Climb Day 4

It’s the end of Day 4 on the World Serve Kili Climb 2011, and this has been THE most challenging day of the climb so far. NO ONE on our 44-member team will argue that point. It was a 10-hour journey that took us through every imaginable terrain and climate change, and across several huge valleys with steep ascents and descents. (We hope to post a complete photo album after the climb because words, our few daily pictures, and even the videos just can’t possibly tell the whole story.)

The good news, though, is that EVERYONE on the team made it to Barafu Camp, which is the launch-point for our assault on the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Uhuru Peak. There are a few people fighting various sicknesses, but fortunately no one seems to be suffering from altitude sickness or anything serious, just general fatigue and some other common illnesses. Please pray, though, that they all bounce back and can continue to the Kili summit tomorrow and back down the mountain with no troubles.

We left the Baranco Camp (an elevation of 12,800 feet) at 7 am this morning, just as the sun was rising. We crossed a little valley of rocks and a stream, and were immediately faced with the 1000 foot Baranco Wall. This was the most technical part of the whole climb and required everyone to listen very closely to the guides and to even grab their hands at times to be helped around some very tight rock-hugging passages. It was quite an adventure in itself and possibly one of the hardest things many of our team members have ever tackled.

Another very interesting experience today was passing through the Karanga Valley. Some of the team members affectionately called this portion of today’s climb the Valley of the Shadow of death. As we were descending through some difficult rock formations (and carefully using our trekking poles to do so), huge clouds moved in and rains made the descent very treacherous and miserable. It also got very cold and windy. It slowed a little bit as we climbed the other side and we were able to make it safely to our lunch spot at Karanga Camp.

As soon as we sat down in our mess tents to eat, the clouds blew away and the sun blazed through the top of our tents, warming everyone up. It was a very welcome feeling and just what everyone needed to face our last 4-hour stretch across a dessert-like valley and steep ascent to Barafu Camp (15,050 feet).

We were able to have a short nap in our tents and enjoy a nice warm meal with hot tea and coffee, then everyone headed to their tents for a few hours sleep before we begin our ascent to the summit. This will be the most challenging and difficult physical, emotional and mental feat most of our team members have ever attempted.
We will receive our wake-up call at 12 am, have some porridge, then begin our climb to Uhuru Peak at 1 am.

This will be 5 pm (EST) for you in the U.S., so PLEASE, wherever you are at that time be praying for the Kili Climb team as we attempt to make history and take the final steps in reaching our goal to provide water for 50,000 people in E. Africa. It’s a 7-hour climb to the summit, so you can pray all the way up until midnight (EST). :-)

This is what we’ve been training for, praying for and raising funds for throughout 2010, so thank you so much for your prayers and support. Check back tomorrow evening for another report!

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