Kilimanjaro Summit Climb Trip Report via Lemosho Route
A few days ago I finally came home from Africa where I successfully managed to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the roof of Africa.
Probably these 6 days were the biggest adventure of my life, which is unlikely to forget.
We climbed the Lemosho route. The round trip took 6 days, although it seemed to me that if you’re good enough acclimatized, you can try to do it in 3 days. However, 6 days route was the optimum for me. And now I’m happy back home.
Here is my first short travel-report for you, dear summit posters!
TIME OF THE YEAR
The most wonderful time to visit Kilimanjaro is periods during December-March and June-October. Vice versa April-May and November in Tanzania are known as rainy seasons, and due to this fact climbing is not advised.
In the cities, the temperature in the June-August may reach + 20 + 25 Celsius. On the mountain it can be from +25 degrees to -15 degrees on the top.
In the summit camp is cold enough at night. Occasionally may be rains or, conversely, very hot weather, but mostly cloudy warm dry weather.
Our trip was planned on the end of February, which equals to summer in this part of world.
Support team is obligatory due to national park requirements. We had it consisted of 15 people: porters, cookers and waiters. One of guides was white European dude called Eugene. He is from Ukraine and usually works with Russian-speaking groups, who do not speak English. It was 4 of us, all from the UK, but some of us are originally from Russia.
Our trip was organized by local Moshi Company Altezza Travel. Big thanks to them for this unbelievable trip!
To the beginning of the trek we were lifted on a comfortable safari jeep, to the highest vehicle-available point of Lemosho route, which is high enough (3500 meters). The road goes among the potato fields, coffee plantations, among palm trees and continues through the beautiful coniferous forest.
The first day had a long approach, however without substantial increase of altitude. During 6 hours we reached just only 300 meters up and came to the camp Shira-2 (3810 meters).
It was planned to pass through the first camp (Shira-1) and keep going to the next one. Some groups prefer to split this part of route on two days.
Both variants are good enough for high-altitude acclimatization, but our variant was a bit longer and difficult, however we had significant advantage having an extra day on high-altitude. Moreover, it allowed us to have some extra free time in the last summit camp, but I`ll mention it further.
Although almost all members of our group were unwell (mild headache), we were really happy to realize that our dream-trip began.
Just a few words about the approach. It is a long jump to the Shira Plateau with small shrubs and rocky desert. All the way you have picturesque views of the Shira volcano, Mount Meru and the highest point in Africa – Kibo.
As I said, we stopped at the camp Shira-2 at an altitude of 3810 m. All camps are equipped with stationary toilets. In the first two camps they are wooden structures with concrete pits and at the last summit camp, it looks like a real palace with tiled walls, floors, toilet paper and light.
Do not forget about mandatory registration in the camp site.
Once we reached the camp, tents have already been delivered, pillows and mats issued, water boiled for tea. Every day in the morning porters put a small basin of warm water to wash with soap and water and then guides provide drinking water for the whole day. In addition, the guide carries a thermos of hot tea.
Coffee on the route is not advised – bad for acclimatization.
In our first camp we had the long rest, afternoon snack and some free time.
First night in tents went well, everyone slept fine.
In the morning, after a hearty hot breakfast, very slowly, we started approaching Barranco camp. It is vital to note that firstly we had lift to Lava Tower (4600 meters), and then again we went down to Barranco Camp (3950 meters) on the other side of slope.
This transition allows you to acclimatize properly and due to this my headache gone in the camp.
We were walking roughly 6 hours with short breaks and a lunch break. In one moment opened such beautiful views when the clouds of different shapes were below us. Beauty, variety of colors, smells, sounds of birds singing! Amazing experience.
Arrived at the camp, had a short rest after lunch (weather contributed to this, it was not very hot and nice breeze blowing).
After Barranco camp became a long approach to Karanga camp through the famous Barranco Wall. From the beginning, when we were getting ready to climb it, this wall seemed to me absolutely vertical for climb and unapproachable, but in the end, we came to the conclusion, that climb was not too hard.
So now I can strongly recommend starting as early as possible to outstrip other groups. Sometimes, the groups with inadequate preparation and acclimatization create the “jams”. Demanding ascend and spectacular views are on the way!
Some groups prefer to do the approach twice longer and to stop in Barafu Camp, but we split this approach on two days, therefore after the arriving to the summit camp Barafu you basically have more time to relax before the summit.
Guides woke us up at 23-00. Gathered, we drank hot tea and started our five-hour ascent to such a beautiful, amazing top, which is located in East Africa very close to the equator.
Comparing with 2003, the glaciers are melting, and reduced in size by almost 6 times! According to forecasts on next 20 years, they can simply melt away. People! Hurry up to see this one of the wonders of the World Heritage nature! …
From 5:30 am sunrise started, the most beautiful sunrise in my life. After a while it was the most exciting moment of the sun going out of the horizon and we are on the top. At 5:50 in the morning.
And here it is, the highest point called Uhuru Peak – 5,895 meters. All members of team accompanied by three guides, successfully reached the highest point.
After a brief photographing on the top and hot tea, guides began to hurry us down. We came back down at 11 o’clock in the morning. Rested a little, slept for about 2 hours, had lunch and took it towards the Millennium camp (altitude 3750 m).
On the next day we began descending. With every meter it is getting easier to breathe, and we felt better.
Mweka Camp is located amidst the tropical forest. After a wake-up, we enjoyed full magnificence and freshness of the Tanzanian jungles.
Warm breakfast and we rushed to the exit from the National Park – Mweka Gate (1980 m).
Transfer to the hotel and commemorative certificates awarding.
Uhuru Peak is done! We are happy!
Provided three times a day, and afternoon tea with hot popcorn, nuts, hot boiled water in a thermos (always the choice was tea, coffee, cocoa, milk powder). Main meals always included local fruits: mango, pineapple, orange, banana and other fruits. Several times were served pancakes, delicious baked cakes. Cream soup, meat, mushroom and vegetable dishes, fresh, varied and delicious cooked, always hot. Cooker and his assistants were real professionals, each time praised for delicious food.