We awaken to a beautiful day. After yesterday's hard work, it’s only four hours to the Arrow Glacier campsite (4 900 m). We feel good and have no doubts that we can overcome the 1km vertical drop without any problems.
Our helpers are at their best. Such breakfast, we really did not expect. They are skillfully covering the white tablecloth with all kinds of goodies. Pieces of mango followed by hot semolina porridge with honey, then eggs with toast and butter, vegetables...We sip the morning tea and coffee from delicate porcelain cups.
After such a lavish feast it will be difficult to start-up our engines. Indeed, it turns out that this was Eugene's tactic. But the contract clearly says that tomorrow we'll sleep in the crater of Kilimanjaro, so Eugene ceases his protests and limits himself only to frequent calls to slowdown. While hiking, he keeps repeating his Swahili mantra – “polepole”!
In sharp sun we slowly leave the Barranco Camp (3 940m). In the nearby main campground we can observe a true human anthill. Dozens, if not hundreds, of people with loud shouts and bits of military songs encourage themselves before stepping into the demanding Barranco Wall, some 300 m high right above the camp. Everyone heads for the Barafu campsite. Nobody proceeds in our direction. The first third of our route leads through a big valley (the Great Barranco Valley) and we follow the trail that leads the streams of people to the Barranco camp. All those who wish to make at least a part of the Southern circuit around the highest mountain in Africa (South Circuit Path). We meet only one group of talkative Americans who look somewhat skeptical at our endeavour. They simply cannot understand that our ascent goes in the opposite direction. We are gradually diverting towards right from the main path. We cross the Umbwe brook and head straight to the mighty Breach Wall.
The trail above the Arrow Glacier campsite, which we chose for getting to the crater, used to be closed in the past due to the danger of falling rocks. Back in 2006 a few tourists have paid the highest price for their flippancy. The wall looks calm, but with the rising sun one can increasingly hear echoes of booming bangs.
After less than four hours, we reach the camp. There are only two tents. One large and one small for clients. For water, it is necessary to walk some 800 meters to the glaciers: Little Breach Glacier and Big Breach Glacier, which run down the Breach Wall. We look forward to watching the dusk from the nearby small rocky promontory that offers marvellous views.
As we have not much to do after completing our logbooks we go for water. Lada and I carefully take it from pretty muddy streams. Back at camp we run it through a filter. Our carriers apparently have the impression that their service is not good enough to us. But this is not the case. We are just bored and so need some activity.
While watching the sun going down Lada and I contemplate the possibility of climbing up the wonderful Messner´s line. Given the condition and thickness of ice we agree that it’s out of the question. Maybe at the start of the season shortly after the rainy period the key icefall is in a better shape, but now - just impossible!