Kilimanjaro 2

Kilimanjaro 2 – 2nd Cave Camp to Mawenzi Tarn Camp

Kilimanjaro 2 is the second part of the expedition to climb this African mountain. Mt. Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano in Tanzania, East Africa. It has 3 volvanic cones – Kibo at 5,895 metres/19,341 ft, Mawenzi at 5,149 metres/16,893 ft and Shira at 3,962 metres/13,000 ft. Mawenzi and Shira are extinct while Kibo is dormant. The last major eruption on Kibo has been dated to 360,000 years ago, with the most recent activity around 200 years ago.

After my experience with altitude sickness during the trek to the 2nd Cave Camp, Charles the leading guide, advised me to take some of the medication I had brought on the trip. This was the drug Diamox, which was taken to eleviate the effects of altitude. Although the prescription stated two per day, Charles told me to take one in the morning and an Aspirin at lunchtime to help thin the blood. 

This is an image of Mt. Kilimanjaro photographed in Kilimanjaro 2.Diamox certainly helped on Kilimanjaro 2, and the difference was noticeable when the effects of the drug wore off. From the 2nd Cave Camp we ascended only 150 metres/492 ft today, to the Kikelewa Caves Camp. This small difference in height gained was a big help in acclimatisation and we were at the camp in time for lunch in the mess tent. After lunch and a short lie down we climbed a further 200 metres/656 ft. as a further aid to acclimatisation. We added an acclimatisation walk at the end of each day, from the first camp up to the final camp at Kibo.

The idea was to climb high and sleep low – the climbers maxim.

Our 4th day on Kilimanjaro 2 entailed a climb of 730 metres/2,395 ft to the Mawenzi Tarn Camp, a lovely spot by the towering Mawenzi Peaks. This again proved difficult for me and also affected my daughter-in-law with nausea and headache. Again, after a bite to eat and a rest, we took the acclimatisation climb but this time trying our Altox oxygen systems. Although helpful, I still had rapid breathing problems, which unfortunately never left me during our time on the Kilimanjaro mountain. I was also suffering from periphal endema – swelling under the eyes, which did recede after taking the morning dosage of Diamox. Fortunately, my son and daughter hardly suffered from the affects of altitude sickness. In fact my son was eating for the 4 of us, such was his appetite.

Tomorrow would be our push to the last camp at Kibo on Kilimanjaro, so an early night was again welcome. 

Related Content:
Kilimanjaro Part 1  
Kilmanjaro Part 3
Kilimanjaro Part 4


Kilimanjaro 2 — 3 Comments

  1. Bill,
    I am not a fan of drugs in general but I have to admit that they do have their time and place. If they got you up the mountain, then I’m all for them. Curious about the details of the days on the trail. It looks like a fairly even and gradual ascent (and rather monotonous). Is there more variation in both trail character and scenery than might appear from your pictures? What kinds of change in the vegetation happens as you get higher? Haven’t noticed any trees in this installment. Is there any game on the mountain?
    Looking forward to the grand finale.

    • Ralph, I don’t know what I would have done without the Diamox, altitude sickness had me feeling like I had a bad dose of flu. It was indeed a gradual ascent but after hour upon hour it did become monotonous. The scenery started with cultivated land, then forest and soon moorland without much feature. The higher ground then became alpine desert and then a lunar landscape.

      I have walked on much better tracks in the UK and Europe but Africa is what it is. As for game, we were told that Eland inhabited the higher altitude zone but none were sighted. The only other sign of game was Buffalo tracks and dung in the lower moorland area.

      • Bill,
        What can I say. Climbing the mountain and reaching the top is the reason. You can’t have everything.