At 10 pm we had to get up. We drank some tea, ate some biscuits and got into 5 layers of different clothes, scarves, caps, gloves against the freezing temperature at 4600 m and expecting some more rather cold weather at 6000 m.
At 11 pm, with our headlights on, we were ready to climb another 1300 m until sunrise. All started very well. The first 100 m were steep but feasible. The same for the next ones and also the following ones. So we hiked our way up to the summit the whole night. The path was a little steep, snow on both sides, and the ground was deeply frozen. Feet and hands got colder and colder, temperature was around minus 15 C and slowly we could feel that the air got thinner and thinner.
On the last little 100 m to the rim, at 5700 m, Monika decided that she would no longer have any power to continue. Of course, not because of altitude, but because she always claimed that the hike was the aim, not the summit. She felt like having drunken a whole case of rotten grapes and 5 bottles of whiskey on top of it. We had to go a little slower, reinstall her will to survive with some hot tea and a frozen Snicker. Finally she agreed to postpone suicide and to go on; nevertheless she seemed to be a little bit funny, needing some assistance to keep her steps on the path.
At the end she was surprised that she stood in front of the signboard congratulating her for having reached Stella Point on the rim of the Kibo Crater – and that even before 6 am. Nevertheless, there were much more serious cases than Monika’s. Some persons received oxygen from bottles, thus looking a bit like divers or astronauts; other only arrived at Stella Point by noon or even later, some didn’t make it. Therefore Monika rather had to be considered a species under close observation than a serious case.
Martin still had no signs of altitude related disorder, even not a head ache. Of course this was not very encouraging for Monika, happily she did not really realize it; she rather concentrated on another half of a Snicker with hot tea. At that time we were still pretty optimistic that no permanent damage of Monika’s current situation would occur due to lack of oxygen. In the meantime the Snicker sneaked her up again, another 30 minutes to Uhuru peak.
Now on the top of the crater, no longer steep, just a smart path on the glacier, paired with a wonderful sunrise, that even Monika saw. Sorry guys in Lesotho, the Kilimandjaries call this the Roof of Africa – maybe some competition to your similar roof – please just sort out this small issue between the concerned parties.
Around 7 am we reached the peak. Took the usual photos to proof our presence in front of the signboard, took a lot of other photos nobody ever wants to see and started our way back to more sustainable living conditions. We still had to descend of nearly 3000 m to avoid mountain sickness.