Day 5: Machame camp to shira camp
Leave the Machame Camp, cross a small valley, and begin our ascent. The environment changes from heath forest to moor lands. These moor lands are littered with two species of giant groundsel, senecios and lobelia. Halfway up the trail we meet a river gorge and ascend across the Shira Plateau (12,300 ft.). We sleep at Shira Camp.
Day 6: Shira camp to Barranco camp
Today we climb to 14,800 ft. while crossing a ridge and viewing the plains far below. Here we eat lunch and admire the ancient glacier ice of the Breach Wall before dropping to our 12,800-ft. campsite at Great Barranco.
Day 7: Barranco camp to Karanga valley
We climb up and over the Great Barranco, topping out at about 14,500 ft. before dropping to our camp at the Karanga River at about 13,000 ft. This completes another day of acclimatization as we pass below the famous Breach Wall, the largest ice and rock face in Africa. The Breach Wall climbing route, known as “The Icicle,” was first climbed in the early 1970’s by Reinhold Messner. Daytime temperatures can reach 80 degrees F, while evening temperatures often drop below freezing.
Day 8: Karanga valley to Kosovo camp
From the Karanga River we climb about five to six hours to our High Camp at Kosovo (15,600 ft.). As we wind through beautiful and rarely traveled regions, we enter a high desert plateau, littered with volcanic boulders. Looking south, we view the desert plains as the pinnacles of Mowenzi Peak tower before us. At Kosovo, we prepare for the summit attempt. We spend our time packing and preparing for the early morning, 2 a.m. departure.
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