Clean Water Climb – Day #4

July 5, 2012 was an acclimatization hike form Cave #3 campsite to School Hut where we hiked from 12,946′ to 15,528′. This was a great acclimatization hike. We would actually get a bit higher than Kibo Huts where we would start our final ascent in a couple of days. I actually felt a lot better today. I had more energy than the day before, I had no headache, and my sinus congestion was lightening up. My right ankle was not bothering me much at all. My heavy panting was not nearly so much as the day before, though I did experience some of it. I was very thankful that the worst of my respiratory problems seemed to be behind me and it couldn’t have come at a better time – before the final ascent. However, that evening, our guide, Bruce, was wondering why I was experiencing the shortness of breath so much more than the rest of the team. He pulled out an oxymeter to check our blood oxygen levels. Mine was significantly lower than anyone else’s. Mine read 78% blood oxygen level. The rest of team had around 88% blood oxygen level – 10% higher. This was disconcerting to say the least.