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Hardest route for Kilimanjaro hiking

Hardest Route for Kilimanjaro Hiking
There are seven established routes for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro’s summit, and all of them provide different experiences for hikers. The number of days spent trekking will depend on which route you select. The seven Mount Kilimanjaro routes are: Machame route, Lemosho route, Shira route, Northern circuit route, Marangu route, Rongai route, and Umbwe route.
Hardest Route for Kilimanjaro Hiking Umbwe Route The Umbwe trail is the hardest yet shortest route for hiking Mount Kilimanjaro’s summit. The route requires trekkers with mountaineering experience, although it’s non-technical.
The advantage of using the Umbwe route is that you get rewarded with some of the most panoramic views of Mount Kilimanjaro, and you will also have the whole mountain to yourself because this trail is not crowded like other trails.
The Umbwe route is steep and the most direct to the mountain, exposing ridges and requiring trekkers to be in good physical shape because you will have to cling to tree branches and rocks at some points.
The success rate for reaching the summit using the Umbwe route is low compared to other routes because it’s direct and short, not allowing hikers to acclimatize, hence causing altitude sickness for most climbers.
Day 1 The climb using the Umbwe route starts from Umbwe park gate along the stunning Umbwe river and montane rainforests, from 1600 meters elevation to 2900 meters elevation, and camps at Umbwe cave camp. The time taken for hiking is 6 hours, covering a distance of 11 kilometers.
Day 2 Day two of the climb starts from 2900 meters elevation to 3930 meters altitude, where you will spend a night at Barranco camp. The 4 to 5-hour hike takes you through the remaining part of montane forests, western breach, and the great Barranco. You will get to cover a distance of only 6 kilometers on the second day.
Day 3 On the third day, you scramble through the great Barranco wall to Karanga valley beneath Kersten, Decken, and Heim glaciers. The hike takes 4 hours of traversing through the alpine desert, and you will camp at Karanga camp overnight. This is a shorter day meant for acclimatization.
Day 4 On the fourth day, you trek to the junction of Mweka trail, traverse through a rocky area to Barafu hut, where you get superb views of the summit. You will need to eat an early dinner and rest early because you will wake up for the summit at around 11 pm. The fourth-day hike takes about 4 to 5 hours, covering a distance of 4 kilometers.
Day 5 Day 5 is the most hectic day of the climb because you have to wake up at 11 pm to prepare for the summit hike that starts at midnight. It can be extremely cold, and you have to trek using headlamps in the night. By the time you reach Stella point, you will be rewarded with the most beautiful sunrise you have probably never seen. At Uhuru peak, you will have a few minutes to observe the outstanding beauty of Africa’s highest mountain and take photos. You will then descend and stop over at Barafu hut for lunch before continuing to Mweka hut for a night. This is the longest day you will have, with a summit hike taking 7 to 8 hours and the descent taking 4 to 6 hours.
Day 6 The sixth day will be your last day on the mountain. You descend from Mweka hut to Mweka gate, covering 10 kilometers in 3 to 4 hours. At Mweka gate, you will receive summit certificates and have a celebration with your guides and porters before you depart to your hotel room or airport. Don’t forget to tip your porters and guides on this day.
The overall distance covered using the Umbwe route is 53 kilometers, covered in 5 to 6 days. However, it’s advisable to use the 6-day option in order to allow your body to adapt to altitude.


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