September 25th, 2012
The French people left at 2am. We saw their headlamps when we were packing up our tent. I can’t believe these people climbed the wall! They all roped up and it took them a long time but they did it. I admire them greatly. We got up to the crater at around 9am. Very cool place. As usual I had my “Kick Butt” tapes on my cassette player. They really help through the tough parts. The sun was shining up here and brought much needed warmth. There are great places to ice climb with all the huge ice walls of the crater.
We walked around the crater and scouted the way to the main trail. Wilson was trying to get us to go up a shorter way that looked steep and dangerous. We wanted to go up the regular route, which was longer but far safer. We made a long crossing to the regular trail and headed up to the summit. The total time for the climb up was 6:23:42. The regular route up was very easy compared to the wall and Stand and I just cruised up! I was even singing Bohemian Rhapsody near the top playing air guitar with my ski poles! Wilson was feeling the altitude as he kept stopping and all the time.
When we got to the summit a couple of Japanese climbers were leaving. The guy didn’t look very well. We started pulling out the flags for the summit photos and Wilson said it wasn’t allowed. I said too bad we were going to do it anyway then we took tons of photos. After about fifteen minutes we were headed down. We ran into some Scottish guys who were really pissed-off at their guide. They were taking some “military route” and I think it almost killed them. Further down we saw the Japanese with their guide. The guy had cerebral edema and didn’t have a clue where he was and was staggering. We wanted to help and ask about the whereabouts of their other guide. We located him a bit further down the trail. He didn’t seem to care about the client. He asked us if we had a “biscuit” that we could give the sick man. Really tragic if this guy doesn’t make it because of sheer apathy. We sent our assistant guide down the mountain to get help much to the dismay of Wilson.
We continued down the Marangu route (the tourist route) stopping at Gilman’s point to take some photos. Stopped at a cave for lunch. I was really hungry and completely out of water. The trail is scree all the way to the Kibo hut. The hut is around 16,000 feet. There is no water or firewood here and the porters must bring all of it. What a boring route it must be going up. It’s culture shock seeing other people again, we only ran across one group on the other side of the mountain. Actually these people look out of place on the same mountain. Most of the women have their hair all nicely done. I look like hell. My hair was matted down and I looked like I just rolled down the scree in my bibs. Most of “climbers” on this side looked like they were extras in the “Night of the Zombies”. Everyone seems to be walking around very slowly with the look of a bad stomach ache and headache written all over their faces.
We checked in with the so-called caretaker who looked at our paper and pointed “way out there” to camp. We took a look and there was really no place to put a tent up on the steep rocky hill. We came back and found a better place closer to the trail. The caretaker guy came out yelling at us to go down in the valley.