DAY THREE: Wednesday December 8, 2010
Mawenzi Tarn (4,330 metres)
Well, no one prepared me for this. As we headed for Mawenzi Tarn, we have had to fight our way through blizzards and cope with unexpected bitter cold. The snow is not settling on the ground, thank goodness, but still the conditions are very difficult and unpleasant.
The guides tell me this is most unusual, but that is not much consolation. I brought my sun-block with me, but clearly that’s not going to be needed. We have sent a message down to out base camp to bring up thicker gloves, hand warmers and more heavy clothing.
I was expecting it to be cold and snowy, but not so soon. One thing is clear – it’s going to add to the difficulty of the climb, but we are all in good spirits and the difficult conditions have brought us even more together as a group.
We should have been walking above the cloudline at increasingly high altitude, but we really have no idea what is around us. There are no views, we are walking through thick mist unable to see more than a couple of metres ahead.
After four hours of trekking, we reached Mawenzi Tarn campsite, situated right underneath the dramatic and jagged spires of Mawenzi, in a protected hollow and next to a tiny lake. There were supposed to be superb views across the saddle to Kibo, but sadly we have not been able to enjoy that.
After our lunch we were supposed to be going on an acclimatization walk where we went up and down the mountain to get a taste of an even higher altitutde, but we have had to cancel that. It would just be too difficult and too dangerous.
Climbing high and then returning lower to sleep is an important part of allowing our bodies to get used to the altitude, but we are not going to be able to do that now. We have been playing charades to keep our spirits up. It’s not what I expected, but you have to get on and cope with whatever you find.
Dont forget to sponsor the team and help us reach our fundraising target, at www.laureus.com/get-involved/kili