Climbing Of The Whiskey Road On Kilimanjaro

The morning came...again... and since we were in a valley, it was light way before the sun actually started shinning on that area. Everybody in the camp was awake but noone really felt like moving along since it was still cold. Of course, that all changed once the sun started shinning and the mood of the crowd changed to a more cheerful one. Our guide did not bother tell us much about the trek for this day. He simply showed us that "Tomorrow we will go that way" but used such a large hand gesture that he covered about half the mountain. I (Alex) thought to myself that there should be one way or another to go around the big wall in front of us but no... the road simply had to go through there. It was the Barranco Wall, the one the camp got its name from. Looking at it from the front it looked like...well... a wall so... How do you trek on a wall? The answer is simple. Pole-pole. One foot at a time and less than 20 minutes later we seemed to leave the camp behind already.

Barranco Camp, Mt. Kilimanjaro (TZ)

The path meanders like a snake up to the edge of the Barranco Wall. It's very narrow and there are hundreds of people eager to climb it. It's extremely crowded and every 20m to 30m we need to make a stop in order to make space for the porters behind us who hurry to reach the camp long enough before their clients get there. I (Georgi) look for a second towards Barranco Camp and what to see. There is no trace from all 500~600 people who camped there. 

Only the green roof of the "check-in" hut is to spot. 

Whisky Road, Mt. Kilimanjaro (TZ)

One would think that it is just a walk in a park, a park with a mountain in it but I (Alex) actually started breathing heavilly when the road was still flat. I  am not sure whether it was because I was very fit (not), from the smoker lungs but I know for sure that sometimes I was breathing so hard that I needed to drink water just because my mouth was dry from the breathing. Naturally, Georgi was just enjoying this...walk in the park. The hike in itself was not hard but the lack of oxigen was making  me get all sweaty and dizzy very fast. 

Luckily, taking breaks was no an issue since we hit rush hour on this wall. Just imagine two hundred people climbing the same wall on a path that was wide enough for just one person.

Alex, Mr. Kilimanjaro (TZ)

Once we finished with the wall, our guide congratulated us for finishing THE breakfast. We had breakfast two hours before in the camp so it did not seem to make sense but as it turns out, "Breakfast" is the name of the wall. Why?, would one ask. Because it seems a lot of people leave their breakfast there, our guide tells us. Not us...we are too stingy to waste the food :)

Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Alex & Georgi, Mt. Kilimanjaro (TZ)

You have to understand one thing. My boots were heavier than Georgi's... I swear... and that is the only reason I could not jump as high as we could for the Whiskey Road celebration picture. As for the pose... thank you Georgi for posting this picture....   

Georgi: "Well, there was a better one, but you (Alex) look kind of gayish there. So, decided to keep your masculine image"

Just in case we managed to get you confused, Whiskey Road and Breakfast are the same thing. Maybe some people had whiskey for breakfast. Unfortunately, we did not think about taking a bottle with us on the mountain. For sure that would have made the camp life more interesting. 

Karanga Camp, Mt. Kilimanjaro (TZ)

From there, the trek seemed to be simple. Just descend. But let me tell you something, when you have black toenails form a previous trek, descend is a lot more painfull than ascend. I (Alex) was very scared because my doctor told me that too much effort and pressure on the nails might make them break and I would need to pull them off on the mountain. How much fun would that be? On a dusty road, with sweaty feet and a lot of pain from the broken nails, one would need to pull them off, stop the bleeding and somehow continue walking. This thought gave me nightmares to the level that I was actually descending like a 60 year old (actually there were 60 year olds what were descending at a better rate than me). Luckily we reached Karanga Camp 3963 meters masl without any incidents. It was actually close to noon and a lot of people were having lunch.

 

After making 1 hour break I (Georgi) got bored and start walking around Karanga Camp. Moved by my curiosity naturally took  my camera. You can notice mostly porters around...cooking, carrying parcels here and there, really active guys. Then the mountain crows attract my attention. They soar the sky just like eagles.  But a crow is  a crow. They grow big and exist thanks to the waist left from all muzungus (white foreigners). 

Porter with Water Canister

At the entrance of the camp i found several porters carrying 20l water canisters. It turns out the water spring we surpassed on the way to Karanga camp is the last one till the end of our Kilimanjaro climb. We have about 3 days till we reach the next spring.

From now on we have to be extremely cautious in the water usage.

The porters spend huge effort to bring the water from the last spring located 1h away to Karanga camp.

Kilimanjaro Porter

Let me introduce you an average Kilimanjaro Porter:

-age: 19
 -education: none
 -salary: 40USD per month (80USD if he gets fat tip)
 -name: no body cares
 -dream: became a Kilimanjaro guide
 -life philosophy: keep smiling

Check-in, Karanga Camp, Mt. Kilimanjaro (TZ)

Two Friends

Thompson Crew

As you might recall our crew consists of 8 people. However, in this picture you can see 4 cooks (out of 19th men crew) supporting the luxurious climb of ONLY 2 rich westerners. But no matter what is the comfort level, everybody needs to be strong & lucky enough to climb the mountain.  

Karanga Camp, Mt. Kilimanjaro (TZ)

Martin

This is Martin - our waiter. Yep, we had one.
He is extremely silent and we barely talk. Martin is interesting person. Whenever he wants to encourage us to have dinner or anything like that, he approach us really slow. Walking step by step towards our chairs, if we happen to be seated, while keeping his huge hands in his pockets. Then he knees down or bows to be at the same level with us and  with very deep voice says "hand washing" or "dineeer". Big respect...and in the same time scary. The look in his eyes can make anybody freeze. 

But Martin has big heart. 

Josephat

Josephat...our guide.

Whenever we ask him "Josephat, can we do this..." he replays "Hakuna Matata" (no problem). 
Then Alex challenges him: "How about that, can we do it?" And then again we get the same answer "Hakuna Matata". Josephat never reviels completly what will be the next day challenge, but somehow we always end up happy. His smile is highly contagious.

Hakuna Matata

In Kilimanjaro there is light like this... 

Sunset at Karanga Camp, Kilimanjaro (TZ)

and like this.... 

Twilight, Karanga Camp, Mt. Kilimanjaro (TZ)

good night