August 30 – Camped in the Crater of Kilimanjaro

Listen to Audio of Wally's Call (.wav)

Arriving at our camp by the glacierIt’s Monday, August 30th in the afternoon and I’m calling your from our camp on the top of Kilimanjaro.  We are camped in the crater, it’s an amazing place.  There is the flat, dusty floor of the crater and a sharp contrast to that there’s towering glacial walls right above camp.  Also right above camp I’m looking up at Uhuru peak, the very top of Kilimanjaro just a few hundred feet higher than us and we’ll get up early tomorrow morning and continue on and stand on the top of Africa , hopefully not long after sunrise tomorrow morning.

We left the Glacier camp at about 4:30am this morning and climbed through the moonlit darkness and reached the crater at about 5 ½ hours later.  When we got up there Jim commented that he and Julie were already higher than they had ever been.  Our camp here is at 18,780 feet (5723m) according to Jim’s altimeter and that’s quite a lot higher than the summit of Elbrus where they were just a couple of years ago.

Julie climbing to the craterJulie said just a little while ago that “I’m not feeling 100%”, what she meant by that was she’s relaxed, she’s awed at being here but we are all a little light headed from the altitude and we are moving slowly. 

Jim and three of the BAI staff, August, Stratton, Arnold and myself all took a 2 ½ hour round trip from camp, over down into the ash pit, the very volcanic crater of Kili.

It’s huge up here and as I said it took us 2 ½ hours to get over there but it was worth it.  When we came back we found Julie and Alex walking back from a little side trip they had taken out to the glacier nearby.

We are going to have an early dinner and we’re going to settle down.  Not 100% in terms of our ability to move fast, but more than 100% in terms of our awe at being in such a great spot.  We will call you from the top of Kilimanjaro tomorrow morning.

Jim and Alex at Arrow camp