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The climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro  
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Route Planner

 
Route Map of Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest freestanding mountain on the planet. Kili, as I like to call it, is also the largest volcano ever to erupt through the Earth's crust. This climb will ascend through 5 climatic zones beginning in a tropical rainforest, and then we will ascend through alpine moorland, across the desert plain, up through the snowfields and glacial landscapes to the highest point, Uhuru Peak. At that point, we'll be standing at 19,341 feet (5,895m) above sea level. Following the triumph of reaching the top of the mountain, we will descend into the crater and spend the night. We can expect very cold temperatures in this pit. Following this unique addition to our journey we will begin our decent down the mountain.

The climb won't be easy, after 10,000 feet, the risk of altitude will be ever present, fatigue can set in. Such symptoms as a headache, dizziness and nausea is likely, severe in some. I have read it is pretty much a crap shoot who gets the worse symptoms, and who doesn't. On our 7th day we will summit, during the day. This is somewhat unique in that other breaches usually begin at midnight, hiking through the night and reaching the summit early in the morning. We will summit in the middle of the day and hike in daylight. This is when some of the best scenery will be visible. It is also when the temperatures may be warmer but the sun will be hotter. Click here for the current temperature on the top of the mountain.

Lemosho Route

The route we have chosen is a more challenging and the most dangerous path. The Lemosho Route, the western breach, is the most scenic route up the mountain, from the first day to the last. It is also the longest of six routes, granting panoramic vistas on various sides of the mountain, and also providing the most time for acclimatization. We will also be accompanied on the first day by an armed ranger, as the forests around the Lemosho Glades are rich in buffalo, elephant and other big game animals. 

Click Here to read the latest regarding the dangers of the Western Breach.

We will begin our expedition at Lemosho gate 7,400 feet above sea level or 2,256 meters. Trekking to Forest Camp at 9,255ft.(2,821m) where we will spend our first night. On Day 2 we will make our way to Shira 1 Camp 11496ft (3,504m). We will likely make an acclimatization ascent to up to Shira Peak 12,988 ft (3,959m), then spend the night at Shira 1 Camp. The next day we will push to 13,631ft and Moir Hut (4,155m) by way of the Shira Cathedral. Day 4, takes us to Shira Cave at 12,621ft (3,847m) by way of Lent Group intended for better acclimatization. From Shira Cave it’s up to Lava Tower at 15,229 ft (4,642m). Planned is an additional acclimatization excursion part of the way up to Arrow Glacier Camp. On Day 6 we will leave our overnight camp at Lava Tower and make our way all the way up to Arrow Glacier Camp 15,980ft (4,871m). After making another acclimatization excursion, we will spend the night at Arrow Glacier Camp before navigating the Crater Floor 18,782ft (5,725m), then ascend to the peak of the mountain (Uhuru Peak at 19,340ft (5,895m)) then back down to camp at Crater Camp 18,795ft (5,729m). We will spend the night with a small lightweight support team in the crater at 5729m after summitting Kilimanjaro. The following morning we launch excursions to a number of fascinating and rarely seen features within the crater from the Reusch Ash Pit at the crater's centre, to the rapidly retreating edges of the northern and eastern ice fields. This is a truly unique opportunity. Then our team will descend from Stella Point 18871ft (5,752m) to Barafu Camp at 15,357 (4,681m) to Mweka Camp 10137ft (3,090m). The last day, Day 9 we will leave Mweka Camp and exit the mountain at Mweka Gate 5383 ft (1,641m).

Team Kilimanjaro, our guides, advise us and are very clear at the outset that with regards to the dangers associated with high altitude, there is a small but significant risk of developing severe AMS or pulmonary or cerebral oedema, amongst those overnighting in the crater. In order to best minimize this risk we summit first prior to sleeping in the crater, thereby ensuring that we observe an imperative principle of acclimatization, 'climb high, sleep low', at this critical altitude.

We were also made aware that amongst those requesting to spend a night in the crater; around 20% change their minds while on the mountain after consulting with the guide and agreeing that they have failed to obtain a sufficiently safe level of acclimatization for this option. You would need to be aware of all of these considerations before moving ahead with a crater excursion request.

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Other Routes:

Marangu Route (Coca Cola)

The main tourist route and by far the most popular route and some claim the easiest route to Uhuru Peak. The 5-day option, which is available on this route, makes it the least expensive route on the mountain. A 6-day option with an extra day of acclimatization is however also available. This is the only route, which provides comfortable sleeping huts, equipped with beds and mattresses at every campsite. Mineral water, soft drinks, beer and chocolates are also sold at every camp. All the camps on this route have radio contact with the Park Headquarters.

Machame Route

This is probably the most scenic and most beautiful route to the summit. The 6-day route is however physically more challenging than the Marangu route. The day walks are longer and steeper, however the summit night is one hour shorter. The scenic traverse of the Western Breach offers some stunning views! Only tented accommodation available, which can be less comfortable and will require a good sleeping bag and hiking mattress.

Umbwe Route

This route is one of the shorter but also one of the more difficult routes to reach Uhuru peak--but quiet spectacular. Umbwe is known for its caves. The first night you actually sleep at the Umbwe Cave Camp with two more caves that can be visited on route the following day. Also sometimes used as a descending route.

Shira Route

The Shira Plateau is one of the most scenic and most fascinating areas on Kilimanjaro. Depending on the weather conditions you can drive by 4 wheel drive vehicles, to within a 1/2 hours walk of Shira Hut (4000m). Even this drive is very spectacular indeed and offers some magnificent views of Mt Meru and the Great Rift Valley in general. Game is often sighted and the road features some striking vegetation changes ranging from forest, grassland, heath to moorland. The fast ascend by vehicle to about 4000m will require additional acclimatization, after which it will be possible to ascend Uhuru Peak either via the Western Breach or via the Barafu hut.

Mweka Route

This route can only be use as a descending route for all the western routes.

Rongai (Naro Moru) Route

You can start this route from both the Tanzanian side of the border or from Rongai in Kenya, but all park fees and arrangements must be made at the Marangu gate. The route may only be used for ascend and the Marangu route must be used for descend. There are several big caves along the route, which are used by the porters to overnight for the first two nights.

Western Breach / Arrow Glacier

An alternative final ascend route which can be taken from all of the western routes, sleeping at magnificent Arrow Glacier on your summit night. The western Breach poses a very difficult walk up steep scree with some rock scrambling occasionally required. Snow cover makes scree easier but an ice axe is then required. It is also possible to sleep an extra night inside the Kibo Crater!

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