August 25 – Mountaineering challenges and rewards inside the crater

Hello this is August 25 and I’m reporting from Camp 6 in the crater, our High Camp. We’re all very exciting, sitting here below the summit. This morning we left camp at about 5:30. We had an early start to climb up the Western Breach and what a climb it was!

We had easy ground initially and then we got into some very hard scree terrain where there were little chips of lava and everything was frozen. The angle was very steep. I was very impressed by how everybody did, they were incredible. We couldn’t have done it without the Chagga guides who were real troopers helping the less experienced climbers out.

From there we entered on to an absolutely beautiful 1,500 foot ridge that took us directly the crater rim. Climbing on the ridge was a dream for any mountaineer. It was 4th class terrain, in and out of blocks and gendarmes. With the sun coming up, it was stunning. I looked down on everybody and saw the long shadows being cast on the red rocks of the lava towers we were climbing through.

Once we reached the crater rim and started our walk to camp, once again, it was just incredible with the ice towers behind us and the summit in full view. From there, everybody rested at camp. You can imagine that people are very tired. It was an arduous climb up the Western Breach, very difficult. People really had to focus and concentrate on the climbing.

There were only a few people who wanted to go over and view the crater. People were pretty pooped and wanted to save their energy for tomorrow, of course. The crater rim was a wonderful walk. As I walked over there I realized you could spend at least three days exploring here.

From Camp 6, we’re excited about tomorrow. We’re confident that everybody is going to make it to the summit. We’ll report back then.