When we got up, there was frost everywhere, which wasn't unexpected given how early it had become frosty the night before. On the flipside, there were great views of the sunrise onto Shira, and there were no other campers at Moir Hut, so we had the whole area to ourselves. Neither of us was very hungry, but we ate anyway, and then got on our way. Just before we left, two of the porters left - this was the only photo we got of the whole group. One of them had not been feeling well (lots of coughing), and so he and one other person headed down the trail together to the area we had seen two days earlier.

It was fairly steep leaving Moir Hut, heading southwest. Even at the elevation we were at (roughly 4500 meters, almost 15,000 feet) there was a substantial amount of Buffalo feces, but no buffalos. [Given their personality, we're not sure whether this was good or bad.] After awhile, our trail met up with the trail we would have been on had we simply gone straight from Shira 2 to Lava Tower. Shortly after that, we joined with the Machame Route, a much more heavily used route than Lemosho. At this point, there were substantially more people on the trail. One of them was a young French lady who was (ostensibly) travelling with her mother, but who had left her mother - and her guide - behind. She was wearing a sleeveless shirt and had on makeup - she could not have looked more out of place. She also kept going the wrong direction, and Joseph saved her from taking the wrong trail multiple times.

On the walk, there were great views to both the south and the east, with many good panoramas. We finally understood what hill/mound Lava Tower was - Joseph should have just told us it looked like a shoe. He'd tried to point it out to us several times the prior days, but we could never figure out exactly what he was pointing at. Well, it looks just like a foot or shoe [bottom right of picture above]. Most people go there for lunch, but since we were heading up the Western Breach - as opposed to walking around the south via Barranco - we would be camping there. We had chosen to go up the Western Breach because Justin's friend and former co-worker Jen swore by it. She had climbed it 4-5 years earlier, and also went on the Lemosho route. When Justin talked to her afterwards, she heartily endorsed it. Also, since very few people take the Western Breach, it seemed like we'd see less people going that way. When we arrived at Lava Tower campsite (4627 meters, 15,180 feet) it was incredibly windy, much more than any of our other camps. We saw one group setting up a lunch tent, and they gave up and moved locations.

Where our group had set up (a little further to the northwest), there was only "half" of the wind, which was still a ton. We got there just before noon. It was now cold enough that Justin broke out his balaclava, which made him look like a ninja. Unbelievably, there was a dog near the lunch tent. Who knows how it got there, but it was getting food from the lunch folks. We were worried it was going to stay there and get too cold, but thankfully it left - presumably for somewhere warmer - in the mid-afternoon. We spent our afternoon reading, napping, and drinking water. Justin was reading about the mess in the Rwanda and the DRC, which was even worse than he previously believed.

For our acclimatization hike, Joseph wanted to go up Lava Tower. We looked at the trail and nixed that. If we weren't going up the peak in two days, we might have tried it, but we were concerned that we might slip and fall coming back down, and didn't want to do anything to jeopardize our chances of summiting. Instead, we walked up the path we'd be going the next day, towards Arrow Glacier camp. The walk up was nice, with good views, small streams, and Kibo being front lit by the setting sun. The walk back was a bit more treacherous, and we kept slipping on the scree. Since we thought we'd be climbing Lava Tower, we hadn't brought our walking sticks. Thus, ironically we'd probably come closer to slipping and falling by not climbing Lava Tower. But we made it back okay, just before 6.

At dinner, Crystal wasn't hungry, and Joseph read her the riot act about needing to eat so that she'd have energy for going up the Western Breach. So we both ate, but ate in a way an 8 year old eats his peas. It was cold and windy in the tent, and we were both fiddling with the sleeping bags with numb fingers. The sleeping bags had separate fleece liners inside of them, so it was basically a sleeping bag inside another sleeping bag. The liner had the zipper on the left, while the sleeping bag had the zipper on the right. Getting into them was hard enough with good light and warm temperatures, but in the dark and with numb fingers, it was an ordeal. We were frustrated and angry but also laughing at the absurdity of the situation. Justin summed it all up by stating matter-of-factly "camping sucks." After each of us got out to use the toilet tent one last time (and into the sleeping bags one last time), Justin said "If I have to pee again in the middle of the night, I'm just going in bed." And so ended the night (the statement, not peeing in bed).