From June 28th – July 3rd I am going to attempt to climb the Machame route up Mt. Kilimo, also commonly referred to the Whiskey Route.
Here is a general overview of my climbing schedule for Mt. Kilimo:
Day 1: Machame Gate /Machame Campsite.
Elevation: 1200m to 1700m to 3000m (3,600 feet to 5,100 feet to 9,000 feet).
Distance: 13 km.
Hiking time: 5-7 hours.
Habitat: Montane forest.
After breakfast our vehicle will transport you from the hotel drive to Machame gate. Here you will do the required registration procedures then you will start the trek through the rainforest to Machame camp where you will find the tents are already setup for you. Dinner and overnight at the campsite.
Day 2: Machame Hut Campsite to Shira Campsite
Elevation: 3000m to 3800m (9,000 feet to 11,400 feet)
Hiking time: 6-7 hours
After breakfast leave the glades of rainforest and continue ascending by crossing little valleys and steep rocky ridge covering with heather plants to the western side of the mountain where the camp is situated. At this camp you will able get the spectacular view of Mount Meru, Shira Plateau, Kibo Peak and sunset; then dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Shira campsite to Barranco campsite
Elevation: 3800m to 3950m. (11,400 feet to 11,850 feet)
Hiking time: 5-7 hours
This is long and important acclimatization day so you will be having an early breakfast then continue trekking east to a junction leading to Lava tower rock 4600m for acclimatization. Afterwards you will continue down to Barranco camp. The camp location is in the bottom valley of Barranco wall where you will stop for dinner and overnight.
Day 4: Barranco campsite to Karanga campsite
Elevation: 3950m to 3900m (11,850 feet to 11,700 feet)
Distance: 6 km
Hiking time: 4-5 hours.
Today is short day walk. In the morning you will start climbing Barranco wall and reach 4200m for acclimatization and continue crossing ridges and valleys to Karanga campsite for hot lunch. After lunch you will have a bit of rest and get another acclimatization of trekking up the scree slopes towards the southern ice field. You will then return to the camp for supper and overnight.
On the 6 day itinerary, after lunch on Day 4 the itinerary omits the afternoon acclimitization trek and continues to include the Day 5 trek, with dinner and overnight at Barafu Camp.
Day 5: Karanga Campsite to Barafu Campsite
Elevation: 3900m to 4620m. (11,700 feet to 13,860 feet)
Distance: 8 km.
Hiking time: 3-4 hours.
Habitat: Alpine Desert.
On this day, the trek up to the Barafu ridge campsite is tough because of altitude. The walk take few hours because of the short distance but is steep needing a slow pace to avoid fatique. You will trek across an alpine desert. Chances are that a strong, cold wind will be blowing from Kibo peak and its ice. You will have an early dinner at 1700hrs then rest until midnight when we you will attack the summit.
Day 6: Barafu Camp/ Uhuru Peak/ Mweka Camp
Elevation: 4620m to 5895m to 3100m (13,860 feet to 17,685 feet to 9,300 feet)
Hiking time: 10 – 12 hours
Habitat: Desert and ice.
Wake at midnight to a light breakfast and then prepare for your summit ascent. The goal is to climb before dawn so that you can reach Uhuru Peak shortly before or after sunrise. The trails is a series of switchbacks up steep scree or possibly snow, and reach Stella Point on the crater rim at 5,861 m/18,640 ft between 4 and 5 AM. At this point you will be having the views of the fabled crater and its glaciers facing you. Then after 1 hour of hiking along the Kibo crater rim near the celebrated snows takes you to Kilimanjaro true summit, Uhuru Peak. Here you will spend some times for taking photo’s but it will depend on how you feel. After your summit activities done, you will descend back to the Barafu campsite, for lunch, rest, collect your equipment, and continue down through moorland and heath zone to Mweka campsite. Dinner and overnight at Mweka campsite.
Day 7: Mweka campsite to Mweka gate.
Elevation: 3100m to 1700m (9,300 feet to 5,100 feet)
Descending time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Montane forest.
Today is your last day on the mountain. After breakfast you will descend down to Mweka park gate walking across Montane forest. This descent will take 3-4 hours.