September 25th, 2012
Midnight. Fifth day of trekking. We climb up the side of the mountain in a single line, one after the other, following our guide whose pace is slow and steady during the first part of the path, the only light around the lamp he’s carrying with him. The path is well outlined, zigzagging for about one kilometer. We need to ascend a huge wall made of gravel and pumice-stone that makes our climb even more difficult and some of us start accusing strong headaches.
Finally on top!!! Congratulations to all of us!
The peak is right on the opposite side of the mouth of the crater, Gillman Peak, so we need to go around the caldera for several miles, going downhill but more often going uphill, walking against the freezing wind. At 5:15am we finally reach Uhuru Peak, “freedom peak” at 5895 meters just on time to view the sun rising. The sky is clear above the sea of clouds below us that hides the lowland down under. The glacier, or at least what is left of it, is leaning against the side of the mountain and works as a beautiful background (Statistics say that it will be totally melted by 2015). We start our descent walking along the edge for about half hour. Thirty more minutes are needed to walk the distance from Gillman Peak to the Kibo shelter and we need to move jumping from side to side on the steep wall of the volcano.
We have just conquered the second highest peak in the world. After resting for about an hour, sipping hot tea to warm us up, we now head toward the Horombo Shelter.