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African time. Asking a guide how many minutes to go is like asking
how long it takes to walk to the moon. We joke about it with the
guides later, but when you don’t live by your watch, the concept of
15 or 30 minutes is meaningless.
Dinner is wolfed down and communications are a big subject of
discussion. Phone and data access is proving difficult. In bed by 8.30pm.
Day 3: 3500 to 3900m (acclimatise to 4400m)
Tea at 6am never tasted so good. Mild headaches and tingling fingers and
lips are the only signs of altitude sickness among the team so far, and apart
from the snoring, all have slept well.
Set off at 9.30am. My flu is now at its worst and I stay at the back of the
group. This is the first time I experience my whole face tingling and going
into spasm; my eyes are heavy and the going is slow. Thankfully we only
walk for three hours to make camp at 3900m.
We are now in what is called alpine or highland desert. There are few
bushes except for tufts of tussock and the mountain looms large above us.
The view over Kenya is stunning.
We sleep for two hours then head out on a two-hour-and-40-minute
acclimatisation walk to 4400m, which is tough on everyone. One climber,
Samara, is in tears when she reaches the top, and on the way down
another member of the group, Steve, checks for his keys over and over –
he knows he doesn’t have them, but is unable to stop.
A quick change and dinner. Everyone is more familiar with each other
now and dinner is a big laugh, yet for the first time people are expressing
doubts. Steve is given anti-nausea pills before bed. The night is freezing
The final trek down
on summit day.
One of the porters for the trip.
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