Day 4 – Shira (12,500ft) – Lava Tower (15,190ft) – Barranco Camp (13,044ft)
From Shira camp we would turn east, skirting the mountain to push for the summit from the east. We climbed through the rocky, barren terrain to Lava Tower, a volcanic formation at the high point for the day, before making a difficult descent into and back out of a steep valley.
This was a day to observe the ‘Climb High, Sleep Low’ doctrine of acclimatization, with a sharp rise in elevation followed by a descent to lower altitude to sleep.
This was a long day, and we were relieved to crawl into camp at dusk to doff our packs, clean up, and enjoy some hot tea. It was today that I encountered a couple of small blisters on my feet that proved easily manageable thanks to the blister bandages provided by my tent mate Jason. People were great about sharing, and as we all seemed to have brought different things, whatever was needed was usually to be found.