Umbwe Route

The Umbwe Route often draws fit young people who are attracted by the route’s designation as the hardest route on the mountain, a tough vertical slog through the jungle, in places using the tree roots as makeshift rungs on a ladder. The route is certainly raw and unkempt and very steep until it reaches Barranco at 3,984m, from which point it intersects the Machame Route. Only 2 days are spent reaching the same point that is reached after 3 days on the Machame Route.

When climbers on the Umbwe Route arrive at Barranco, they have a choice: east and round to Barafu Campsite to access the summit via Stella Point; or, if you hanker after the quieter, more dramatic option, you could have joined the path up to Lava Tower to continue to the summit via the Western Breach. The latter option is the connoisseurs’ choice, no doubt, though it is also an extremely risky strategy unless you have taken at least one and preferably two acclimatization days in route to the Arrow Glacier Hut. Otherwise, the trip from Moshi up to Arrow Glacier Hut, an increase in altitude of almost 4000m, will have taken you just three days, which is far too rapid.

The best alternative is to head from Barranco to Barafu Campsites. So that’s Umbwe: dramatic views, blessed solitude and some terrific, invigorating walking and all without the clutter and chatter of other climbers.

  • OVERVIEW
  • 5 DAYS 4 NIGHTS
  • 6 DAYS 5 NIGHTS
  • 7 DAYS 6 NIGHTS

Despite its reputation as the toughest climb, the Umbwe Route is still a non-technical climb. Tough but not technical. All you need are an iron will and calves of steel; this is truly a climb to test your mettle, headaches and mild nausea are relatively commonly on the Umbwe Route.

OPTIONS

DAY 1

DAY 2

DAY 3

DAY 4

DAY 5

DAY 6

DAY 7

5 DAYS

(Option 1)

Umbwe gate to Umbwe cave Camp

Umbwe cave Camp to Baranco camp

Baranco Camp to Lava Tower camp

Lava Tower to Uhuru Peak then to Mweka Camp

Mweka Camp to Mweka gate

-

-

6 DAYS

(Option 2)

Umbwe gate to Umbwe cave Camp

Umbwe cave Camp to Baranco camp

Baranco Camp to Karanga camp

Karanga camp to Barafu Camp

Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak then to Mweka Camp

Mweka Camp to Mweka gate

-

6 DAYS

(Option 3)

Umbwe gate to Umbwe cave Camp

Umbwe cave Camp to Baranco camp

Barranco Camp to Lava Tower then to Arrow Glacier Camp

Arrow Glacier to Crater Camp

Crater Camp to Uhuru Peak then to Mweka Camp

Mweka Camp to Mweka gate

-

7 DAYS

(Option 4)

Umbwe gate to Umbwe cave Camp

Umbwe cave Camp to Baranco camp

Stay at Baranco camp

Baranco Camp to Karanga camp

Karanga camp to Barafu Camp

Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak then to Mweka Camp

Mweka Camp to Mweka gate

Day 1: Umbwe Gate (1,800 meters) – Umbwe Cave Camp (2,850 meters)
Distance Approximation: 11 km
Habitat: Montane Forest
You will be driven to the Machame Gate where registration takes place and transferred to the Umbwe Gate at 1,800 meters. The trail ascends sharply on a forestry track which winds up the dense rain forest. The path narrows and steepens as we climb the ridge between two rivers surrounded by huge trees. Umbwe Camp is perched between trees and thick undergrowth. The camp sits between large evergreen trees and thick undergrowth, with Umbwe Cave a short walk away.

Day 2: Umbwe Cave Camp (2,850 meters) – Barranco Camp (3,950 meters)
Distance Approximation: 6.3 km
Habitat: Moorland
On Day 2 the landscape changes rapidly from rainforest to moorland, with rocky outcrops and scarce vegetation. The path follows the narrow Umbwe Route ridge until it begins to flatten close to the Barranco Valley. From Umbwe ridge, the route descends to Barranco Camp through the strange but beautiful Senecio Forest. The Barranco Camp (3,950 meters) sits in the valley under the shadow of the Great Barranco Wall with Kibo visible in the distance. At Barranco Camp, you will be joining climbers from the Machame, Lemosho and Shira Route.

Day 3: Barranco Camp (3,950 m) – Karanga Camp (4,200 m) – Barafu Camp (4,680 m)
Distance Approximation: 9 km
Habitat: Alpine Desert
On Day 3 you will be presented with the relatively steep Barranco ‘Breakfast’ climb, a 257 meters scramble up the Barranco Wall. Be prepared to use all four limbs as you traverse the wall to the top of the Karanga Valley. From here you will follow a path that sojourns through many inclines and declines to Karanga Camp (4,200 meters). At Barafu you will have an early dinner and rest before your summit attempt which begins at midnight. You will be waking at midnight, all gear for summit should be organized early.

Day 4: Barafu Camp (4,680m) – Uhuru Peak (5,895m) – Mweka Camp (3,100m)
Distance Approximation: 12 km
Habitat: Arctic and Rain Forest
Very early in the morning (around midnight), we begin our push to the summit. After being awoken with hot tea and biscuits you will set off up the heavily screed slopes of Kibo. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the climb. The wind and cold at this elevation and time of day can be extreme. It is important to remain focused on your goal, one step at a time. Around dawn, you will reach Stella Point (5,739 meters) at the top of the crater rim. This is not the summit but is a major milestone. Take a moment to rest and enjoy where you have got to but don’t lie down as this can stymie your final push to the summit. From Stella Point, the route smooths as you walk an additional 1 to 2 hours to Uhuru Peak (5,895 meters).
You will not be able to stay too long at the summit as the lack of oxygen and cold is debilitating. You may decide to scree slide down the slopes of Kibo to Barafu Camp where you will have a chance to take a short break before continuing on to Mweka Camp. Remember to use your climbing poles as the impact on your knees of the 5 to 8 hours descent from the Summit to Mweka Camp can be very tiring and painful.

Day 5: Mweka Camp (3,100m) – Mweka Gate (1,640m)
Distance Approximation: 10 km
Habitat: Rain Forest
The final day on the mountain is a short climbing. after breakfast and a traditional farewell ceremony by your mountain crew, you will start your final descent to Mweka Gate. A leisurely 3 to 4 hours walk will once again take you through the lush rainforest, where the endemic Impatiens Kilimanjaro flower grows. Go slowly and enjoy the wonderful rainforest scenery as you head towards Mweka Gate. Reaching Mweka Gate you will be greeted by our transfer driver, who will take you back to your Hotel/Lodge. The rest of the day is for you to enjoy at leisure, enjoy a long shower, jump in the pool or just relax at the bar.

Day 1: Umbwe Gate (1,800 meters) - Umbwe Cave Camp (2,850 meters)
Distance Approximation: 11 km
Habitat: Montane Forest
You will be driven to the Machame Gate where registration takes place and transferred to the Umbwe Gate at 1,800 meters. The trail ascends sharply on a forestry track which winds up the dense rain forest. The path narrows and steepens as we climb the ridge between two rivers surrounded by huge trees. Umbwe Camp is perched between trees and thick undergrowth. The camp sits between large evergreen trees and thick undergrowth, with Umbwe Cave a short walk away.

Day 2: Umbwe Cave Camp (2,850 meters) - Barranco Camp (3,950 meters)
Distance Approximation: 6.3 km
Habitat: Moorland
On Day 2 the landscape changes rapidly from rainforest to moorland, with rocky outcrops and scarce vegetation. The path follows the narrow Umbwe Route ridge until it begins to flatten close to the Barranco Valley. From Umbwe ridge, the route descends to Barranco Camp through the strange but beautiful Senecio Forest. The Barranco Camp sits in the valley under the shadow of the Great Barranco Wall with Kibo visible in the distance. At Barranco Camp you will be joining climbers from the Machame, Lemosho and Shira Route.

Day 3: Barranco Camp (3,950 meters) - Karanga Camp (4,200 meters)
Distance: 6 km
Habitat: Alpine Desert
Day 3 starts with a steep climb up the Barranco Wall. No technical skills are required but you will need to use all four limbs to scramble up to the top. From here you will follow an up and down route along the Southern Circuit through the Karanga Valley and up to Karanga Camp. You will stop at Karanga Camp for the night.

Day 4: Karanga Camp (4,200 m) - Barafu Camp (4,680 m)
Distance Approximation: 4 km
Habitat: High alpine zone
Day 4 is a relatively short climb from Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp at 4,680 meters. The route sojourns through the rocky and sparsely vegetated high alpine desert zone. Barafu Camp is very exposed to the elements, especially the gale force winds that are common at this altitude. You will arrive at the camp around lunchtime and you will have a lot of time to rest or you can choose to climb a bit higher if you are feeling up to it. You may have lost your appetite but it is important that you try to eat some food. Set an hour aside to ensure that your gear is ready and packed for the summit ascent which begins around midnight and tries get to bed before 19:00 as you will be awoken around 23:30 to begin your summit attempt.

Day 5: Barafu Camp (4,680m) – Uhuru Peak (5,895m) – Mweka Camp (3,100m)
Distance Approximation: 12 km
Habitat: Arctic and Rain Forest
Very early in the morning (around midnight), we begin our push to the summit. After being awoken with hot tea and biscuits you will set off up the heavily screed slopes of Kibo. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the climb. The wind and cold at this elevation and time of day can be extreme. It is important to remain focused on your goal, one step at a time. Around dawn you will reach Stella Point (5,739 meters) at the top of the crater rim. This is not the summit but is a major milestone. Take a moment to rest and enjoy where you have got to but don’t lie down as this can stymie your final push to the summit. From Stella Point, the route smooths as you walk an additional 1 to 2 hours to Uhuru Peak. You will not be able to stay too long at the summit as the lack of oxygen and cold is debilitating. You may decide to scree slide down the slopes of Kibo to Barafu Camp where you will have a chance to take a short break before continuing on to Mweka Camp. Remember to use your climbing poles as the impact on your knees of the 5 to 8 hours descent from the Summit to Mweka Camp can be very tiring and painful.

Day 6: Mweka Camp (3,100m) – Mweka Gate (1,640m)
Distance Approximation: 10 km
Habitat: Rain Forest
The final day on the mountain is a short climbing. after breakfast and a traditional farewell ceremony by your mountain crew, you will start your final descent to Mweka Gate. A leisurely 3 to 4 hours walk will once again take you through the lush rainforest, where the endemic Impatiens Kilimanjaro flower grows. Go slowly and enjoy the wonderful rainforest scenery as you head towards Mweka Gate. Reaching Mweka Gate you will be greeted by our transfer driver, who will take you back to your Hotel/Lodge. The rest of the day is for you to enjoy at leisure, enjoy a long shower, jump in the pool or just relax at the bar.

Day 1: Umbwe Gate (1,800 meters) - Umbwe Cave Camp (2,850 meters)
Distance Approximation: 11 km
Habitat: Montane Forest
You will be driven to the Machame Gate where registration takes place and transferred to the Umbwe Gate at 1,800 meters. The trail ascends sharply on a forestry track which winds up the dense rain forest. The path narrows and steepens as we climb the ridge between two rivers surrounded by huge trees. Umbwe Camp is perched between trees and thick undergrowth. The camp sits between large evergreen trees and thick undergrowth, with Umbwe Cave a short walk away.

Day 2: Umbwe Cave Camp (2,850 meters) - Barranco Camp (3,950 meters)
Distance Approximation: 6.3 km
Habitat: Moorland
On Day 2 the landscape changes rapidly from rainforest to moorland, with rocky outcrops and scarce vegetation. The path follows the narrow Umbwe Route ridge until it begins to flatten close to the Barranco Valley. From Umbwe ridge, the route descends to Barranco Camp through the strange but beautiful Senecio Forest. The Barranco Camp sits in the valley under the shadow of the Great Barranco Wall with Kibo visible in the distance. At Barranco Camp, you will be joining climbers from the Machame, Lemosho and Shira Route.

Day 3: Umbwe Cave Camp (2,850 meters) - Barranco Camp (3,950 meters)
Distance Approximation: None
Habitat: Moorland
n Start your day with a delicious breakfast at your Camp. Afterwards together with your guide can proceed in walking around Barranco camp via your chosen route. You will spend more days exploring near Barranco camp for much needed acclimatization. Keep your camera handy to capture the scenery of the groundsel clad campsite. Many climbers rank to spend more time at Barranco even it is the favourite camp on this trail which is another reason to choose this as the perfect spot for your acclimatization day.

Day 4: Barranco Camp (3,950 meters) - Karanga Camp (4,200 meters)
Distance: 6 km
Habitat: Alpine Desert
Day 3 starts with a steep climb up the Barranco Wall. No technical skills are required but you will need to use all four limbs to scramble up to the top. From here you will follow an up and down route along the Southern Circuit through the Karanga Valley and up to Karanga Camp. You will stop at Karanga Camp for the night.

Day 5: Karanga Camp (4,200 m) - Barafu Camp (4,680 m)
Distance Approximation: 4 km
Habitat: High alpine zone
Day 4 is a relatively short climb from Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp. The route sojourns through the rocky and sparsely vegetated high alpine desert zone. Barafu Camp is very exposed to the elements, especially the gale force winds that are common at this altitude. You will arrive at the camp around lunchtime and you will have a lot of time to rest or you can choose to climb a bit higher if you are feeling up to it. You may have lost your appetite but it is important that you try to eat some food. Set an hour aside to ensure that your gear is ready and packed for the summit ascent which begins around midnight and tries get to bed before 19:00 as you will be awoken around 23:30 to begin your summit attempt.

Day 6: Barafu Camp (4,680m) – Uhuru Peak (5,895m) – Mweka Camp (3,100m)
Distance Approximation: 12 km
Habitat: Arctic and Rain Forest
Very early in the morning (around midnight), we begin our push to the summit. After being awoken with hot tea and biscuits you will set off up the heavily screed slopes of Kibo. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the climb. The wind and cold at this elevation and time of day can be extreme. It is important to remain focused on your goal, one step at a time. Around dawn, you will reach Stella Point at the top of the crater rim. This is not the summit but is a major milestone. Take a moment to rest and enjoy where you have got to but don’t lie down as this can stymie your final push to the summit. From Stella Point, the route smooths as you walk an additional 1 to 2 hours to Uhuru Peak. You will not be able to stay too long at the summit as the lack of oxygen and cold is debilitating. You may decide to scree slide down the slopes of Kibo to Barafu Camp where you will have a chance to take a short break before continuing on to Mweka Camp. Remember to use your climbing poles as the impact on your knees of the 5 to 8 hours descent from the Summit to Mweka Camp can be very tiring and painful.

Day 7: Mweka Camp (3,100m) – Mweka Gate (1,640m)
Distance Approximation: 10 km
Habitat: Rain Forest
The final day on the mountain is a short climbing. after breakfast and a traditional farewell ceremony by your mountain crew, you will start your final descent to Mweka Gate. A leisurely 3 to 4 hours walk will once again take you through the lush rainforest, where the endemic Impatiens Kilimanjaro flower grows. Go slowly and enjoy the wonderful rainforest scenery as you head towards Mweka Gate. Reaching Mweka Gate you will be greeted by our transfer driver, who will take you back to your Hotel/Lodge. The rest of the day is for you to enjoy at leisure, enjoy a long shower, jump in the pool or just relax at the bar.

Tour Package Includes:

🗸 Airport and Mt. transfer fees.
🗸 2 Night Hotel accommodation in Arusha or Moshi.
🗸 Quality, Waterproof, four-season private mountain sleeping tent.
🗸 Quality Mess tents with table and chairs.
🗸 Free Arusha/Moshi City walking tour.
🗸 Certified, experienced, English speaking mountain guides
🗸 All Tanzanian National Park Fees including Rescue Fees, Taxes and Permits.
🗸 Baggage Storage for excess unused staffs
🗸 All hot Meals prepared by our cook.
🗸 Clean, purified Drinking water during climbing..
🗸 Salaries for the mountain crew above KIATO payment requirement.
🗸 Personal Summit Certificate signed by the National Park and your Guide.

Tour Package Excludes:

🗙 International and local airfares.
🗙 Tips for guides, porters and cook and gratuities (high recommended).
🗙 Laundry services.
🗙 Tanzania Entry visa and other permits.
🗙 Travel insurance.
🗙 Meals and drinks not specified
🗙 Private mountain gears.
🗙 Other Items of a personal nature and unspecified services.

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