Sunday, February 13, 2011

Kili Day 6.2

Mweka Camp
Kili Day 6.2, 29 Jan 2011

I awoke from my nap refreshed, but still with a mild dull headache.  Several members of the group puked on the way down from the summit and now we were in a hurry to get lower.  Going up may be hard, but I think descending can be more painful.  Especially when you descend 5,000 vertical feet in less than five hours.

The alpine scree and boulder fields gradually gave way to Heather and scrub brush as we descended a ridgeline trail.  By the end of the day we were back in the rain forest, but luckily it wasn't raining.  The constant pounding numbed my two big toes (different than the Diamox tingling that would affect your hands, feet, and face) but in the seven-day trek no one in the group had any blisters.

"Billy Goat" celebrated back in camp with Kilimanjaro beers, Jack, and cigars while I downed a Sprite, more Milo, and popcorn.  I was glad to sleep on flat ground again and everyone felt much better below 10,000ft.  Worn out from the day everyone crashed early and slept soundly through the night.

While we descended passing groups shared some bad news from the mountain.  The night we summitted a man died from altitude sickness and two others broke their legs and had to be carried off the mountain.  The fatality was a man who started the climb sick, and against medical advice, decided to sleep on the mountain despite acute altitude sickness.  Our group was very fortunate that we all summitted and descended without any injury or problems beside mild altitude sickness.  Usually once we puked we felt better!

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