Jun 18, 2012 | Written by Patricia Murphy

Day 10: Moir Camp to Lava Tower Camp

The hike from Moir Camp to Lava Tower Camp was an easy 3 miles from the moorland zone to the alpine zone. Rich woke with a severe nose bleed–a problem he has experienced before at home. But it’s a problem that’s decidedly inconvenient at 14,000 feet, and for a while he was very worried that this could end his summit attempt. The rest of us had breakfast and then finished packing. Then we started walking out of the narrow valley, leaving our lovely private campsite behind. Rich and Lisa lingered as they waited for the bleeding to subside.

Leaving Moir Camp.

We walked just about a mile before the trail met up with the “Freeway” and we saw the big groups again, including the smokers. Once past the big group, we could spread out and enjoy the view. As we neared Lava Tower I started getting pretty excited, because I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to climb that thing! I could see a man on the top. Let me at it! I thought. Soon we were unpacking in Lava Tower Camp, and I couldn’t wait to climb.

Unpacking in Lava Tower camp.

Finally Kapanya said it was time to go to the top of Lava Tower. Hooray! Rich and Lisa stayed behind to nurse Rich’s nose bleed. The rest of us made our way to the base of the tower. The climb up Lava Tower is mostly a Class 2/Class 3 scramble on very solid volcanic rock. There were plenty of good hand-holds. Since I’m short, I got stretched out a little bit at times.

Thanks for getting this picture, John.

But we all enjoyed getting to the top, where we had spectacular views.

Top of Lava Tower.

We were able to scream loud enough for everyone to hear us, and we could see them waving.

Camp from Lava Tower.

We had a camp to ourselves again and I really enjoyed talking to the porters and guides as they relaxed after unpacking. I decided to take some video too so you can get a sense of the camp. Here goes.

It’s interesting to hear that I’m breathing a little heavy already in this video. I forgot to mention that Larry brought a pulse/ox meter for the climb. So one of our habits in camp was to pass the thing around and make sure everyone was feeling okay. Today in camp, at 15,211 feet, my oxygen was 91 (about 7 points lower than normal) and my heart rate was 72 (about 20 beats higher than normal). From what I had read about clilmbing the mountain, these numbers were going to trade places as we climbed: our oxygen would dip as our heart rate soared. I was not looking forward to that, but I felt good that I was in okay shape so far.

So what about the run-down for the day’s trek? Here is what our information said:

Day 4 of the Hike
Moir Camp to Lava Tower Camp
4 Miles
4 to 5 Hours
Start 13,780 to 15,092
Gain of 1312

And here’s what my GPS showed:
3 Miles
3 Hours
Start 13,662 to 15,211
Gain of 1552