One of the perks of climbing the Western Breach was the chance to explore the top of the mountain and camp just an hour or so below the true summit, Uhuru, at Crater Camp (18,800 ft.).
The summit plateau itself is like walking around on the moon and you can stroll right up to the glaciers and touch them if you wish. We were very gentle with the ice, of course, because the “experts” say it will be gone by around 2015. Like the glaciers in Wisconsin 30,000 years ago, they are, indeed, leaving us for whatever the reasons and when I’m even older and grayer I will cherish the photos of me standing next to them.
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The upward stroll to the top of the cinder cones that surround the Reusch Crater was easy in the mild wind and moderate temperatures even at 18,500 ft. compared to the riggers of the Breach climb. We could have walked down to the crater and looked in but we didn’t fancy re-climbing the cinder cones to return to camp. These same cinder cones protect the crater from being seen from the summit.
Once our walkabout was completed our guide told us to get out of the sun and wait for dinner. Yea, like I needed an excuse to rest my weary bones but all it took was a glance out of the tent to remind us we were in a very special place.
The Western Breach is closed now but there are some outfitters that will take you up from Barafu during the day an enable an overnight in one of the most unique campsites in the world.