November 26, 2013
Thinking about climbing Kilimanjaro in 2014? Take a quick look at why we choose to climb via the Machame and Umbwe routes and find out which route might be best for you.
In 2014, we will lead climbs up the Machame and Umbwe trails on Kilimanjaro. The Machame and Umbwe routes take us past some of Kilimanjaro’s most spectacular scenery. Since we have a large difference in altitude between the start of the climb and the summit, we get the opportunity to go through many vegetation zones for a complete “Kili experience.” Another plus is that the crowds are less than on the normal, Marangu route.
The Kilimanjaro National Park staff has done a lot of work in recent years on the Machame trail. Improved drainage has eliminated the deep mud issues of the past. The camps have also been improved, and there are Park rangers stationed at the camps to ensure that porters are not overloaded and that rubbish is removed.
On the Umbwe route, we’re taking the “road less traveled” for good reason. Your first overnight will be near the Umbwe Cave, at an intimate campsite in the rain forest. You’ll experience some slightly steeper and sporty trekking, most noticeable on Day 2. This more direct route takes us to Barranco Camp in two days, where we’ll then spend an active rest day acclimatizing. A little extra effort, but worthwhile in every respect. The camp at Barranco is spectacular, starring up at the Western Breech, while beginning the following morning with a fun climb of the Barranco Wall. From Barranco and above, the Machame and Umbwe routes converge, sharing the same campsites all the way to the top.
Both the Umbwe and Machame trail are 7 day ascents of the mountain. By taking a full 7 days for the climb, people have a very reasonable acclimatization program. On ay 5, going to high camp from Karanga is short, which allows us to reach high camp without having had a hard, long climbing day, so we get there early, shortly after noon. That means plenty of time to drink, eat, pack and rest in preparation for our early start the next day when we push up to Uhuru Peak for the team’s summit bid. We will descend via the Mweka Route as required by the National Park.
For more details, please review the trip itinerary found here: http://www.mountainguides.com/kilimanjaro-itin.shtml
Summary: You can’t go wrong with either the Umbwe and Machame routes. But whichever route your choose, please keep in mind that Kili is very physically demanding. You’ll want to do your part to be in excellent shape and come prepared to work hard. With you bringing your best to the table, your efforts will be doubled because you’ll have the best-of-the-best walking beside you each step of the way. We’ll send one of our world-class IMG guides to lead the way. Andy Politz, Craig John and Sheldon Kerr bring their combined decades of high altitude experience and medical training with them on each climb. They will be your greatest source of encouragement if you’re struggling to keep going and your best safety net in the event you must descend quickly due to altitude sickness. Having experts with you on an endeavor like Kilimanjaro is essential. That’s why in the last 20+ years we’ve not missed the top as a team yet. Join us in Tanzania in 2014. You’ll be glad you did!
P.S. Take advantage of our $500 early decision discount by signing up for your 2014 Kilimanjaro climb by Christmas and save big!