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Kilimanjaro Retrospective Part 2: Shira

Day #2 of the climb
Machame camp to Shira Camp (3,890 m/12,760 ft); 10 km/ 6.2 mi

Machame Route on Kilimanjaro

No one slept terribly well last night. The first 6,000+ ft gain in altitude from town to Machame camp made many of us a bit breathless and nauseous. And the excitement of the first night of the trip, anticipation of things to come, didn’t help. The night sky was clear with thousands of stars, and Kibo‘s snow cone almost glowed in the dark. Dawn brought warm sun and we basked for a while during breakfast before setting out.

The weather didn’t last for long! As we set out through the exposed in the heath zone (an area of mostly shrubbery) and began climbing, the clear sky turned to rain and hail. By the time we reached the lunch stop, many were soaked (despite Gore-Tex and all the high-tech gear). Leonard was almost hypothermic and Sylvia pretty much resolved to abandon the climb and return to the hotel. Fortunately, a little food, some dry clothes salvaged from the bottoms of our packs, and some hot tea lifted their spirits. Everyone pressed on and as we reached the Shira Plateau, the weather began to clear.

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Shira is the smallest crater of Kilimanjaro.  Shira Cathedral and Shira Needle, among other stunning jagged peaks, are separated from Kibo by a saddle called the Shira Plateau.

To be continued…

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