Westboro Beach, Ottawa, Canada.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Ottawa, Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Reuniting with Max in Germany on October 1st.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Kilimanjaro Day 4 - Barranco Camp to Barafu Camp 15,330' altitude

This is day 4 of our Mt. Kilimanjaro hike, and if you're just checking in with us now you may have missed day 1, day 2, and day 3. You really should read them first!

Because of the upcoming bad weather, it was going to be a long day. We were going to skip right by our originally planned stop at Karanga Camp, and continue on up the mountain to the Barafu Camp where we would spend the night at 4,673 meters (15,330 feet).

First thing we had to do was conquer Barranco Wall.

Our guides Kobby and Shalali wanted us to get an early start, so we were up at 6:00am, and we were hiking by 7:10am.

Ruth, standing outside our tent at 6:15am.

Barranco Wall is a steep cliff that is 257 meters (843 feet) high. It's the first thing you have to climb when you leave Barranco Camp. It's a part of the trail they call "monkey business" because you often will use all four limbs to get up it!

I wish I had taken more pictures of this part of the trail but I was too busy using all four limbs to climb! It was probably my favorite part of the trip!

Ruth, heading up Barranco Wall.

No hiking poles for this part of the trip!

One of the reasons Kilimanjaro is popular is because it's the only one of "the seven summits" that doesn't require much in the way of technical climbing skills. It's mostly a hike. A very steep, very long, and very difficult hike, but just about anybody can do it if they set their mind to it.

Looking down at a waterfall in Barranco Canyon.

The Kissing Rock.

So called because of how close you have to get your body and face to the rock as you pass this narrow section.


My turn!

Kissing the rock!

Almost at the top of Barranco Wall.

It's hard to imagine, but remember that the porters also have to do this route, carrying all the stuff that they do. They are truly amazing!

What a view... and look at that clear blue sky.

Ruth with Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Me, at the top of Barranco Wall.

Gorgeous scenery.



We got to a point where we could see Karanga Camp and it didn't look very far away. But Kobby said we had to go down and back up a valley in order to get to it.

Well that added another hour or so to the hike!

Looking back at the valley we had to go through.
Clouds starting to move in.

We made it to Karanga Camp just before 11:00am.

Our porters had already made it to Karanga Camp ahead of us, and because of the change in schedule and the long hiking day, they set up our tent and fed us a hot lunch!

Table set for lunch.

Once again, they made a ton of food with fried chicken and chips and veggies and fruit. And they get mad when they think you don't eat enough, so we were stuffed. But, we were also expending a lot of energy.

It was maybe 12:30pm when we headed out again. By then, the clouds that had moved in had opened up and it was raining. So I didn't take many photos on this section of the trail.


It was an uphill climb for about three hours. Kobby and Shalali said we made pretty good time though and they were pleased with us.

It was like hiking on the moon.

Heading uphill.

Arriving at Barafu Camp.

Barafu Camp is at 4,673 meters (15,330 feet) altitude and is the final camp before heading to the summit at 5,895 meters (19,350 feet). 

The warning sign above is real. If people are going to have problems with altitude this is where it will begin to happen. As I've said before, it's not a joke that people die on Kilimanjaro, and it usually has something to do with ignoring the signs of altitude sickness. It's the main reason that we did everything we could to acclimatize by hiking Mt. Meru last week, and drinking lots of water. Our guides also test our heartrate and blood oxygen level every day.

At this altitude, the air is getting thin. At the summit, there is only 49% of the oxygen that is in the air at sea level. Just doing basic things that you don't normally think about has you huffing and puffing.

Made it to Barafu Camp at 3:10pm.

The guys already had our tent set up, with popcorn and hot ginger tea.

The view out our tent.

Now, let my tell you what was going to happen next!

We had just completed a fairly strenuous 8.5 km (5.3 mile) hike that gained about 724 meters (2,300 feet). We would now have an early supper, and then go straight to bed. Try to sleep for about 5 hours and then get up at 11:30pm in order to start hiking again at midnight. And this would be the toughest part of the whole trip... a six hour uphill slog to do 4.5 kms (2.8 mile) that gains another 1,219 meters (4,000 feet) during the summit attempt to 5,895 meters (19,350 feet).

Coming up next!

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28 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, we are glad that you are enjoying our pictures and posts from this fantastic trek.

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  2. Why do you have to start hiking at midnight?

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    Replies
    1. There are a few reasons... I'll explain in the next post.

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  3. Fabulous adventure! Love the way you are telling it. Your descriptions of what is happening are great. Thank you for sharing

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    1. It has been a great adventure for sure and yes, Kevin is doing a great job on being very descriptive in relating everything that we are seeing and having to deal with while on this trek. We are really happy to hear that you are enjoying our pictures and posts. :-)

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  4. I can hardly wait for each new installment.

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    Replies
    1. Lol, Kevin is trying to do them as quickly as possible! :-)

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  5. OMG I am literally on the edge of my seat!!!

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  6. I feel my heart racing with the excitement of your climb!
    Simply amazing.

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  7. Were you weighed before and after? Just wondering how much weight you may have lost.

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    1. No, we were not but we both know that between the Mt. Meru hike and this hike our pants are way too baggy! We really did try to eat until we were full while we were on both hikes but we were definitely expending more calories than we were eating.

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  8. You 2 are true adventurers! Look forward to more adventures. Rawn Stone

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! We do like to try and push ourselves to our limits, somethings though I think we take on more than we should.

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  9. This is so exciting the way you are telling each day’s happenings. Think our blood pressure just went up reading this!!!

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    1. We are so happy that you are enjoying our posts. Kevin is definitely doing a great job on describing everything that we are seeing and dealing with on this hike and what he misses the pictures capture. :-)

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  10. Your hike has been awesome! Good Luck on the final push. Can't wait to read your next post.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Paul, it really has been an awesome hike. Summit day was a killer though!

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  11. If ever decided to do this ( and won’t), the Kissing Rock would been the end for me! Uh uh, no way! I admire you both!

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    1. Lol, the Kissing Rock really wasn't bad, it looks worse than what it was. I am usually nervous with sections like that but I ended up having no problems with that section.

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  12. Wow, amazing scenery and challenging hike!!

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    1. The scenery was ever changing and yes, a very challenging hike although I do have to say that we really had no problems the first four days of hiking, it was summit day that was the really challenging part!

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  13. Oh my! My heart was raising as I was reading this! I know for sure I wouldn’t hike Kili even if I was younger...too many steep and breath taking trails for my comfort! Lol! That kissing rock part just about did it for me! My admiration for your stamina during this hike grows each day. And it’s truly a great blessing to have those amazing guides and porters with you! I can’t imagine going without them.

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    Replies
    1. There are a lot of people out there who would not want to do the Kilimanjaro hike, although not all the routes are so steep and narrow. Actually even climbing the Barranco Wall isn't as bad as it looks. ;-)

      Yes, you definitely have to have lots of stamina for this hike, especially for summit day. It is certainly a tough hike!

      It was funny because we said to our guides that we couldn't do the hike without them or the porters, and they said they couldn't do the hike without us, the clients, lol!

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