To Dr. Anghelescu (Med Sport Clinic), who helped me to walk again and to our friends Andreea Popa & Dumitru Buda.
We start our ascent in Buea, the hub for guide and porter hiring, where we stock on supplies and food. We will follow the shortest, steepest way up, the Race Track. This is the path taken during the annual race to the top, that famously logged in a stupendous 4 hrs. record! The route will take us through 4 distinct geo-climateric zones: tropical rain forest, savannah, alpine and finally steppe.
The 2 of us plus Delphine, Jacques, Edmond the guide and porters Mahindi, Jonas & Ibrahim start the climb at 10.30 in the morning.
We climb the first 500 m through plantain farms. When we finally entered the forest, the air is cooler and there are beautiful tropical flowers and birds.
We take our first break at 1500 m in the 100 yrs. old Hut 1. Our lunch: sardines and bread.
Hours later we are climbing the steepest part: the path is covered in high savannah grasses and in petrified lava.
At New Hut (1800 m).
Stunning scenery. Perfect clouds are tumbling down into the abyss.
Jacques & Delphine
A little after 6 p.m. we hit our target. We reach Hut 2 (2800 m) where the cold wind blows us into the shack. We gather around a steaming pot of Indomie and spaghetti, then we cuddle in or sleeping bags and tent.
At 4.30 we have to wake up, eat our disgusting chocolate sandwich and blindly follow Edmond towards the summit. Only me, Ana and Jacques chose to continue, and we are rewarded with the most amazing sunrise of our lives. The day slowly opens into an explosion of new colors and the birds offer an exclusive concert of delicate music.
Strange trees covered in moss appear from the ghostly layer of fog.
At Hut 3, at 3800 m above the sea level. Unfortunately Ana was forced to forfeit the ascent here, because of an acute headache.
Me and Jacques climb the final 300 m through a weirdly lunar landscape and breathing becomes more difficult with every step we take.
The Earth curvature is clearly visible from the top.
ITW is on the summit!
P.S. The Race Track is a difficult choice. We carried for days our wounds: solar burns, bunions, blisters, cuts and swollen nails. A longer - 3 or 4 days track may be a wiser option, but we are pround and happy to have conquered another dream.