Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Bucking the Barranco Wall

Today marks one week since we embarked on our adventure. During this time we've had ample opportunities to bond together as a team as well as opportunities for personal growth - there has also been noticeable facial hair growth among the male members of our group. We are really beginning to look like a rough and tough squad of mountaineers.

As we stepped out of our tents this morning into the cool crisp air of the shaded Barranco Valley, we were able to look up to see the full magnitude of the Barranco Wall. Yesterday it was partially obscured by afternoon clouds that rolled in and eventually sank over out entire camp as a heavy fog. A few members of the group were suffering from some mild symptoms of altitude sickness yesterday - headaches, nausea, etc. but fortunately they awoke feeling better this morning and ready to tackle the Barranco Wall! During breakfast I read a few inspirational quotes from Step #2 of Steps to the Summit - Live Courageously, and off we went! As we approached the base of the wall we watched the long line of climbers and porters ahead of us as they snaked their way up this steep, rocky route. Somebody commented how the porters who were carrying bags of gear on their heads resembled a colony of ants transporting their eggs.

It was our turn next and we all enjoyed the variety and challenge of scrambling up the wall using our hands to help pull ourselves up and over the obstacles. After a few hours every single one of us emerged onto the ridge above the Barranco Wall with a gratifying smile. We decided the view of the cloud covered valley below warranted a group photo and we all donned our 686 team jackets for the occasion. It was another 3 hours or so until we reached our current camp location here in the Karanga Valley at 13,125 feet.

We just finished dinner and all plan to get a good night's rest because tomorrow we hike up to Barafu Camp and leave for our summit attempt tomorrow night!!

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