July 11, 2002 Climbing Above Shira Camp
This is Wally Berg, I told everybody that I was going to call from Shira Camp yesterday when we did our last dispatch. It’s actually only been about a little over 24 hours ago since I last called in. I am sitting here with the entire team, we are quite away above Shira, and I didn’t get a chance to call you from Shira Camp at 12,300 feet. But the whole team has already moved above Shira.
How high are we? (Question to the group; a lot of noise in the background and different voices answering) "13,640" (one answer), "13,610" (another reply).
So I describe the altimeter reports here, but you get the picture. We are definitely on our way up Kilimanjaro here. Even though it has only been scarcely 24 hours since I called, I can look around at the people here - the entire team - I can guarantee you, that they are all just shaking their heads going: "Wow! That’s only been one day."
I can’t describe all the different weather, landscape and landforms we’ve seen. The last image I left you with, I believe, was the shimmering glaciers, the alpine glow and the twilight in the evening of our first night. We had the first full day walking to Shira: we had a little bit of everything, we had sun, we saw the mountain getting closer through the clouds, I believe it was Deke that described, I can’t remember, he said, it was impressive or intimidating but as we got closer to the mountain those glaciers were often shrouded in clouds. It snowed on us yesterday, right now we are sitting in the sun, but there are clouds showing up, but I can guarantee another thing, for all the excitement and jumping around when Kilimanjaro first showed itself at the Machame Camp 9,800 feet. I am looking at some faces right now on this team, that we are reporting, we definitely feel when we go over 13,000 feet.
We are determined, we are strong, this team is going to do great, we have our ups and down, that is part of the physiology of the acclimatization is all about. I am looking at a bunch of smiles right now, not only with the team members, but I am looking over at Nicholas, Ian, Sandro, the Chagga guides, and on this ridge where we are right here, we can see a lot of these guys who work for us and some of the other team. These porters carrying these huge loads, up this kind of barren moonscape-type ridge. We are up at arctic zone now; there are a lot of rocks, kind of, definitely unique environment. You see these guys carrying these huge loads on their heads, and it is pretty impressive.
We are going to continue to trek course to the Barranco Camp tonight, I will try to report from there tomorrow. Of course at the Barranco Camp, we are going to be at the base of the Barranco Wall and we will definitely let you know how that trip goes sometime tomorrow. This team is going great and we will talk to you reporting sometime on the camp.