Lemosho Western Breach Crater
The Lemosho Route is truly picturesque and unspoilt with the possibility of sighting wild game along the forest section. This route is a superior option for trekker’s seeking a quiet route away from the crowds for the first two days trekking. Thereafter, the route is precisely the same as the Machame Route.
This route takes us from the West across Shira Plateau to the rarely visited Moir Hut, onwards to our private camp at Sheffield supplemented by an ascent of Lava Tower which offers majestic 360 degree views across the valley and looking directly up to Arrow Glacier.
We ascend the Western Breach to the crater via the classic route from the southwest with a challenging rock scramble during daylight. The wide crater floor is a magnificent arctic moonscape and our camp is set in soft sand adjacent the indigo streaked Furtwangler Glacier.
plan your trip
Day 1: Arrive Tanzania
Trekkers arrive from their respective countries at Kilimanjaro International Airport or Arusha if transferring by bus from Nairobi. A member of our staff will be at the arrivals or shuttle bus terminus holding a Trekili Eco Expeditions placard. You will then be transferred to your accommodation located just outside of Arusha.
Day 3: Arusha to Londrossi Gate to Big Tree Camp
After breakfast we travel by vehicle to Londrossi gate, where you will meet your guides and mountain crew as we take care of all National Park formalities, registering all climbers and weighing of all duffle bags to ensure the load carried by each porter does not exceed the mandatory 20kgs limit. Depending on your program and weather conditions we may take lunch at the gate.
After completing the registration process at Londrossi gate, we drive for 11kms along narrow dirt roads through pine plantations, gradually climbing to the Lemosho Glades where we begin our trek.
We hike uphill for 3 hours through the thick and undisturbed montane forest where you may hear the calls of many exotic birds and if we are lucky we may see blue monkeys and hear the grunting calls of the magnificent black colobus monkeys with their long “cape” of white hair and a flowing white tail. Our camp tonight is in the forest zone, where podocarpus (African yellow-wood), hagenia and hypericum (St John’s wort) dominate. In the evening you may hear the unmistakable shrieking call of the tree hyrax.
Day 4: Mt Mkubwa to Shira 1 Camp
Today is a long day over narrow tracks that weave in and out of the ridges as we ascend. Along the way we will admire trees such as the giant heather and erica and as we gain altitude we will encounter the unique giant levelia and giant groundsel (senecio kilimanjari).
There is no hurry to reach Shira Camp and our trekking mantra “pole pole”(Swakili: “slowly slowly”) resonates in our ears ensuring our bodies adjust to the altitude gain and to take in the magnificent views of Kilimanjaro. The Shira Plateau is one of the highest in the world with an average height of 3810m and extends for about 13 kms to the west of Kilimanjaro. The Shira Plateau is a caldera, a collapsed volcanic crater. We might even spot a herd of eland in the distance, or startle a grey duiker near camp.
Day 5: Shira 1 Camp to Moir Hut Camp
Today we trek steadily northwards through the heather and into the barren high altitude desert towards the natural landmark called Shark’s Tooth.
We gain altitude slowly and continue to acclimatize. We walk up a ridge and into a valley, which we then ascend to camp, arriving in time for lunch. This is the high desert zone, where only hardy everlastings and small senecios survive, and we are just below the Lent Group, a collection of massive volcanic dykes.
Immediately above us is a huge circular bowl, created by glaciers, and there are numbers of lava tube caves in the cliffs at the uppermost edge. Above that is the Kibo Massif and the Northern Ice Field. Below we have views of the Shira Plateau, like a giant sloping depression, and we can see much of the area we have walked recently.
Day 6: Moir Hut Camp to Sheffield Camp
Today’s hike is shorter than yesterday though it is steeper with two long uphill sections that test our legs and acclimatisation.
The first long uphill trek joins with the Machame trail where we are joined by other groups on their way to Lava Tower or Baranco Camp. Here we will encounter our last long uphill hike along a rocky scree path to Sheffield Camp just west of Lava Tower. At this altitude, plant life is reduced to mosses, lichens and a few everlasting flowers. White-necked ravens soar close by, and friendly alpine chats hop around our tents. We could see the unusual lammergeyer or bearded vulture soaring high above us.
Day 7: Sheffield Camp
Today is an important day in the acclimatization process and allows our bodies to rest and further build red blood cells vital for the ascent to follow in the next few days.
It is a time to hydrate, build our appetite and rest our weary legs. For those who feel up to it you can take a 2 hour round trip acclimatization hike to Lava Tower where there is an exciting optional non-technical rock scramble to the top of this unusual lava tower where you will have spectacular panoramic vistas of the Karanga Valley below and spectacular Western Breach above.
Day 8: Sheffield Camp to Arrow Glacier Camp
A short trek to Lava Tower where we stop briefly then cross a small frozen stream then its an hour trek up a long steep climb on loose scree up the ridgeline.
From here it is another steep climb up to the Arrow Glacier campsite where we are right under the Western Breach, and surrounded on three sides by steep rocky slopes and cliffs. To the south, the terrain drops down into the Great Barranco Valley 3,000 feet below.
The views from Arrow Glacier camp are spectacular. To supplement our acclimatization, we take an afternoon hike up a spectacular ridge further up the Western Breach before relaxing in camp. This camp is famous for the absolutely magnificent sunsets, which illuminate the African sky. Early dinner and then off to bed as the temperature drops to freezing.
|Hiking Time: 3 hours|
|Total Distance: 2 km|
|Starting Altitude: 4338m (14235ft)|
|Final Altitude: 4800m (15978ft)|
|Environment: Alpine Desert|
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Day 9: Arrow Glacier Camp to Western Breach to Crater Camp
Around 5 am we rise to a light breakfast, tea or chocolate and begin our ascent of the Western Breach. We are usually an hour into the ascent when the sun rises behind Kili and we look forward to the sun cresting the breach and warming our bodies.
Early on the climb is straightforward and as we ascend higher some hand over hand scrambling is required in four sections and we may encounter snow. As we stop and rest the views of the Great Baranco Valley as the sun rises are stunning as we look back over Lava Tower and the Shira Plateau we crossed just a few days earlier.
As we crest the crater rim we are greeted by the Northern Icefield and Furtwangler Glacier. The wide crater floor is a magnificent Arctic moonscape and our camp is set in soft sand adjacent the indigo streaked Furtwangler Glacier.
For those trekkers who are up to it, dramatic and fascinating excursions to the Reusch Ash Pit and Northern and Eastern Ice Fields can be launched from Crater Camp.
Day 10: Crater Camp to Uhuru Summit to Millennium Camp or Mweka Camp (option)
After breakfast at 6 am we leave the barren moonscape features of the crater floor and begin our zigzag pattern through shallow snow if we are lucky for the final 300m push up the crater’s southern rim. After 90 mins we will find ourselves on the Roof of Africa.
Arriving at the summit you feel a huge sense of elation and accomplishment you have done it, you have made it to the highest point in Africa. We spend as much time as you need to appreciate your accomplishment, as this is a day to remember for the rest of your life!
The time you will spend on the summit will depend on the weather conditions and temperature.
We begin our descent passing alongside the iridescent blue Rebmann and Tarzel glaciers before reaching Stella Point and continue a 2-3 hour steep, dusty and demanding descent to Barafu Camp where we stop for a well deserved rest for lunch and remove some of our many layers of clothing as the day begins to heat up.
Leaving Barafu we descend due south for 4 km, losing a lot of altitude over the next 2 hours. After about an hour we come to a crossroads. To the left is a little used trail to the Horombo Huts on the Marangu Route and to the right is the Southern Circuit leading to the Keranga Valley.
At this point the Millennium Camp comes into view and our spirits are lifted as we eventually arrive at the Millennium Camp in the early afternoon where a hot shower and meal awaits.
Today is the longest, and the most mentally and physically challenging of the trek, but a life changing day that will stay with you forever, as you have conquered the heights of Kilimanjaro.
Day 11: Millennium Camp to Mweka Gate
Today your legs will be further tested as the path descends steeply through the lush Mweka Rain Forest. The trail is steep in places and the going slippery if wet.
The route follows the crest of a broad ridge separating two river valleys until it meets with a road that leads us for the last 40 mins to the Mweka Park gates where we stop for a well deserved picnic lunch and collect our certificates from the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority.
Post celebrations and tipping ceremony, we are taken by either private bus or 4wd to our hotel in Arusha.
Day 12: Depart Tanzania or continue your dream with an amazing safari extension
Depart Tanzania or continue your dream with an amazing safari extension.
For trekkers not continuing with a safari we provide transfers to Kilimanjaro International Airport or bus station for your onward journey.
Included in tour
Transfers to/from Kilimanjaro International Airport, Arusha shuttle bus terminus and to/from park entrance/exit gates for your selected route
All accommodation in Tanzania (double occupancy 3* Hotel) including breakfast (1 night before and one night after your climb-two nights total)
Kilimanjaro National Park entrance, camping, and rescue fees
Services of trip leader, climbing guides, and mountain crew
All dining and camping equipment (excluding sleeping bag unless rented)
All meals on the mountain
Filtered water (we use the Katadyn KFT Expedition filtration system) during the climb; tea, coffee, cocoa, milk and juices as required.
Portable private toilet with biodegradable waste system at all camps . Clean Mountain Can used to remove all waste from high camps for correct disposal.
Pressure Altitude Chamber (portable hyperbaric chamber) and oxygen on all climbs (for use in the event of an emergency)
Petzl Elios helmets ‐ required on the Western Breach ascent
First aid kit
Medsled Rescue stretcher
Personal Summit Certificate signed by the National Park for successful trekkers
Excluded in tour
Costs of visas
International airfare, excess baggage charges, airport departure taxes
Travel insurance, medical insurance
Sightseeing, game drives or meals not listed in each itinerary
Personal expenses such as beverages (other than those included with meals, as listed in each itinerary), room service, souvenirs, laundry, communication charges, medical or extra evacuation fees, staff gratuities.
Additional transportation, accommodation, and meals incurred by a client unable to continue a planned itinerary due to illness, health, medical conditions or due to airline schedule changes.