Day 3 – Shira Camp (First Acclimatization Day)
Settling in at Shira camp today, I became more conscious of one benefit of climbing in the off season. With almost no other groups on the mountains, we had no sense of crowds on the mountain, encountering only a couple of smaller groups the whole time on the mountain. We also had our choice of sites within the camps and had Shira camp almost to ourselves.
With a dramatic view of the summit above, and the valley, lowlands and Mt. Meru below us, we rested or hiked during the day. It became clear that with a line of sight to the cities of Moshi or Arusha below, a cell tower signal was usually available and some began to send texts to family over the next few days.
The social aspect of the climb was more apparent, as we gathered in the tents, some playing cards, some reading, most drinking tea or Milo chocolate malt beverage. Shira camp was distinguished by spectacular views, with the clouds setting off the surrounding ridges and Mt. Meru in the distance. We all took a lot of photos here.
Like most of the major camps, there was a ranger’s hut and a helicopter pad (used for rescues) nearby. I thought of making the short hike over, but never did. At all the other camps we were required to individually sign a log book at the Ranger’s hut.
The effects of altitude were very apparent here. Like all Kilimanjaro camps, Shira camp is on a pronounced slope. While the altitude wasn’t a problem moving across or down the site, on a couple of occasions I forgot the altitude and moved quickly up the slope and would spend some time struggling for breath.