Climb Mount Kilimanjaro - The Shira / Western Breach route

This is the route we most highly recommend. It is also commonly referred to as the Lemosho or Forest route. Because of this, it can be somewhat confusing when you first begin to gather information on climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. The original trailhead, used when the route was first pioneered, is not often used any more because of its more remote location and difficulty to reach by vehicle. The newer more common trailhead is accessed much more easily through by the Londorossi Gate park entrance. The new trail joins the old trail at XXXXXX on the 2nd day. On this climb you will advance on the mountain from the western side and then enter the south end of the outer volcanic crater through the Western Breach Wall. What this means is you will have some boulder scrambling to do. But it is not "rock" climbing or "rock wall" climbing and no technical climbing gear is required.

We recommend this route because it is a slightly longer, overall less steep approach to the summit at Uhuru Peak. Aside from the push to Crater Camp on the day before summit day, this route allows for a slower ascent and more time to acclimatize to the increasing altitude. In addition, because you spend the night before your summit push (and the subsequent 7,000 ft. descent to your final night's camp) in the outer volcanic crater at 18,500 ft. asl, the push to the summit is only an 840 ft., approximately one hour climb. As a result, this route offers the greatest rate of success. It is also very beautiful. This is the route we include in our standard CLIMB AND SAFARI package.

Most other routes require you to rise on summit day around midnight and hike for approximately 8 to 9 hours (5 or 6 of them in the dark) to reach the summit, then descend 7,000 - 9,000 ft. to your final camp, all in the same day. The full Western Breach route description and itinerary is as follows:


Day 1 - ENTRANCE GATE TO FOREST CAMP 9400 ft, 4-5 hours

After an early start and a good breakfast, we drive to Londorosi gate at 7,200 ft. and sign in, then drive to the trail head starting point, 7,000 ft.. Picnic lunch along the trail. Trek through beautiful mountain forest. Upon arrival in camp an orientation to camping facilities will be carried out. Refreshments and snacks will be provided and then we rest for remainder of the afternoon before an early dinner.

Day 2 - SHIRA CAMP ONE 11,400 ft, 6-8 hours

Leave the forest behind and enter the heather zone, picnic lunch along the trail. The camp is on east side of the Shira Plateau and the magnificent Kibo peak is in view when the weather is clear.

Day 3 - SHIRA CAMP TWO 12,600 ft, 3-4 hours

Moorland zone. It is a short day and lunch is served after reaching camp. We'll take a short evening hike for better acclimatization. Early dinner and bed for ample rest.

Day 4 - LAVA TOWER 14,700, 4-5 hours

Alpine Desert. Trekking through bare land to Lava tower camp gives a very impressive view of the country and the lower landscape. A short acclimatization evening hike and lava tower summit attempt are optional after a short siesta. Early dinner and bed.

Day 5 - ARROW GLACIER CAMP 16,000 ft, 11/2 - 2 hours

The shortest day, but this steep hike takes you to your camp right at the base of the massive and magnificent Kibo...THE DORMANT GIANT... and face to face with the greater and lesser western breach walls. The Arrow glacier is hardly seen due to soil and debris from above covering its surface. Climb higher and sleep lower, plus trail acquaintance, are done from this camp for better acclimatization.

Day 6 - CRATER CAMP 18,500 ft, 7-9 hours

Steep and strenuous trekking. Leave early after breakfast eat picnic lunch along the trail. It is a combination of trekking and, in a couple of places, scrambling through and over boulders and rocks. Crater camp is next to the gigantic Furterngler glacier centrally placed in the crater.

Day 7 - SUMMIT ASSAULT & MILLENNIUM CAMP 12,600 ft, 9-10 hours

The BIG DAY! Leave for the summit after breakfast. It takes 1-2 hours to conquer Uhuru point... the summit of Kibo Peak and the highest point on the African continent. After photo ops, we start descending for Millennium camp with a picnic lunch along the trail at 15,600 ft. about 3-4 hours from the summit. Continue down another 3-4 hours to Millennium camp. Spend the last evening on Kilimanjaro taking pictures of both Kibo and Mawenzi peaks. Wash up, have dinner and exchange after dinner farewells and gratitude's to your guides, cooks and porters as the next morning's departure is an early one.

Day 8 - MWEKA GATE pick-up point, 7-9 hours

The walk out on the last day is long, so we must leave Millennium Camp very early in the morning. On arrival at the gate you will be met by a wonderful, well deserved picnic lunch. We'll then sign out and drive to the lodge, rest a little and a enjoy special dinner with a certificate presentation ceremony.

Price this Itinerary

Back to top of page

Kapanya Kitaba, Climb Kilimanjaro, Kili, Climb Kili, Africa, Terry Richter Safari, climbandsafari, East Africa