Hiking Time: 14 hrs
Total Distance: 27km
Starting Altitude: 4700m
Final Altitude: 3720m (via 5895m)
Habitat: Stone Scree and ice capped summit
Day 4 actually is a continuation of Day 3 with a few hours rest before beginning the ascent at midnight. It is strange to hike at this hour with a headlamp and four layers of clothing on. Less than 100 meters up I feel queasy and earn the “first to puke” game. I realize that I am just too warm for the conditions and once I loosen a layer or two I’m good to go. We travel at this crazy hour as the fine ground is frozen and is easier to traverse. The climb is pretty much an 1100 meter straight up and it is probably just as well we can’t see too much or we would be out of there is a flash 🙂
At 6 AM we reach Gilman’s Point, covering a distance of only 4 km since midnight, just as the sun is coming up. We made it! We are pretty exhausted and energy levels are not exactly overwhelming but there are two more milestones – Stella’s Point (half hour) and then onto Uhuru Peak (another hour) – a further 210 meters in elevation. The air is so thin that the steps you take between breaths is less and less but you trudge along.
We finally see the famous green sign ahead but is it another one of those mirage moments we experienced the past week. How far away is it really? Are we finally here? Finally, high fives all around as our goal is achieved.