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Climb Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route via Barafu Camp - 6 Days / 5 Nights

The less utilize Umbwe Route was opened in June 1963. This route makes the distances covered between camps shorter and avoids crowding experienced in some sites in season. The summit and return days are as per the Machame Route. All your supplies and camping equipment are carried up the mountain by porters who also prepare all your meals. Your personal baggage is limited for the climb.

This is one of the shortest routes to the Southern Glaciers and the Western Breach of Kibo. An ascent to Kibo via the Umbwe Route is probably one of the most scenic ‘non-technical' mountaineering expeditions in East Africa. It is quite taxing, primarily due to the relatively fast ascent to higher altitudes, but the rewards are plentiful. Fewer people, pristine forest, greater chances of seeing wildlife and bird life in the lower levels, and shorter walking distances make it a great option for fit hikers. There are two main ascents on the Umbwe Route, via Barafu Hut or Arrow Glacier. Although both of these options can be done in 5 days, a 6 days hike is recommended for correct acclimatization.

Day 1 – Umbwe Gate (1700 m) to Bivouac 1 (2900 m)
After breakfast you are driven to the Umbwe Gate (1700 m). On arrival at the park's gate you are met by your guides and porters. You will now commence on a walk through the spectacular forest to the first camp, Bivouac 1 (2900 m), with access to water. This path begins at 2100 m and generally keeps to the narrow ridge crest between the Lonzo River on the west and the Umbwe on the east. The path gains altitude quickly, and offers some
spectacular views of deep gorges, and if you are lucky glimpses of Kilimanjaro towering above you in the distance! Take your time walking through this section. It will help you acclimatize and the paths are often steep in places.

Day 2 – Bivouac 1 (2900 m) to Barranco Hut (3950 m)
The day starts with a walk up to Bivouac No. 2 (3780 m), just under the first head-on view of the peak. If you're feeling strong, then you may continue to Barranco Hut (3950 m). The path is fairly steep through the forest, heading along a sharp ridge before it flattens as you approach Barranco Hut in the moorland zone. After a fairly long and strenuous day, you will now start to feel the symptoms of altitude.

Day 3 – Rest day at Barranco Hut (3950 m)
This day can be used for acclimatization and rest. You can hike to any of the higher elevations surrounding the Barranco camp and return for a well-deserved rest. The whole idea is to hike to a higher elevation and return to sleep low, this should help immensely with acclimatization, (walk high/sleep low).

Day 4 – Karanga Valley to Barafu Hut (4600 m)
The morning starts with a scramble up the almost vertical Barranco Wall to an altitude of about 4200 m and then the path crosses through the south-western slopes to reach the Karanga Valley. Before reaching the camp at Karanga Valley below 4000 m, you'll pass through valleys offering great views of Heim, Kersten and Decken Glaciers that form part of the Southern Ice fields.
This is the last water stop on the route. There is no water at Barafu Hut (4600 m), so you should take care and stock up your water supply. After lunch you ascend a ridge along a footpath that leads to the next camp, Barafu Hut (4600 m). On a clear day the Saddle and Mawenzi (5149 m) can be seen to the east. Barafu Hut (4600 m) is situated on an exposed and dangerous ridge, so familiarize yourself with the terrain before dark to avoid any tragedies. You will be able to rest up at Barafu for the whole afternoon, acclimatizing and gathering strength for the summit.
At this point you should take special care and move around this area with extreme caution as many fatal accidents have been recorded at the camp over the years. Porters will erect the tents and prepare supper and while this is happening you can arrange your gear for the summit bid which will take place towards midnight. Ensure that you replace your headlamp and camera batteries. Because it so incredibly cold, it would be wise to carry yours water in a thermal flask to avoid it freezing into one solid and useless icicle. Of course, for practical reasons, the group size will determine how many assistant guides are required.

Day 5 – Barafu Hut (4600 m) to Uhuru Peak (5895 m) to Mweka Hut (3100 m)
At around midnight you'll head in a north-westerly direction up to the South East Valley towards Stella Point on the crater rim. The night is very cold with the footpath rocky and steep in places. The long walk to Stella Point is a mental and physical challenge. Even more serious, altitude has now been gained rapidly. The result is shortness of breath, severe headaches and nausea-affecting most climbers badly.
Depending on weather conditions, you could encounter snow and ice from below Stella Point all the way to Uhuru Peak (5895 m). This stretch takes about an hour and offers great views of Rebmann, Decken, Kersten and Heim Glaciers. From Uhuru Peak you can also see Furtwangler Glacier to the north and the Eastern Ice Fields to the north-east. Above all you are also rewarded with just about the most beautiful African sunrise ever.
The time you spend on the summit is determined by weather and wind conditions. These can cause temperatures to plummet well below minus 30 degrees Celsius. The walk back to Barafu Hut (4600 m) from the summit can take over three hours. There you are able to have a short rest and collect the rest of your gear before heading down to the final camp on the mountain, Mweka Hut (3100 m).

Day 6 – Mweka Hut (3100 m) to Mweka Village (1450 m) to hotel
A hearty breakfast is served before you descend through the rainforest to the park's gate. On reaching the gate you must enter your particulars into the park's register. The guides are issued with green certificates for climber who reached Stella Point and gold certificates for those who reached Uhuru Peak. You can buy drinks, beer, maps, books and shirts from the ranger.After all formalities are over, continue your descent to the Mweka Village (1450 m) where transport awaits to transfer you to the hotel for a bath or shower. Certificates are presented during supper by either your guide or team leader.

Price US$ 1350 per person:
Any additional day is US$ 210

The price is inclusive of:-
2 transfers from Moshi to Umbwe park gate -return
3 meals per day while trekking - Vegetarian/Non-Vegetarian
6 days Kilimanjaro trek- Umbwe
5 nights accomodation in camps while trekking Umbwe
First and Last night accommodation at standard accomodation hotel in Moshi -Bed and Breakfast.
All park entrance fees and government levies
English speaking mountain Guide and assistant guides
Minimum of 3 Porters per client

The Price does not include:
Gloves, Sun glasses, Sleeping bag, Hats , Rain suits, Warm Jacket,
Heavy boots, Scarf's, Rain Trousers

Note: All the above items can be hired at a reasonable price

Kilimanjaro Summit Gear List
. Leather or thermal boots
. Gore-Tex, Microtex or K-Tech Trilaminate jacket
. Gore-Tex, Microtex or K-Tech pants
. Fleece jacket
. Fleece pants
. Gore-Tex mittens or gloves
. Fleece gloves (use as inner for Gore-Tex mittens)
. Thermal glove liners (use as inner for Gore-Tex gloves)
. Gaiters
. Fleece balaclava
. Thermal balaclava
. Thermal top
. Thermal long johns
. Thermal socks
. Sunglasses with UV protection
. Day pack
. Head torch
. Thermal flask

Kilimanjaro Trekking gear: (Wear between camps)
. Rain suit or poncho (mainly used in the rain forest)
. Hiking boots or cross trainers
. Day pack
. Short pants
. Tracksuit pants
. T-shirts
. Sun hat (peak caps do not offer enough protection)
. Woolen socks
. Fleece beanie
. Water bottle

Kilimanjaro General gear & equipment
. Duffel bag
. Walking stick (adjustable)
. Sleeping bag (-10 rating)
. Sleeping mat

Kilimanjaro Helpful hints
Drink at least three to four litres of water a day.
. Use water filters and purifying pills to minimize stomach bugs.
. Take enough snacks like energy bars, drink mixes, etc.
. Do not move too fast, walk at a slow steady pace.
. Move as lightly as possible, do not carry unnecessary weight.
. All clothing in Duffel bags or backpacks must be protected with sack-liners to avoid getting wet, especially through the rainforest.
. High factor lip balm and sun block is essential.
. Nausea and headache pills should be kept handy on summit night.
. Symptoms of altitude sickness can be reduced by using medication (consult your doctor).
. New boots should be walked-in; this avoids blisters.
. Use a sleeping mat when camping.
. Use a thermal flask on summit night; other water bottles will freeze.
. Allow camera or video camera to acclimatize; do not wrap or place them in plastic bags.
. Thermal glove liners allow easier camera handling on the summit.
. Use only new camera and headlamp batteries on summit night.
. Guides and porters will expect tips; confirm amounts with your tour operator.

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