Day 4 (Sept. 5, 2005): Rest Day at Moir Camp


Trip Participants
Selecting the Route
Guide/Trekking Company
Training for the Climb
Gear List

Travel to Tanzania
Pre-Climb Orientation
Day 1: to Forest Camp
Day 2: to Shira 1 Camp
Day 3: to Moir Camp
Day 4: rest day at Moir
Day 5: to Lava Tower
Day 6: to Arrow Glacier
Day 7: Western Breach
Day 8: Summit day
Day 9: Descent

Safari After the Climb

Hiking  Distances
GPS Coordinates
Contact Information

I had a great night's sleep last night (even though I did have to get up to pee a half dozen times), and woke up feeling great. Our schedule called for us to spend the day and tonight at the Moir camp to help us acclimatize to the altitude. The plan for today was to climb up the neighboring Lent Peak, a hike with about 1,000' elevation gain and lasting about 3 hours.

That morning, my oximeter readings were something like 89% oxygen level, and a pulse rate of 84. Rick felt much better at breakfast. Kevin felt pretty bad after breakfast and stayed at camp when we left for our hike. (Eventually he felt better, and hiked 2/3 of the way up to the peak by himself. We met him on our way down.)

We climbed a ridge to the north of camp, on a trail of loose dust and scree. The hike was 2.2 miles and reached an elevation of 14,450' at the top of Lent Peak. Our path arced around to the north and then to the east of the peak, to approach it from the east. Once we climbed over the initial ridge, the landscape was very rugged with volcanic rock. Charles led today's hike, with Elias at the rear.

After reaching the base of the peak, there was a 10 minute scramble (of perhaps 150' elevation gain) up the large rocks. It was not a very difficult climb, with only one place requiring you to concentrate on your footing and hand holds. Charles told us that the scrambling sections of the Western Breach would be similar to the scrambling that we did today. (This was a pretty accurate comparison, as it turned out.)

I ate a Power Bar at the top, and everyone else had their snacks. I didn't feel any altitude effects to speak of, but felt pretty fatigued on the way down. By the time we reached camp, I had a  headache and mildly upset stomach. I took an Advil, and the headache soon went away. Almost as soon as we got into camp, they called us to lunch. This started with a grilled cheese, tomato, and green pepper sandwich. My 1/2 sandwich didn't agree well with me. The next course was pasta shells with a somewhat spicy "vegetable soup" over it. I felt no desire to eat any of it, and had only a half-dozen bites. I did eat one of the small bananas for dessert.

My symptoms since reaching the top of Lent Peak now started me to worry. I had exhibited two of the early signs of altitude sickness, namely headache and loss of appetite. I decided that I would start taking the diamox, just in case these were signs that I wasn't acclimatizing fast enough. (I didn't want to come all this way and get within four days of the peak, then to fall victim to altitude sickness. If the diamox was "extra insurance" for making the summit, I would take it.) That made three out of the five in our group who were now taking the diamox. Elias was happy each time one of us told him that we had started. (He had asked us at every meal if we had started taking it.) Rick and Pauline were the only holdouts now remaining.

At dinner that night, I ate 1 1/2 pancakes with honey, some potato / leek soup, and some spaghetti without the sauce. I had a better appetite, but wanted to stick with the blandest food that I could get.

There were two other groups staying at Moir camp that night, and they were both very loud. Eventually Elias went over to their camp sites and told them they needed to be quiet. There is a park service rule that the camp sites have to quiet down after 9 pm. (That sounded good to me.) I got a good night's sleep that night, despite having to get up to pee at 9, 11 pm, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 am (seven times, a new record).



Copyright 2005. Michael E. Coltrin, Albuquerque, NM. All rights reserved.