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Kilimanjaro Climb - Trip Blog and Thoughts

Hey all, I just wanted to share my blog, and some thoughts on the mountain.

www.walktheearth.us/tanzania/kilimanjaro


My route:
1 Londorossi to Big Tree Camp
2 Big Tree to Shira 2 Camp
3 Shira 2 to Moir Hut with Lent Mountain hike
4 Moir Hut to Barranco with Lava Tower hike
5 Barranco to Karranga
6 Karranga to Barafu
7 Barafu to Uruhu to Crater Camp with ash pit hike
8 Crater Camp to Mweka Gate


TEN THINGS ABOUT THE CLIMB

1. Bring a pee bottle, more than 32 oz. capacity. I got this advice a few days before I left and it was the best information I received. Use the bottle to pee in so you don't have to exit the tent 2-3 times in the middle of the night; dump it in the morning. You will love me for this tidbit - I promise.

2. Skip the forest camps if possible. They are small, crowded, ugly and nothing special. For the Lemosho Route, that means skipping Big Tree (go from Londorossi to Shira 1) and Mweka (descend in one day or return to Barafu). Acclimatization may be an issue on the ascent, however.

3. Midnight ascent - why? Unless you want to be at the summit at sunrise, there is no need to ascend at midnight in the dark and freezing cold. I left at 8AM wearing my normal gear (no parka) summited at noon-ish (yes, I know noon isn't the best for photos). But, I was totally alone at the top, with my guide, for 30 minutes, setting up my tripod for photos and doing panoramic 360 stitch photos. The ground/skree was not hard to climb in the sun. In fact, probably easier than doing it in the dark given I can see it.

4. Crater - not to be missed. Once you summit, even if you aren't doing crater camp, go down the route that brings you next to the glacier and crater. It's an easy descent on skree and being able to touch the glacier ice is magnificent. The ash pit hike is cool too. Do it.

5. Barranco Camp was the prettiest. The hike to and from Barranco, up the wall, was the most scenic, in my opinion.

6. Nalgene bottles are unnecessary if you have a camelback. I had a 2L bladder and it was plenty. You can have it refilled during the day if needed. I never used my 2 Nalgenes, and donated them to my porters.

7. Bring more comfort food, less health bars. I had a ton of bars/gels/powders that I didnt use and ended up giving them to my porters. I'd bring no more than 2 per climbing day. They give you a lot of food up there. Instead, I wished I'd brought some junk food because the same tastes get tiresome. I would have loved a pack of gum, Sprees, potato chips, Doritos, Combos, crackers, etc.

8. Difficulty of climb is exagerrated. I consider myself to be slightly above average in fitness. This mountain was only mildly difficult. I'd rate it a 5 or 6 of 10, and I carried 16-18kg everyday except descent. I met a couple of Colorado hikers afterwards and they agreed that it was terribly easy - easier than any day hike they do. The only day I felt tired (although admittedly I was VERY tired) was descent from Crater(Stella) to Mweka Gate (5750m to 1800m), which I did in 6 hours.

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