Day 4 - Barranco to Karanga
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Thur Jan 17th

Start Barranco Camp 9:00am 3950 m 12,956 ft
End Karanga Ridge 1:30pm 4100m 13,448ft
Distance 4 km 2.5 mi

When I got up at 4:30 for a potty trip, the stars were out, I could see the snowy side of Kibo and the lights of the valley.   I also got up a little before 6 to see if there was any sunrise to shoot - it was only marginal. It was sure pretty although the sun came up too much behind the mountain to get good light on it. I took lots of pictures.   My video battery is holding out real well - still about half its capacity left after 4 days.  I have been mostly using the B&W viewfinder to save power.  I just finished my first tape today and will about finish my first 128M memory stick also.  I am in great shape on the photo supplies.

 After a 'normal' breakfast, we got off about 9 for what was billed as a 3 hr hike to Karanga valley.  It was impressive and intimidating to look up at the wall and see people snaking their way up where we would have to go.  It looks steep.

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Climbing up Barranco Wall

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Kibo Peak from Barranco Wall

We started slowly with lots of picture stops.  It was much more rock scrambling and semi-climbing than I expected.  For me it was right at home but some of the group had problems with some of the scrambles and especially some exposure.

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Traversing narrow trail on Barranco Wall

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Jim taking a break on the Wall

It did not rain on us the whole morning and was mostly sunny - for which we were very grateful. We finally arrived on top and took a major break. Then down the other side - the descent bothers my right foot a lot - my boot is still not right. Part way down Daron began feeling sick - altitude sickness - not his knee which is fine.

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Mt. Meru viewed from Barranco Wall

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Rock scrambling

We finally saw the Karanga Valley with a few people camped down by the stream, but our camp was set up on the ridge - another 20 minute climb back up, but that is more we don't have to do tomorrow. We got in about 1:30 - making it a 4.5 hour hike - but it was supposed to be more like 3 or 3.5 hours. Daron & company came dragging in about a half hour later - Daron really hurting.  We started getting him rehydrated, Diamox, Immodium etc.  He was a bit better by lunch.  Instead of the cold trail lunch, we had a hot lunch about 2:30, which was welcome.  While we ate, a bit of light rain began which is not bad at this point.
 We sort of whiled away the afternoon with relaxing, taking pictures, etc. Tom set up a basin and shaved and then washed his hair. The sun came out here but the peak was still mostly in clouds but seemed to be tempting us. 

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Kibo coming out above Karanga Ridge Camp

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Sunset from Karanga Ridge Camp

There was a bit of a brief sunset while we ate dinner.  It was more the sun setting below the clouds rather than the horizon.  Dinner was served at 6, which was too early since it was only 3 hrs since we had a big lunch. The meal looked almost Malawian - chicken, rice, sauce, cabbage.  I tried to eat but did not have much appetite.
When I got ready for bed and was taking my pills, I decided to go ahead and start with 125mg Diamox.  Tom is the only one not taking it.  I don’t have any altitude symptoms yet but tomorrow we sleep at 15000ft. This is about the latest I could start and still be effective.

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Kibo in the clouds above Karanga Ridge Camp