8am- Heading for Barafu camp today, which is base camp before we begin the final ascent. Lovely clear morning, dry and sunny. Everyone beginning to acclimatise now, so we’re all in good spirits and feeling well. Six hours walking to base camp at 4600m/15100ft. Great views. Favourite day so far. Arrived 1230 for lunch- hot potato stew. Afternoon siesta and evening meal then another rest before getting up at 11pm to prepare for final ascent.
Wake at 11pm for a cup of tea and leave at midnight. Full moon, so headlamps not needed. Very hard, very cold climb. Guides singing the whole way to keep up morale. Reached summit at 6:20am in time for sunrise.
Extremely windy, several groups don’t make an attempt to the final summit. Two who do are a ten-year-old boy and a woman in her seventies with an oxygen tank! Several individuals clearly unwell with altitude sickness and needing assistance to descend.
Thumping headaches and the extreme cold meant we could only spend a few minutes taking pictures before beginning a rapid descent back to base camp for an hour’s sleep, before descending further to Mweka camp at 3100m/10,100ft. It felt like the world’s worst hangover- headache, nausea, fatigue. Nothing a couple of paracetamol and a couple of hours sleep couldn’t sort out.