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Climbing Kilimanjaro

Umbwe Route

The Umbwe Route is one of the seven main climbing routes to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. It is known for being the most challenging and steepest route, but also the most scenic and picturesque.

The route starts at the Umbwe Gate, which is located on the eastern side of the mountain. From there, climbers trek through dense rainforest vegetation for the first day, until they reach Umbwe Camp, where they spend their first night.

The following days involve steep and demanding climbs through rocky terrain and occasionally scrambling up sections of the mountain. The steepness of the route requires good physical fitness and a strong mental determination.

One of the highlights of the Umbwe Route is the Barranco Wall, a challenging rock scramble that provides exhilarating views of the surrounding landscape. Climbers also pass through the Lava Tower, an impressive volcanic formation.

The summit attempt is usually made from Barafu Camp, which is reached on the fifth day. From there, climbers start their ascent in the early hours of the morning to reach the summit of Uhuru Peak, the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro.

The descent is typically done via the Mweka Route, which offers a different and more gradual trail back to the Umbwe Gate. The entire trek usually takes around 6-7 days, allowing climbers to acclimatize and adjust to the altitude.

6 Day Umbwe Route Itinerary

Day 1: Umbwe Gate to Umbwe Cave Camp
– Drive to the Umbwe Gate (1,800 meters) and complete registration.
– Start the trek through the rainforest, ascending steeply on a narrow trail.
– Reach Umbwe Cave Camp (2,850 meters) and set up camp for the night.

Day 2: Umbwe Cave Camp to Barranco Camp
– Resume the trek, continuing through the forest before entering moorlands.
– Ascend steeply to Barranco Camp (3,950 meters) and set up camp.
– Enjoy stunning views of the Barranco Wall and the surrounding valleys.

Day 3: Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp
– Climb the Barranco Wall, a steep scramble that requires some technical skills.
– Trek along the ridgeline, descending into the Karanga Valley.
– Set up camp at Karanga Camp (4,035 meters) and rest for the night.

Day 4: Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp
– Ascend across alpine desert terrain, with fewer plants and more rocks.
– Reach Barafu Camp (4,640 meters), the final camp before the summit.
– Rest, hydrate, and prepare for the summit push.

Day 5: Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp
– Begin the summit attempt around midnight, climbing in darkness with headlights.
– Ascend slowly and steadily, making your way towards Stella Point (5,745 meters).
– Continue to Uhuru Peak (5,895 meters), the highest point in Africa.
– Descend back to Barafu Camp for a short rest, then continue to Mweka Camp (3,100 meters) for overnight.

Day 6: Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate
– Descend through the rainforest, following a well-marked trail.
– Reach Mweka Gate (1,650 meters) and complete the necessary paperwork.
– Transfer back to your hotel in Moshi or Arusha for a celebratory dinner and a well-deserved rest.

Due to its challenging nature and steep terrain, the Umbwe Route is recommended for experienced and physically fit climbers. It is less crowded compared to other routes, providing a more secluded and adventurous experience.