I wake up early and assemble all the helpers at the kitchen so that breakfast is prepared early enough as we are going to have a long day. We set up the table and by 7 am breakfast is ready. I wake the climbers and show them to the table. It’s quite a meal comprising of tea, coffee, hot chocolate, pan cakes , cereals, sausages, eggs and fruit.
Our hike today will take us to the Shipton’s Camp for dinner and overnight. The camp is 12 kilometers away and takes up to 7 hours to get there. Its elevation is 4,200 metres. Before the climbers are done with breakfast the helpers fix something for themselves and me. Meanwhile I brief the climbers on the day’s program. In a few minutes time the helpers are all set. Some of them come with me since this is a long day and some climbers might need assistance. Before we leave, I make sure that the picnic lunch is well packed and kept handy.
The sun is already getting hot and I have to get everyone moving before they get lazy! Before leaving, I point out the main summits of Batian, Nelion and Lenana as they are now visible. To get to Shipton’s Camp we are going to take the trail which passes through Mackinders Valley as it is easier. As of now I can already see an ant line of porters both from my team heading up towards Ontulili River. Its 7.30am, and I now summon the climbers and we start our way up on a gradually deteriorating track. After an hour I call for a short water break. After traversing over the next two ridges we stop at the top of the last ridge to have our picnic lunch. We enjoy the breathtaking views of the snow-covered peaks as we take our lunch.
After lunch we descend into the spectacular Mackinder`s Valley following its eastern side for about 7 kilometers to Shipton`s Camp (4,200m) which is a bunk-house directly below the peaks of Batian and Point Lenana. On arrival I book everybody in and show them to their room. As the climbers settle down, the helpers are busy setting up the table and in a matter of minutes hot drinks and soups are served. After this I do a debrief on each of the climbers and exchange views on the day. I also stress again that Shipton’s Camp is a good place to spend two nights and have a rest day to help acclimmatise.
I also take this chance to emphasize again that eating right, wearing right and drinking right is the best medicine for mountain sickness. After this I request every climber to check their luggage to make sure all is in one piece. At this point, darkness is fast approaching and the weather is becoming colder and colder. We need some warm layers at this point. I can see all the helpers busy in the kitchen with all the stoves burning at top speed, I eventually join them and make sure that dinner is ready on time. For this night, dinner includes fish, mashed potatoes, green peas and lightly boiled vegetables. Before long, everything is set on the table and it’s time to enjoy dinner. After dinner fruits are served followed by hot water for those who want more tea, coffee or chocolate. As the climbers are enjoying their dinner the helpers are cooking their own local stuff. Once they are through with dinner, water bottles are filled up with boiled water and when the temperatures drops further everyone scampers to their bed. Goodnight everyone!!