MOUNT KILIMANJARO CLIMBING UMBWE ROUTE
AASK 04 - 6 Days Umbwe Route
Umbwe route via Arrow Glacier
Duration: six days
Mt Kilimanjaro's glaciers.
The Umbwe route is one of the shortest routes to the Southern Glaciers and the Western Breach. It is probably the most scenic, non-technical route on Kilimanjaro. It is quite taxing, primarily due to the relatively fast ascent to higher altitude, but the rewards are plentiful. Fewer people, pristine forest and shorter walking distances make it a great option for fit hikers. Add to your experience - OVERNIGHT IN THE CRATER!! Be one of a few fortunate people to spend a night in Africa's largest volcano. This option is highly recommended, as this will be the only opportunity to get close to the beautiful and fascinating glaciers of Kilimanjaro and to be able to visit the ash pit.
Umbwe Gate (1800m) - Bivouac (first) camp (2940m)
Hiking time: 5hrs
On day one of the Umbwe route.After breakfast you will be driven to the Umbwe Gate at 1800m, passing through villages with coffee and banana plantations. On arrival at the Parks Gate your guide and porters will meet you. Sign the register before you enter the park for your first step to accomplishing a life-long dream. The air is thick with moisture and the path is usually muddy. The route initially follows a forestry track winding up through the natural rain forest. It then narrows and steepens to climb the ridge between the Lonzo and Umbwe rivers, with huge trees surrounding you. The path offers some spectacular views of deep gorges and if you are lucky, glimpses of Kilimanjaro towering above you in the distance. The camp is perched between huge trees and thick undergrowth.
Bivouac (first) camp (2940m) - Barranco camp (3950m)
Hiking time: 6h
Day two on the Umbwe route up Mt Kilimanjaro.Shortly after leaving the camp the forest starts thinning and is replaced by rockier terrain, sparser undergrowth and straggly, moss-covered trees. The path continues along a narrow, but spectacular ridge. As you gain higher altitude, catch glimpses of Kilimanjaro rising majestically ahead of you - etched against the blue sky. The path flattens as you approach Barranco Valley.
A group of climbers on day two of their ascent of Mt Kilimanjaro via Umbwe route.From the Umbwe ridge the route descends slightly to the Barranco camp. The camp is situated in the valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Wall, which should provide you with a memorable sunset while your dinner is being prepared.
Barranco camp (3950m) - Lava Tower (4630m) - Arrow Glacier Camp (4800m)
Distance: Approximately kms
Habitat: Moorland / Semi desert
Day three on Umbwe Route on Kilimanjaro.After breakfast you will start your hike towards Lava Tower, a famous landmark on Kilimanjaro. The path is steep and rocky, with views of Mt. Meru, Kilimanjaro's little sister, punching her peak through the clouds.
Tent camp on day three of the Umbwe route.From Lava Tower you turn towards the Western Breach, a steep climb to Arrow Glacier camp (4800m). This is taxing and symptoms of altitude sickness might become noticeable. The campsite is spectacular. Vegetation has now all but disappeared, leaving only rock and scree in varying shades of brown and black. The campsite is very cold and you need to be prepared.
Arrow Glacier (4800m) - Crater (5700m)
Hiking time: 5h
Day four on the Umbwe route up to Uhuru.From the Arrow Glacier camp steep scree and rocky outcrops requiring a scramble lead up the Western Breach to the crater floor (5700m). This day will be the toughest challenge by far. After snowfalls the route can become icy and in these conditions an ice axe or ski stick may be required. When reaching the crater rim, you will be astonished by the view of snow and glaciers. Visible to you left is the Northern Ice fields of Kilimanjaro with the Furtwangler Glacier in front of you. Walk past this glacier to the Crater camp, situated at the crater rim. If time permits, you can climb to the Ash Pit (1 ½ hour). The Ash Pit is 340m across, 120m deep and is one of the most perfect-formed examples in the world. The campsite is very cold as snow might occur. Be one of a fortunate few to spend a night in the inner crater of Kilimanjaro.
(Summit attempt) Crater (5700m)-Uhuru Peak (5895m)-Mweka (3100m
Hiking time: 2h to Uhuru, 7-8h to Mweka
The camp on day five of the Umbwe route.You will rise around 04:00, and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the early morning darkness. From the crater floor you will probably encounter snow all the way on your 2-hour ascent to Uhuru Peak. Time spend on the summit will depend on the weather conditions. Do not stop here for too long, as it will be extremely difficult to start again due to cold and fatigue. Enjoy your accomplishment and a day to remember for the rest of your life.
Group of climbers at Uhuru after successfully summiting via Umbwe route.The walk to Barafu camp from the summit, takes about 3 hours. Here you will have a well earned but short rest, before heading down to Millennium camp (3100m). The route is not difficult and will take you down the rock and scree path into the moorland and eventually into the forest. The camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Dinner and washing water will be provided as well as drinking water.
Mweka camp (3100m)- Mweka Gate (1980m)
A view of Mt Kilimanjaro in the distance on day six of the Umbwe route.
Hiking time: 3h
Distance: Approximately kms
Wake early to enjoy a well-deserved breakfast, and then tackle the five hour walk to the park gate. Pay your porters only when you know you and your equipment is safe at the gate.
At Mweka Gate you receive your certificate of summit, after signing the register, and if you've completed the climb successfully. Climbers who successfully got to Uhuru receive golden certificates, while those who made it to Stella Point receive green certificates.
From Mweka Gate you walk to Mweka Village, a one hour walk through 3kms of muddiness (usually). You receive a hot lunch at the Mweka Village, and are taken back to Moshi, where you can celebrate your summit, and have that long-overdue hot shower.
Please note: Safety conditions or weather may cause the itinerary to change without warning. Hike times are estimated, calculated to form a comfortable pace throughout the ascent.
Please note: The itinerary above serves only as a guide. You can add an extra day if you so wish. You can summit Mt Kilimanjaro via Arrow Glacier or Barafu Camp with Umbwe Route.
Final checklist Fitness program Kilimanjaro gear rental Kilimanjaro menu Full moon dates Swahili terms How to get there.
MOUNT KILIMANJARO CLIMBING
One of the important prerequisites of a successful summit attempt is being properly equipped. Ensure that you are well equipped - print the Checklist below and mark it off, it will be an essential part of your preparation for the climb. Please remember to limit the weight of your duffel bag and its content, to be carried by the porters on the climb, to 15 kg (30 lbs.) or less. Extra luggage, including clean clothes to wear after your climb, can be left at the hotel in Moshi. Please feel free to contact us should you have any further questions regarding the checklist. We also provide a complete and quality rental service on all the equipment required on the mountain, as a sensible alternative to purchasing. Please click Gear Rental for more information.
Please note: This checklist is only a guideline. A comprehensive checklist will be send to you as soon as your hike is confirmed.
Make sure you have everything you need to help you successfully summit the Roof of Africa.
- Valid passport and visa
- Airline ticket
- International health card with immunizations (Yellow fever)
- Travel insurance
- Medical insurance
- US$ cash / Travellers Checks / Credit Card
- Duffel bag - large enough for all climbing gear and clothing. To be carried by the porters. An extra bag to be left at the hotel with extra gear
- Small luggage lock - to lock zippers
- Day backpack - between 20 - 35 litres. Large enough to carry your water, camera, raincoat, lunch pack, snacks & warm clothing
- Sleeping bag
- Ski-pole / walking stick
- Water bottle / containers
- Kilimanjaro map (Can be bought at Park gate)
High Altitude Gear
- Waterproof, breathable & windproof jacket (outer wear like Ventex, Gore-Tex or Jeantex)
- Waterproof, breathable & windproof pants (outer wear)
- Polar fleece (middle layer)
- Thermal underwear (under layers)
- Mittens or warm gloves
- Glove liners (if necessary)
- One pair thermal (polertex) socks
- Thermal water flask
- Hiking Gear
- Hiking pants
- Regular underwear
- Raincoat or Poncho
- Water resistant semi-stiff hiking boots - mid weight boots work great
- Shoes for overnight camps - i.e. sneakers, running shoes, etc.
- Socks - several pairs for the climb
- Liner socks - to keep your feet dry and limit the risk of blisters
- Sun hat or similar (with a brim)
- Collapsible ski stick (optional but highly recommended)
- Water bottles - two or three (total capacity at least 6 litres)
- Head lamp, good strong one with spare batteries and an extra light bulb
- Water purification tablets
- Sunglasses, good quality dark lenses for the climb, with a securing strap
- Flashlight (torch) with spare batteries
- Toilet kit (soap, tooth brush, toilet articles, wet wipes, etc.)
- Sun screen and lip protection, SPF 30+
- Ziploc bags, to protect camera, binoculars, etc. from dust
- Toilet paper
- Money belt for passport and valuables
- Medical and First Aid Supplies
- Altitude sickness-Diamox (if not allergic to sulpha)
- Diarrhoea - Imodium
- Nausea - Valoid
- Malaria - Prophylaxis
- Water purification tablets
- Muscular sprains
- Abrasions blisters and cuts - Plaster, bandages
- Antiseptic cream - Betadine
- Flu and colds
- Eye drops
- Insect repellent
- Camera, extra lenses and film (ASA 200 film recommended)
- Powdered sports drinks for the climb (ex. Game or Isotonic drinks)
- Pocket knife
- Notebook & pencil
- Plastic bags to keep clothing dry (masking tape)
- Energy snacks and sweets
- Video camera, tapes, battery packs and tri-pod