Lemosho Route

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Lemosho Route

Year Round Ascents

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Kilimanjaro by the Lemosho Route
10 days Grade B  Fully Porter Supported
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The Lemosho Route: is an unspoilt, remote, little-used and beautiful way up to the Shira Plateau. It can either be used to gain the Western Breach route or followed by the Kibo South Circuit to ascend by the easier Barafu Route. The route is one of the few where groups may be accompanied on the first day by an armed ranger as the forests around the Lemosho Glades are rich in buffalo, elephant and other big game animals.

The standard route can be done in 7 days on the mountain; however since the route is quite long a party wishing to ascend more comfortably take 8 days on the mountain by camping at Karanga Valley before going on to Barafu. This is how the route is described below.

A strong party can complete the trip in 6 days via the Western Breach when this route is re-opened - this is a tough option.

Both the Barafu and Western Breach options are described below.

Day 1 Arrive at the hotel.
Day 2 Drive from Moshi or Arusha to Londorossi Park Gate (2250m, 2 hours). From here a forest track requiring a 4WD vehicle leads to Lemosho Glades (2100m, 11km, 45 minutes) and a possible campsite (park fees are not paid to camp here). Walk along forest trails to Mti Mkubwa (big tree) campsite, (2750m, 3 hours).
Day 3 The trail gradually steepens and enters the giant heather moorland zone. Several streams are crossed then it gains the Shira Ridge at about 3600m and drops gently down to Shira 1 camp located by a stream on the Shira Plateau (3500m, 5 hours). This campsite could be omitted.
Day 4 A gentle walk across the plateau leads to Shira 2 camp on moorland meadows by a stream (3850m, 1.5 hours). A variety of walks are available on the Plateau making this an excellent acclimatisation day.
Day 5 Continue east towards Kibo passing the junction, then east towards the Lava Tower. Shortly after this, you descend to Barranco hut (3940m, 4 hours).
Day 6 A short scramble to the top of the Great Barranco and then a traverse over scree and ridges to the Karanga Valley (4000m, 3 hours). Excellent views of the icefalls of the Heim, Kersten and Decken Glaciers. Day 6 & 7 Video
Day 7 After climbing out of the Karanga Valley the trail ascends a ridge to the Barafu Hut, a bleak location with little vegetation at 4600m, (3 hours walking).
Day 8 An early start for the ascent to the rim of the Kibo Crater between the Rebmann and Ratzel Glaciers, (4 hours); the last section before the rim can sometimes be snow-covered and an ice-axe or ski stick is useful for balance. From here a further hour leads to Uhuru Peak, from where there are often fine views of Meru to the west and the jagged peak of Mawenzi to the east. Descend to the Barafu Hut for a rest and lunch before continuing on down to camp at Mweka Hut in the giant heather zone on the forest edge. Those with energy on the summit may wish to descend to the Reutsh Crater and visit the dramatic ice pinnacles of the Eastern Icefields. Video
Day 9 A 3-4 hour descent through beautiful forest brings you to the Park gate and your waiting transport. Drive back to the hotel.
Day 10 Depart hotel after breakfast.

Accommodation on the mountain is in tents; you will need a sleeping bag but a sleeping mat is provided. The porters do not pitch the tents for you but will help if you wish.

This is a strenuous walking trip but within the limits of a fit individual used to walking in mountain areas. Ski sticks or ice-axe are useful when ascending the scree to the summit.

The programme is available all the year round.

Included in the cost :
All park fees, guides, porters, cook, all meals on the mountain and breakfast at the hotel.

Not included in the cost:
Tips, airport transfers, extra drinks and additional meals at the hotel.

See also hotel details and facilities, safari extensions, Zanzibar extensions, weather.

Western Breach Variation This route can be done in 5 nights via the Western Breach when it is re-opened. In this case the itinerary from Day 5 becomes:
Day 5 The moorlands soon come to an end and the rocky path leads amongst outcrops to the Lava Tower where there are good campsites (4600m, 4 hours). A strong group may want to continue up a steep scree path to the site of the Arrow Glacier hut where there are poor campsites (4800m, 5.5 hours).
Day 6 From the Lava Tower [or Arrow Glacier] steep scree and rocky outcrops requiring scrambling lead up the Western Breach to the crater floor. On rare occasions after snowfalls the route can become icy and in these conditions an ice axe or ski stick will be required, (5700m, 6 [or 4.5] hours). It is possible to camp almost anywhere in the crater or in a further 2 hours Uhuru Point may be reached. Descend the Mweka Route to Mweka Hut, 5 hours.
Day 7 A 3-4 hour descent through beautiful forest brings you to the Park gate and your waiting transport. Drive back to the hotel.
Day 8 Depart hotel after breakfast.
NB from the Lava Tower Hut to Mweka via Uhuru will take at least 14 hours including rests and lunch at Barafu! Start at 2 am at the latest.

For more pictures of services and the ascent click here.

Route Map
route diagram
click to see full map in new window

Kibo from the Shira Ridge

Lunch stop

In the forests

Crossing the Shira Plateau

At the Barranco Camp

Summit sunrise

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ALW 23/10/03