The day starts with a wake up call at 7:15 a.m., and a cup of sweetened steaming coffee in the tent. Breakfast is hot porridge, fried eggs, mangoes and white bread. The weather is cooler, and I'm wearing two long sleeved shirts. At 8:30 a.m., we start a very steep climb of 3.8 miles up to 12,740 feet before dropping into Shira Camp at 12,500 feet. (a altitude gain of 2,750 feet)
Porters constantly pass on the ascent, other hikers are from Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and India. In our group are three women in their sixties, two men and three women in their forties and fifties, and two women and one man aged 18-22.
I am fighting a cold, so took a decongestant last night, which I am now discovering was a big mistake as I am dehydrated. Also didn't want to use the toilets during the night, so didn't drink enough water.
Fingers of mist linger along the trail. Portions of the boulder lined path require rock scrambling, and I make sure not to look to my left where the mountain sheers off at an alarming angle.
I reach Shira camp about 1:30 p.m, and collapse in my tent. I downed 3.5 liters of water on the hike. After drinking more water and eating some glucose biscuits, I muster up the energy for tea and lunch.
Lunch is soup, garlic macaroni and cheese, vegetable salad and sambosas (pastry triangles filled with vegetables). Dinner is soup, chicken, rice, white bread, salad and crepe-like pancakes (yum).
I'm feeling significantly better. The buzz of the camp is the western style toilet - an outhouse with a seat.
Our guide estimates four hundred people are in camp tonight.