High base camp

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Barafu in Swahili means “ice.” The name is given to Kilimanjaro’s high base camp where ice and snow are always possible. Barafu grips a hog’s back, exposed to weather on all sides. As viewed from above, colorful tents cluster along the trail that runs through the center of this last stop before “the roof of Africa.” Inside this scatter of gossamer fortresses, trekkers capture sleep or make preparations for an assault on Kibo’s summit.

Obstacles that stand in their way include loose scree, boulders, high winds, sub-zero cold, five kilometers of switchback and scrambles, and about 4,100 vertical feet. By themselves, these obstacles are not that difficult, but taking them on at extreme high altitude (anything over 18,000 feet) adds a new layer to the physical challenge that has carried the climbers to this point.


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Our team of four reaches Barafu Camp on a brilliant day. We nap for a few hours and wake up for a summit attempt before midnight.

If you are a pastor, church leader, or educator who is interested in leading a trip to the lands of the Bible, let me hear from you. I partner with faith-based groups to craft and deliver outdoor academic experiences. Leaders receive the same perks that other agencies offer, at competitive prices, and without the self-serving interests that often derail pilgrim priorities.