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Rwenzori: To Elena Hut

   Weather the best we've seen in days. No rain is falling and there are even brief patches of blue sky. The elevation is present. Chris Korbulic has light altitude sickness. He and Hendri Coetzee decide to wait at Bujuku Hut to see if he will acclimatize or need to head down. Jesse Coombs, Ben Stookesberry and I will continue on to Elena hut and wait for them to join us the following day.

Ben on the trail to Elena Hut.

The trail to Elena Hut is considerably steeper.

Jesse climbs a ladder in the steepest section.

A quick look back at Bujuku Hut. Porters are little white dots on the bottom left. It feels like another planet up here.

What the porters go through is beyond words.

Ben taking in the view above Bujuku Lake.

Jesse walks through Everlasting flowers in the alpine zone.

They only open when the sun is out, we're glad to see them today.


Past the last short bog around 14,000',  Jeese climbs through the clouds.

Looking down on Bujuku Hut, now far below.

Rising above the clouds.

Almost there now, one last rest before the final push to Elena Hut.

The weather is dramatic and quickly changing as we get above tree line.

One quick, final climb to Elena Hut has us out of breath. Temperatures are slightly above freezing and we quickly change into down jackets.

Jesse enjoys the inspiring vista outside Elena Hut.

Somewhere closer to 15,000' than 14,000'

Ben films clouds rolling up the valley we trekked up.

   All the maps said Elena hut was at 14,900'.  It feels like it. Headaches set in for Jesse and I. Dinner is tough to stomach. My first experience with altitude sickness. The ever changing weather keeps me distracted. Snow and hail come down intermittently. Then the clouds break for a while. I step outside into crisp air and am enthralled by a thunderstorm unfolding in the valley far below. Flashes of lightning illuminate the clouds, while above the stars shine bright in the equatorial sky.

   It's too cold to spend much time outside, besides the below freezing temperatures quickly drain my camera battery. I head into the small hut for the night, wrap up in all my gear and trying to ignore the headache. All I can do is stay hydrated and hope for the best at this point, unsure of what tomorrow will bring.

On to our fourth day in the Rwenzori