It was a wonderful day today. We got started around 8:00 headed for the Lava Tower at an altitude of 4650 meters. Our Starting elevation is around 3800 meters so just a bit more elevation gain than yesterday. However it is a much better trail than yesterday and a gentler incline. Just a slow steady plod as we watch the scenery change. At this elevation we are in the alpine zone. What little vegetation there is is no higher than a meter. The day started quite cool but we were soon taking off layer after layer of clothes. At this altitude the temperature is quite cool but the sun is also much more intense than at sea level. So it is quite pleasant until a cloud passes through (at the this altitude most clouds are at our level instead of above us).
We finally made the lava tower for a late lunch. The plan is to spend a little time a lava tower and have lunch to help acclimatization (climb high, sleep low). That is one of the reasons for the popularity of this route – the up and down terrain is harder, but better for acclimatization. We suit up again for lunch and the beginning of the descent. A fairly fast an rugged descent, but not too bad. We are eager to hit Barranco camp and rest. Finally on the horizon we see the multi-color tents of the camp. Actually quite pretty for a camp. Altitude 3940 meters I believe.
Tomorrow is a big day – up the Barranco wall then on to the summit base camp.