Saturday, 1 August 2009

Day Seven: Kosovo

I didn't have a great night's sleep at Karanga camp it was really cold and I kept waking up feeling freezing. As a result I was slow to rise and pack up my stuff.

Semjon had made a point of speaking to our chef before breakfast to ensure that the porridge was of acceptable thickness and was all smiles when it arrived piping hot and syrupy. I really appreciated Semjon's efforts, as the hot porridge really kick started my internal motor, which hadn't really got going this morning...

We walked between about 8:30am and 1pm today from the Karanga camp (4100m) to Kosovo camp (4900m). Kosovo camp is not in the guide books, as it is now effectively an illegal camp. It was widely used around the mid 1990s (hence the reference to the Yugoslavian conflict), but is no longer used because it does not have toilet facilities, etc. Most tours use the Barafu Huts (4600m) as their base for the summit climb. However, Bruce was able to 'arrange' for us to camp at Kosovo.

The walk to the Barafu Huts and then up to Kosovo is pretty hard going, especially the very steep section between Barafu and Kosovo. We are the only group at Kosovo Camp. Its a really great camp. It has stunning views of the roof of Africa in all directions and is very quiet compared to the Barafu Huts, where almost a hundred tents are scattered around. We are also really glad that we do not have to make the 300m climb from the Barafu Huts to Kosovo in the dark - its very steep and rocky and definitely requires more climbing than hiking skills.

We had lunch at 2pm - makeshift spaghetti bolognese. We then shared out all our remaining energy bars equally (we will be hiking for about 12 hours virtually non-stop so we will need plenty of energy snacks throughout the night / morning) and checked our clothing for tonight's climb. We are now all resting in our tents. I am finishing this blog entry while the others are sleeping.

We will eat dinner (a boiled potato concoction, which Semjon is not looking forward to) at around 5pm. We will then try to sleep until around 11:30pm when we will put on our multiple, multiple layers of climbing clothes in preparation for starting the summit climb at midnight. We are all feeling good considering the high altitude (the highest we've been so far). Semjon is "great!", while Paul and I feel pretty good under the circumstances. We both have a slight headache. I just took some Nurofen and will now try and get some rest.

We start our climb today, Saturday 1st August, at around 10pm GMT (5pm EST). We hope you'll be thinking of us and are sure that you will be wishing us the best of luck...

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