DAY 1: HOTEL – LEMOSHO START POINT (2424M) – FOREST CAMP (2821M)
Breakfast at your hotel is served from 0700. Please ensure that you have packed your bags before breakfast, have signed over your extra luggage that will not be required on the mountain to reception, and have deposited your valuables into the hotel’s safe. You will normally be collected at 0730 from your hotel. In the event that we have to collect climbers from other hotels before collecting you, we may need to amend this to 0800. Your driver will transfer you 111km and some 2 hours 10 minutes to Londorossi Gate where we complete registration formalities. Climbers should have their passport numbers for their registry entries (unless under 16 years of age or East African citizens), and are advised to have kept their passports and valuables in the hotel safe (excluding the amount they will budget for tipping their crew). Following registration we continue a further 12km by vehicle to the route’s start point. This final drive can take anywhere between 45 minutes and 1 hour 30, depending on road conditions. Please be very careful in wet weather or following a spell of recent rains as the road can become badly damaged and there is risk of being jolted inside the vehicle. When the driver delivers you to the start point please also note that following any transfer it is customary to tip the driver; around $5 - $10 per group is usual. When the road is in poor condition it is sometimes not safe or even possible for the vehicle to reach all the way to the road head. In this event there will be some 180 additional metres of vertical ascent to trek and 1.9km required to reach the start point. From Lemosho Start Point (2424m) to Forest Camp (2821m) the distance is 5.4km, over 400m of elevation gain. You are advised to stop regularly today and to move quietly in the hope of sighting wildlife near to the trail. Sightings of small antelope are virtually unique to the Lemosho and Rongai Routes.
DAY 2: FOREST CAMP (2821M) TO SHIRA 1 CAMP (3508M)
Trek from Forest Camp to Shira 1 Camp (3508m) on western edge of Shira Plateau. It is normal to experience mild headaches on this day which should be alleviated with paracetamol. Those choosing to take Diamox should begin their course this morning with half a tablet (125mg) in the morning and the other half with supper in the evening. The distance to Shira 1 is 7.7km. Optional afternoon acclimatisation ascent of Shira Ridge 3959m (Kilimanjaro’s 3rd volcanic summit) for arguably best views of Kibo (clear weather permitting). Descend to sleep lower at Shira One 3508m for overnight. Excursion distance = 7.6km.
DAY 3: SHIRA 1 CAMP (3508M) – MOIR HUT (4166M)
Trek from Shira 1 Camp (3508m) to Moir Hut (4166m) across Shira Plateau before rising along the flank of a re-entrant. Height gain 658m. Distance = 9.4km. Sunset acclimatisation before dinner to 4305m to ridge. Excursion Distance = 1.9km.
DAY 4: MOIR HUT – 3RD CAVES CAMP (3971M)
Trek clockwise around the northern slopes of Kilimanjaro from Moir Hut (4166m) via Pofu (4040m) to 3rd Caves Camp (3971m). Gradual traversing of Kili with classic views to the North-West, North and North-East. Distance = 17km.
DAY 5: 3RD CAVES CAMP (3971M) – SCHOOL HUT (4722M)
After gently traversing the northern slopes of Kilimanjaro yesterday, today we trek upwards from 3rd Caves Camp (3971m) to School Hut (4722m). Shorter distance than previous 2 days, but 751m of height gain. Distance = 4.9km. Aim to get to sleep as soon as possible as you will be woken at around 2300-0000 to begin your assault. Don’t worry about waking yourself for meals - your staff will wake you for these. You probably won’t feel like eating but please endeavour to do so as you’ll need the energy reserves. You are advised to get all your gear ready for the summit bid before you go to sleep as you may feel disoriented when awoken for the assault.
DAY 6: SCHOOL HUT (4722M) – GILMAN’S POINT (5708M) – UHURU PEAK (5895M) – MWEKA CAMP (3,090M)
Avoiding loose scree slopes above Kibo Hut, we ascend from School Hut (4722m) via Hans Meyer Cave (5243m) and Gilman’s Point (5708m), to Uhuru Peak (5895m). Descend to Crater Camp (5729m) for overnight (subject to guide’s concurring that all are adequately acclimatised). For quietest summit assault on Kilimanjaro we recommend summit bid to begin at 0400 - 0500, however for greater likelihood of clear summit views or for a dawn summit, we quit camp at around 2330 – 0100 (guide determines start time according to his perception of group’s pace). Around midnight of Day 5 - quit camp for the assault via Gilman’s Point (5708m) to the summit. Tonight is very difficult - particularly the final 550m - and you’ll need to commit to fight for the summit. You will inevitably feel like giving up and going to sleep. This is normal and can be overcome with perseverance. When resting please ensure you only stand or sit and do not lie down or close your eyes. Please trust your guide; he is very adept at judging whether your condition will allow safe progress or whether you have succumbed to a potentially dangerous condition and to proceed will not be safe. Nausea and headaches are normal and around a quarter of climbers will vomit at or near Gilman’s Point. While very uncomfortable, these are not symptoms that are indicative of being at risk, per se. The onset of cerebral and pulmonary oedema are marked by distinctive early warning symptoms that your guide is capable of identifying. Please maintain regular dialogue with him and frequently update him on how you are feeling. When you reach Gilman’s Point you will sit and rest. At this point the body often thinks you have finished your uphill fight and will be trying to coerce you into giving up and turning around. While you may genuinely believe that you have already exhausted your reserves in reaching this point, this is actually very unlikely to be so. Remember that you are only 187 vertical metres short of the summit (via Stella Point), the journey from here is much less steep, and you have plenty of time for further pauses. If you do feel the need to give up at Gilman’s Point please proceed towards the summit for just two minutes before making your final decision. In most cases this act of re-establishing momentum is enough to persuade the mind and body to co-operate with your intentions and you will ordinarily find hidden reserves for a final push, reserves that you were not aware you still had. On the summit your guide will advise how much time you can spend there in consideration of your condition, your timings, and the weather. The brain does not function very intelligently at this altitude so please remember to take many photographs in all directions or you will probably regret not having done so at a later stage. From the summit you will turn around and descend to Stella Point. When you reach Stella Point your guide may opt to switch left onto the loose scree, a departure from the ridge up which you ascended. On arrival at Barafu you would usually have time to rest an hour or so before continuing the descent after some refreshments. From Barafu you will usually descend to Mweka Camp (3090m) for overnight. If your guide judges that a shorter day will benefit you and preserve sore knees and ankles, he may decide to stop short at Millennium Camp (3820m) instead. Distances on summit day School Hut to Summit via Gillman’s Point: 5.4km Summit to Barafu: 4.5km Barafu to Mweka Camp: 6.3km Total = 16.2km
DAY 7: MWEKA CAMP (3090M) – MWEKA GATE (1641M)
This morning we descend from Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate (1641m) where we sign the summit register. After signing we descend a further 15 minutes on foot to Mweka Village to meet our transport, as the park authorities prefer groups’ vehicles to avoid congesting the area immediately beside Mweka gate as this is an important thoroughfare for casualty evacuations and is served by a single track road. Transfer from the gate back to Arusha. You should return back to Arusha sometime between 2 and 5pm, depending on your descent pace. Distance from Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate is 8.5km. Typical tips for mountain crew tend to average some 10-15% of climb cost. All climbers’ contributions are usually added together and the total amount is presented to the chief guide at Mweka Gate. Our guides always divide these tips fairly amongst their crew according to a customary scale that is determined by the responsibilities and experience of each staff member.