- Date: June 14, 2017
- Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp (via Barranco Wall @13838ft)
- Elevation: 12960ft to 13066ft (878ft gain then descend to sleep for acclimatization)
- Distance: 3.10 miles
- Hiking Time: 5 hours
- Vegetation Zone: Alpine Desert
Today was going to be a fun day, as we would be climbing the Barranco Wall. It is basically a steep 840 ft wall which has an undefined trail in a zigzag pattern to climb on. We started late today as we wanted most other groups to go before we would get on it. We had to temporarily `retire’ our hiking poles for the climb as we needed both of our hands free to help us climb. Our guides were there to help out if needed. It looked intimidating from the campsite but we actually had a lot of fun, except for Brinda, who has a fear of heights. I was walking closely behind her and her anxiety while climbing the wall reminded me of the time when I climbed Half Dome in Yosemite with her, when she refused to climb last section which involved climbing a 45 degree steep, granite wall with the help of fixed cables.
We kept on climbing at a slow pace. After about an hour on the wall, we reached the section called `kissing rock’ where you have to face the wall to pass a narrow section with 500ft vertical drop behind you. It wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be. Overall, we had a great time climbing the wall. It took us nearly two hours to get to the top of the wall. Tears started rolling from Brinda’s eyes, as she stated that it was one of the most fearful thing she had done. This really was a moment to celebrate, we put the music up and danced to Bollywood tunes. The view from the top of the Barranco Wall was the most incredible thing we had witnessed so far. We were now above the white fluffy clouds. The scene underneath us looked like something you would see from an airplane window. We took plenty of pictures here and fueled up our bodies with some snacks.
The next three hours to the campsite involved climbing up and down two large hills and a final steep ascent to the Karanga campsite. We made it to the campsite at 3:30pm with a slow but steady pace. Everyone did good today with the pace and stayed together. Hot lunch of soup and omelettes with vegetable and potatos and fruit salad was waiting for us. Most of us had a loss of appetite and it was getting really hard to eat. Dharmesh got chills and a fever- same as what I had last night. He took some advil and went to the tent to take a nap. Reshma, I, Arnav and Milly hung out in the mess tent and played cards. I later went back to my tent to relax and to catch up on my journal. This was most picturesque campsite of all- with dense clouds just underneath us and the views of the summit on the other side. There was a large boulder at the campsite and if you climbed on it, you could actually get cellular signals. Arnav and Milly climbed up and made phone calls to home.
The Milky Way got clearer at night as the clouds parted. You could see lights from many cities after the clouds beneath us cleared. It was the most breathtaking night of the entire trip.
Roti, vegetable curry, and soup was ready for dinner at 7:30pm. Lodrick was there at dinnertime and he made sure we all ate, especially all three kids. He kept reminding us to take more food and also to finish it all from our plates. Tomorrow would be the summit night and he knew that we would need all of our energy to survive that long, strenuous ascent. It was a cold night, so we bundled up in our sleeping bags.