July 6, 2012 was our hike to Kibo Huts (final base camp) where we would eat and rest up before heading out around midnight for Gilman’s Point and then the summit. The hike to Kibo Huts (4700 meters or 15,420′) began with the mighty slopes of Kibo swallowing up the fast setting full moon. During our morning hike we had good views of Mawenzi Peak which is the 3rd highest peak in Africa. As the day wore on and we gained in elevation we found our eyes becoming closer to level with it’s top.
Today’s hike was a far more difficult day for me than the acclimatization hike the day before. I was back to heavy panting again, having to stop frequently for air during the day. This was not a good sign for the ascent to Gilman’s Point and the final push to Uhuru Peak, the ultimate top of the volcano. I could only imagine what midnight and beyond would reveal to me. I began to wonder if I was going to make it or not. I was determined to give it my best shot, but without risking my safety or the safety of others. As long as I could catch my breath, I knew I would make it, but it would be at a slower pace than last year. Guide Bruce offered to take my pack which I gladly gave to him. Look for him in one of the photos below. I easily made it to Kibo Huts last year with my pack. Something continued to be amiss with my blood oxygen level.