On the extended 7-day/6-nights version of the Umbwe Route, you have a full day at Barranco Camp for acclimitizing.
Itinerary (7 days / 6 nights on Kili):
Briefing Your guides will meet you at your hotel in Arusha or Moshi for a detailed briefing of the climb. Accommodation: hotel in Arusha or Moshi (D)
Transfer to Umbwe gate - hike to Umbwe Forest camp (2900 m) Departure from Arusha will be at around 7:30 am for Machame gate (ca. 4 hrs transfer), where you will complete the entry formalities and have lunch. The climb commences at the small gate above Umbwe Village, then for an hour winds along a gentle 4x4 track until a signboard announces the small steeply rising trail called "Umbwe". Six hours ascending through the dense forest of rubber trees and giant fig trees, scrambling up steep sections of roots and rock will bring you to a forested campsite, with some caves nearby. There is no water available at this campsite, so we must carry from the gate all the water needed for drinking, food preparation and cleaning. Arrive to a hot dinner in your mess tent.
Accommodation: Umbwe Forest camp (B, L, D)
Umbwe Forest camp - Barranco camp (3976 m) You will be woken with a steaming cup of tea or coffee at around 6am, and then after breakfast continue steeply through the forest. Soon the taller trees will give way to Giant Erica and Heather, and the air will become drier. The ridge line forms steeply on this day, and on either side of the trail, the terrain drops away steeply. At some point the forest and the clouds will part to give you a fabulous view of Uhuru Peak, seemingly "overhead". After lunch, you will encounter giant groundsels, seemingly guardians of untouched treasures. After 5 to 7 hours of trekking and scrambling, you reach Barranco camp. There are numerous tiny waterfalls around camp, fed by streams coming down the Great Barranco Valley. Hanging glaciers glint in the sunshine above, amidst an eerie landscape of groundsels (Senecio Kilimanjari), and the uniquely endemic Giant Lobelia.
Accommodation: Barranco camp (B, L, D)
Barranco camp - Lava Tower - Barranco camp Today is a full day to acclimatize. As an optional excursion, a trip to Lava Tower could be made: we begin from our camp in the morning following the rivers of the great valley, which emanate from the great glaciers above. The trail winds through a forest of towering senecio kilimanjari, and then steeply up the valley walls en route to Lava Tower, a 300 foot tall lava plug standing at a pass at 15,100 ft. (4,600 m). Test your ardour by scrambling to the top of the Lava Tower, for a panoramic view of the Western Breach, and the broken ridges of Shira below. To Lava Tower is 3-4 hours, where you'll enjoy lunch, then return to camp (about 2 hours).
Accommodation: as before (Barranco camp) (B, L, D)
Barranco camp - Karanga camp (4995 m) Today we trek to Karanga Valley Camp, at 13,000 feet (3,950 mt.), between Barranco and Barafu Camps. This day has proven to be very important for acclimatization. The day begins with a scramble up the steep 'Barranco Wall', then traversing up and down the slopes of valleys which have carved their way into the mountain's southern face. Kibo's glaciers loom above to your left and the jagged peaks of Mawenzi jut into the African sky at just under 17,000 feet straight ahead. We reach the Karanga Valley after 3-4 hours of trekking for a hot lunch. Afternoon to relax or to take excursions from the camp.
Accommodation: Karanga camp (B, L, D)
Karanga camp - Barafu camp (4673 m) From here the trail turns steadily uphill. The temperature will grow colder and the landscape more sparse as we near Barafu Camp. Barafu Camp is set on a small, exposed flat area on a ridge, acting a base camp from which you will make your summit attempt at midnight tonight. Total trekking time is 4-5 hours, with a hot lunch upon reaching camp. The afternoon is yours to rest and prepare for the long night ahead. Eat and drink as much as possible before retiring early to your tent for rest and sleep.
Barafu camp - summit - descend to Mweka camp (3068 m) A hot drink will arrive very early this morning. A midmight wake-up call will be the start of a juggernaut (12-17 hrs of trekking). At around 1 am, you start trekking; temperatures usually range from just below freezing at midnight to seomwhere between -12 deg. C (10 deg. F) to -23 deg. C (-10 F.) on the summit just before dawn. The winding path of endless switchbacks will slowly take form and shape in the shadows of the Ratzel and Rebman glaciers at early dawn, and behind you the spires of Mawenzi are silouhetted against the red glow of the sun rising behind the clouds. After about 6 hrs of slowly walking uphill, you arrive at the edge of the crater: Stella Point, at 19,000 ft (5790 m) on the crater rim, is the end of the steep part of the hike. From here, it's a gentle slope to Uhuru Peak (ca. 1 hr), the true summit of Kili at 19,340 ft (5896 m). The strength it takes to ascend this final piece is for many monumental. After a short time at the summit, we start descending. The path goes down a steep scree slope back to Barafu Camp for some rest, before you have to summon your strength again to descend further to Mweka Camp for the last night on the mountain.
Accommodation: Mweka camp (B, L, D)
Final descend - Transfer to Arusha It's an easy 2-3 hours trek through rain forest to go down the final parts of the trail back to the Mweka Gate. After receiving your certificates, lunch and saying goodby to many of your crew, we'll bring you to the KIA lodge, where you can use day rooms for a shower, change cloths etc. In the afternoon, return to Arusha (or Moshi).
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