Monday 13 August

Striking camp

A short hike today to Moir Hut, so we are all allowed an extra hour in bed. RS complains that the tent is a bit smelly – I’m afraid my digestive system has been ‘acclimatising’.

We are away at nine, a gentle climb back up the way we walked yesterday afternoon. As always, the pace is polepole – although today we do seem to split into two groups at slightly different paces. We are walking amongst strewn boulders, diminutive hardy high altitude plants, and the occasional much famed giant lobelia.

The sun is hot but there is a cool breeze. The landscape is more undulating than we have had previously, and there is a good view back down across the plateau that we crossed yesterday. We pass around a shoulder and see the tents already set up in a gentle valley with the Lent Hills and Lava Tower behind.

Left: (magnify) Approaching Moir Hut
Right: Giant Lobelia

Onion soup and ‘bread fritters’ for lunch, which are filling if not especially appetising. I’m sharing again with RL tonight – we have adopted a rotation system, much to the confusion of the staff who have a hard time working out how many bowls of warm water to bring to each of our tents.

(magnify) Moir Hut and the Lent Hills

We are going to go for an acclimatisation walk up the Lent Hills (500 m) this afternoon. My nausia comes and goes, still a slighty fuzzy head, and very tired. I haven’t started farting yet. I hope I do soon as I feel it will help me acclimatise better.

After a couple of hours rest, we begin our walk into the Lent Hills. We climb slowly through the dusty rock-strewn landscape. Cloud is moving over Kibo. Eventually we reach the first ridge for a short rest. Over the other side we descend slightly and then climb again. It is much steeper now and quite rocky, requiring a bit of scrambling in places. Some of the porters have been up ahead of us and pass us on their way down. Tosha explains that there is potash in the caves here and some of the porters like to collect it for medicinal use.

Left: (magnify) Walk into the Lent Hills (Photo: RS)
Right: (magnify) Nicky scores a hit (Photo: RS)

We emerge onto a flattish peak, where long thin rocks have been piled up against each other to form angular towers. There is a jaw-dropping view of Kibo over to the one side. Further to the right and below is our campsite, and further round still the Shira Cathedral and plateau.

(magnify) In the Lent Hills (Photo: RL)

As we watch, the cloud hugging Kibo clears away and the snow gleams in the late afternoon sunlight. Far away, Meru pierces the sea of cloud that envelopes the plain far below us. We are no longer the only ones in the campsite; a group of red tents has appeared.

It is gone six o’clock when we return to the camp. I enjoy a blissful wash with my bowl of warm water on a rocky outcrop a short distance from the tents. Just before dinner, we experience the most spectacular sunset – an orange Kibo against a deep blue sky, and opposite an orb of crimson descending below red, yellow and orange streaked clouds.

Dinner is a slightly muted affair. A few are feeling a bit sick, probably due to the altitude (4200 m). Afterwards Tom, Orsi, Ghislaine, RS, and I stay around to play cards for a short while.

Left: (magnify) Kibo behind Moir Hut Camp
Right: Distant Mount Meru