July 12, 2002 Conquering the Barranco Wall
It is July 12th, this is Wally Berg, and just a little while ago we were all together as a group in the top of the Barranco Wall. Everybody looked great.
George was commenting on how the scene was always changing; the weather, the clouds coming and going. It is a really interesting and fun route. The word “fun” is exactly what this group kept saying about climbing up the wall. We put our ski poles away, we stepped up on the rock ledges, around big rocks, traverse little small ledges at times, step up, use our hands a bit. The whole time, for those who want take it, there is usually an engaging smile and an encouraging hands of a Chagga porter to help you up the step, and of course the beautiful views. We look down on the big waterfalls back towards Barranco; great view.
We got up at the top about 13,400 feet, everybody looked great. We had our ups and downs with acclimatization, as I reported, but that’s the great thing about acclimatization on the mountain, you hang in there, you drink fluids, make the right decisions, rest, and then you bounce back, and when you come back you feel even better.
Charles Martin this morning was especially excited, this is a repeat trip to Kili for him, you will hear more about that, I think, and he remembered this day as one of the best ones, he was really full of vigor this morning as we took off.
As I sit around looking at those folks and tried to make the last dispatch, all these dispatches by the way go back through the office, the BAI office in Alberta, and knowing that I was going to call in, every time they see the phone, everyone starts smiling and asks me to say something to Leila. I had no idea that her words of advice and encouragement during all these months of planning for this trip, about training and preparation, and words of encouragement for when people are pushing here in the mountain. I always see her talking with the folks on the phone but I didn’t know what big part of the trip it would be. Since they all ask me to relay some message to Leila back in the office, this is from the entire group; I get the sense that she is with them here in spirit.
This afternoon we will be crossing the little small stream called the “Karanja River”, climbing just above it, and the next dispatch you get from me will be at high camp. That’s going to be a pretty exciting one for us, so stay tuned. Sometime tomorrow we will call you from 15,700 feet as we prepare to get down and rest a few hours before we attempt to climb Kilimanjaro.