Kilimanjaro climb – Western Breach Route
1 Arrive in Kilimanjaro Airport.
We’ll meet for an introductory briefing upon our arrival in Arusha, before transferring to the Moivaro Coffee Lodge for the evening.
2 Begin ascent of Kilimanjaro
After a good night’s sleep, we travel by jeep to the start of the Umbwe Route, at the foot of our main objective, Kilimanjaro. Being a more arduous trek than most routes on Kilimanjaro, the Umbwe has few visitors and is much more interesting than more popular trails. From the gate at 1,400m/4,590ft and with porters carrying our equipment, we set off up a good track. Eventually it narrows to become barely discernible, as we wind up through dense jungle. The rain forest is magnificent and the track a steady climb, finishing at the campsite at Forest Caves, at an altitude of 3,000m/9,840ft (approx 5 hours).
3 Climb to Baranco Hut
The route continues through forest with a good chance of seeing Colobus monkeys before rearing up on to a steep, narrow ridge with deep valleys on either side. This gives a distinct high mountain feel. The flora is unusual, including African walnut trees draped in ‘goats beard’ moss. The huge ravine of the great Baranco drops away on one side and directly ahead is the awesome Breach Wall of Kilimanjaro. At 3,000m, we emerge on to high moorland and the entire character of the trek changes. The Baranco Hut, little more than a tin shack, is reached in mid-afternoon and we set up camp (3,900m/12,790ft, 5 hours).
4 Acclimatisation and exploration
This is an acclimatisation day involving a short climb up the Baranco Wall to view the southern glaciers of Kilimanjaro. The hike provides good views of this side of the mountain and of Mt Meru. We then descend back to Baranco camp in time for lunch and a restful afternoon.
5 Climb to Arrow Hut beneath the Breach Wall
We continue up the ridge until it joins the final slopes of the volcano. We have tremendous views of the Breach Wall to the right and of our route to the summit, up the Western Breach directly above. We camp near the ruins of the Arrow Hut which is a good, level campsite (4,800m/15,740ft, 5 hours).
6 Summit day
We awake very early and are well underway by 3 a.m., climbing by head-torch until the pre-dawn light begins to illuminate the upper slopes of the volcano. We climb the steep scree and then rock that leads up past the Arrow Glacier to the crater rim. There a several sections of scrambling over the top of incredible frozen lava formations. As the sun rises on the horizon, we witness the remarkable shadow of Kilimanjaro stretching across the plains behind us, towards Mt Meru. Following the crater rim, we cross the foot of the tiny Furtwangler Glacier and then make a final steep climb up to Uhuru Summit (5,895m/19,340ft). The ascent from the camp to the summit takes between 6 and 8 hours.
The views from the summit are breathtaking; to the north stands Mt. Kenya, the second highest peak on the continent and to the west Mt. Meru. We spend about an hour on the summit, taking in the exposure and watching the clouds as they begin to form around the tips of the volcanoes. From the exhilaration of reaching the summit we continue eastwards along the crater rim, following the top of the tourist track, to Stella Point. Here, we leave the tourist track and turn down steep scree to the little-frequented Barafu Hut (4,600m/15,088ft) and on to the Mweka Hut (3,100m/10,170ft) at the start of the forest. This is a long but very rewarding day.
7 Descent via the Mweka Hut
Leaving Mweka Hut, the path descends steeply through lush green forest. The route follows the crest of a broad ridge separating two river valleys, before the path widens and leads us to Mweka Village. From the village of Mweka, we are taken by jeep to our hotel in Arusha. We have a good meal and a few drinks to celebrate in the evening.
or trip extension
In the morning transfer to the airport or trip extension.
- all meals
- transfers to and from hotel in Arusha or Moshi
- mountain tent accommodation
- climb and park fees
- English speaking, professional guide,
- full briefing,
- AAR Emergency Rescue & Evacuation Insurance
- Kilimanjaro certificate.
- Items of a personal nature such as passport, visa, traveler’s insurance
- Tips to guides and porters.