If you are in the peak of your prowess and conditioning, have relevant climbing experience and importantly have the mental reserves to back your physical claims- then attempt the Umbwe Route.
Umbwe Route takes its reputation as the most challenging route very seriously and would give you nothing. The only promise it holds for you is to put to test every ounce of you, on the way to giving an adrenaline-fuelled adventure of a lifetime.
Not Meant For Rookie Climbers
Approaching the summit Mount Kilimanjaro from the south, Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route is the shortest, steepest and most direct route to Uhuru. The quick ascent means you will have very little time acclimatize. Amateur and inexperienced climbers, please stay away! The rapid ascent will take you out even before you have begun.
Low Success Rates
The high degree of difficulty means a very low level of success rates. As a consequence, the route is free from the crowding by trekkers. But those who have what it takes get to immerse in the breathtaking sights including primal rainforest, beautiful Senecio forests, narrow rides, heavenly heathens.
Also make your ount Kilimanjaro Climbing more significant with the Best Time To Climb Mount Kilimanjaro and Things To Know Before Climbing Kilimanjaro. For more information, you can go through the Mount Kilimanjaro FAQs.
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We begin the day by driving to the Umbwe park gate at 1650m, where you will meet your guide , porters and cook who will be your constant companion on your trek to the summit. After making your way through villages and banana plantations the trail takes off sharply on a forested track which winds up the dense rainforest and follows through on a narrow and steep climb on a ridge between two rivers surrounded by huge trees. The steep and steady climb will be accompanied by scenic views of the montane forests and lucky spotting of black and white colobus monkeys. You camp for the day will be set up in the forests among the lichen-covered trees.
Ascending further you will negotiate a short steep section to make your way through the montane forest and enter into the giant heather zone. So you will notice the heather thinning out and a much rockier section emerging as you close into the campsite near the Barranco hut (3950 m)
Today it is about resting and acclimatizing. The last couple of days have been intense and as you continue gaining altitude it’s important that your body gets used to the rarified atmosphere and depleted oxygen levels. You can take a walk and survey the area and click a few photos. You can hike up some distance and then fall back to sleep in your tent to give your body the climb high /sleep low acclimatization benefits. The area for your campsite will be the heather moorland and you will see the beautiful senecios and lobelias. You can see a few birds gathering around the campsite and the four stripped mouse foraging for food scraps.
Today you will be ascending the steep and intimidating Barranco Wall. The ascent of the steep Barranco Wall, will be less climbing and more a scramble on all fours and after negotiating a few more hills and valleys you will make a sharp descent into Karanga Valley campsite at 4100 m.
From Karanga valley, we head to the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail and continuing a steady ascent on a rocky trail we reach the Barafu Hut bringing to end a 600m trek. The desolate barren rocky landscapes isn’t a friend of the crew as there are only a few areas where they can put up camps. At this point, we have finished a round-up of the southern circuit and from Barafu, you can see soak in some great views of the summit and Mawenzi peak from a multitude of angles. You will have your dinner and turn in early as the summit challenge begins at midnight and sleep and rest will put you in better shape to make it to the top. If you are interested in birds then there isn’t much to see besides the white-necked ravens who you catch scavenging for food.
The ascent to the summit begins at 1 a.m. so you will wake up at midnight; have your tea and some snacks and then gather your gear, strap on your headlamp and start your ascent into darkness in freezing temperatures with your guide showing you the way. The first challenge will be negotiating the scree laden steep trail to reach the crater rim (5700mts) and finally the Stella Point(5740m) and witness the delightful sunrise over Mawenzi. But that’s not the summit and after another short hike of another 90minutes, you will reach the summit at Uhuru peak. The trail to the Uhuru is laden with snow and scree along the crater’s rim. At the summit at Uhuru(5895m) awaits the most magnificent sunrise over the east. Pull out your camera to capture the breathtaking vistas that open up to you and also capture photos with your team to mark a personal milestone
After basking for a few moments at the summit you will start your descent to your overnight camp for a brief period of rest and recuperation and have a late breakfast. After that you will start a long descent at your guide’s behest which will be taxing; so use your trekking poles to support your joints. Your camping for the night will be at Mweka hut which is situated in upper echelons of the rainforest. So expect some rain in the late afternoon which is also your ETA( estimated time of arrival). Once at the camp you will have your dinner and last sleep on the mountain.
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