Day 4, Tuesday : Baranco Camp > Karanga Camp (4,100m)
Baranco camp was busy and tension ran high. Today we’d be tackling the infamous Baranco Wall – a 257m zig zag scramble on the next stage of our journey.
The Great Baranco Wall is known locally as ‘breakfast wall’ as it’s the first thing you have to face when you set off after breakfast on day four.
In order to beat the crowds, Ken delightfully informed us we’d be waking at 5am to start our, by now, standard routine – coffee, wash, dress, pack, breakfast, water and kit check and ready to leave camp at 6:30am.
At 6:30am we were all ready – we’ve all got this morning routine down to a tee. The sun was just waking up as we set off.
As we left Baranco Camp, the porters jumped into action to get everything packed up, passing us shortly after on the single-file Baranco Wall track to beat us to the next camp.
A few of the group were feeling nervous. We’d heard about some pretty horrific accidents to have occurred on the Baranco wall, given its single file nature and sheer drops. We were all on guard.
Ken had encouraged the stronger and more confident members (in the fast group!) to help out some of the more apprehensive members (from the slower group) – and this really helped.
I was joined by Roger. It was the first time I’d really had the chance to chat to him properly and we shared our stories. I told him about our journey with Rosie and he shared heart-breaking details about the loss of his lovely wife, Rhian, to cancer.
This helped us both massively by taking our minds off the wall we were scaling and after, both agreed we’d been very grateful to each other for this. What an incredible guy. He was out with five other people and between them they’d raise over £56,000 for the Prospect Hospice. WOW!
We reached the top and took in the views – the summit seemed so much nearer today and for the first time I looked at it square in the face and knew I could do it. Maybe it was the clear view, serene atmosphere, positive vibes or warm weather? Whatever it was, I felt energised and had really enjoyed the scrambling adventure.
We stopped for a group photo, snack and rest before continuing on our way to Karanga camp. We’d set off so early that we arrived at the next camp by early afternoon and had the rest of the day to relax. The clouds had descended and for a few hours we were plunged into dense fog.
The afternoon was calm. No longer were we constantly reminded of the task that lay ahead, for the first time since we arrived we had time to sit, relax and chat.
Later that afternoon the clouds dispersed and the sun broke through, there she once again majestically reappeared towering over camp.
I felt confident and ready. Everything had become easier. My bags were lighter as the resources depleted. I was wearing more clothes so there was less bulky things to pack, I’d got a better bag packing system in place too and given away things I knew I didn’t need. Everything was clear and simple.
I was ready to open the second of the envelopes my wonderful friend Hannah had given me…
Inside this envelope was the most wonderful, inspiring and motivating message from Hannah, coupled with messages from my old school besties and a photo of Iain and Rosie! They were just what I needed and fired me up even more – such a wonderful and thoughtful thing to do – thank you Hannah and friends!
We all sorted out our tents, grabbed a hot drink and just sat down to admire the view. Tomorrow would be our last day ascending in the daylight. The trek to the summit was a little over 24 hours away and we were all very excited.
The night drew in and the stars emerged. Viewing the night sky is one of my favourite things to do at home. I can stand outside for hours just looking, watching and waiting – it’s surprisingly active if you’re patient! The night sky here is a hundred times more delightful. Truly one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. There is no light pollution at 4,100m high (odd that!), and so the stars are just awesome, so bright and clear that you can see further and deeper into layers of stars than you’ve ever seen before. It’s just so mind blowing in the most spectacular way and I wish my camera had been good enough to capture it.
We had dinner and were just retiring back to our tents when my stomach turned …Oh God! The camp had fallen silent relatively quickly, just a few laughs could be heard with the odd flickers of light seen within various tents. I was with the girls; Emma, Gemma and Alisa and explained my unfortunate predicament.
Bless them, they were so lovely! They came with me to the portaloo (to be fair something we all did together anyway to stand guard, pass toilet roll, hold down the door in the gusty wind or phones and hand gel and just make sure people weren’t in the dark by themselves), and within seconds, Gemma had her phone out, playing music and, along with Bobby who had also joined us by now, sang and laughed and covered for me – thank you ladies, I truly appreciated that one!
We all went to bed excited. This time tomorrow we would be preparing for the final stretch to the summit. Ten months in the making and tomorrow would be it!
Read the next blog post: Part 5 – Reaching the summit
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