on my tent's floor):

After dinner I noticed that the sun was beginning to set:

I ventured outside of my tent and took some photos:

Looking up at Kibo and Uhuru Peak, tomorrow's destination (The Rooftop of Africa!):

The lighting is highly manipulated in the following photo, but I think that it looks pretty cool:

We went to bed early that night because our summit attempt was the next morning (as well as my 32nd birthday)!


  1. Yes, I have to agree with you on this; it was amazing!

  2. incredible photos kate! i agree with you--i hope the glaciers are still there after 2020! i feel the same sadness about coral reefs dying off. i want my kids to experience glaciers and coral reefs too!

    1. Here's to us protecting the beauty of this earth for our little ones!