Kilimanjaro Western Breach : The Western Breach of Kilimanjaro is a trail that ascends the western faces of the mountain’s snow-covered summit, Kibo. Trekkers on the Lemosho, Shira, Machame, and Umbwe Routes can all opt to bypass Barafu Huts and reach the summit via the Western Breach.
The Western breach trail begins near the eastern tip of the Shira Plateau, near Lava Tower. It then turns toward the snow-covered Kibo summit from there. After reaching the crater rim at the summit of Kibo, it takes only a few hours to reach Uhuru Peak, which is the true summit.
ADVANTAGES OF TAKING WESTERN BREACH ROUTE RATHER THAN THE REGULAR ROUTE?
There are three basic justifications for choosing the Western Breach over the standard path. The path’s direct access to Kibo’s crater is the first justification. Therefore, if you want to explore the crater and view some of its features, such as the Reusch Crater, Ash Pit, Furtwangler Glacier, etc., for yourself, this is the way that makes the most sense.
When compared to the people that swarm over the southern slopes of Kibo, the path is also thankfully calm. The mountain’s busiest area can at times be intolerably congested. On the Western Breach, though, there won’t be as many people.
Last but not least, the trail offers greater difficulty than the usual route. In other spots, you’ll need to scramble and lift yourself to the top using both your arms and your legs. Although it isn’t precisely rising, it is harder than the typical route and more exciting.
AND WHAT ARE THE DISADVANTAGES?
The Western Breach’s single main drawback is that it is riskier. In fact, the Western Breach as a whole was shut down for several years after the deaths of six porters and three hikers ten years ago. They died while climbing a rock fall. Even though the trail is now open again, not much has been done to make it safer. Indeed, an increasing number of rocks are being freed from the ice’s hold as a result of global warming’s frightening rate of glacier melt on Kili.
In other words, over the next few years, these kinds of disasters might actually be more likely to occur than less likely. Because of this, several businesses completely reject taking passengers on the Western Breach. And even those who do insist on helmet use by hikers, before they will allow you to hike this trail, you will also need to sign a waiver form.
These safety measures probably won’t be very effective in stopping the next disaster. However, that is not their purpose. Instead, they are intended to shield the businesses from legal action should another accident occur.
IS CLIMBING THE WESTERN BREACH EXPENSIVE?
The expense of a walk up the Western Breach shouldn’t be significantly higher than the standard path, in principle. However, there is typically a US$100 surcharge for staying at Crater Campsite, which is directly in the path of the Western Breach. The additional pay for the porters will also be your responsibility. Since they are unfamiliar with climbing Kibo, they were probably provided an inducement to do so this time.
However, in order to discourage you from using the Western Breach, the agencies may also demand a higher price. They most likely don’t want the extra work involved in planning a hike along this path. They might be alarmed by the elevated possibility of an accident. Because of all these factors, they can either decline to accept a reservation for the Western Breach or put a high price on it.
KILIMANJARO’S WESTERN BREACH ITINERARY
Please take note that day 1 of the following itinerary (Lava Tower to Arrow Glacier) will not be your first day on the mountain. Depending on the path you select, you will have already been walking for a number of days to reach this place.
You will therefore arrive at Lava Tower on your fourth afternoon or fifth morning, for instance, if you are traveling along the Lemosho Route, which is the most popular route chosen by hikers traveling to the Western Breach.
On Machame, it will be your fourth afternoon or fifth morning when you join the Western Breach and travel from Lava Tower to Arrow Glacier.
On the other hand, if you’re traveling the Umbwe Route, you’ll likely start off on the Western Breach Route on your fourth morning up the mountain after spending the night at Lava Tower.
Day 1: Lava Tower To Arrow Glacier
- Distance: 2.5km; Altitude Gained: 244m
People who intend to ascend through the Western Breach frequently camp near Lava Tower. Hopefully, any altitude sickness we are experiencing right now is not too severe. Since it’s now all uphill, we sincerely hope that it will be over by this morning.
According to our calculations, even if taken pole-to-pole, this particular leg only lasts about 75 minutes. However, it’s not uncommon for trekking organizations to dedicate an entire day to it. This looks a little too cautious in one sense. It also means that, except for those 75 minutes, the rest of the day will be spent inside your tent, freezing to death.
On the other hand, at this height, it’s wise to take your time. After all, with the exception of the Crater Camp, this is the highest spot on the mountain where we may set up your tent (the Arrow Glacier Campsite is 4871m above sea level), and that kind of altitude should always be taken seriously. Additionally, despite only taking about 75 minutes to complete, the walk is rather taxing because it is completely uphill.
Before beginning the difficult ascent to Arrow Glacier, you must first pass one or more streams. This area has always been somewhat of a disaster due to avalanches, and not much has changed. However, if we’re not staying overnight at the peak, we won’t stay here all night and will leave by 2 a.m.
Day 2: Arrow Glacier Campsite To Uhuru Peak And Descent To Mweka Camp
- Distance: 4km; Altitude Gained: 1024m
Although it sounds like there is just one way to get from the campsite to the crater rim, this isn’t the case. Rockfalls and snowfalls force adjustments in the course. Regardless of the path we choose, it will be strenuous and steep. Without a doubt, our guide will go for the rocky ridge that is visible from the Arrow Glacier Campsite. It is a ridge that descends into the camp from the rock towers close to the crater. The “Stone Train” is the name of this ridge.
After that, we reached the Rock Stairs, which are somewhat of a relief after the shifting scree. The porters also see these stairs as a “Point of No Return”; once they learn that you have arrived here, they disperse camp and March toward Mweka. (Unless you intend to spend the night in Crater Camp, in which case they will be directly behind you.)
Before reaching the crater rim (5729m), the trail now carefully weaves its way among the crater’s granite towers. The first of many breathtaking sights up here is the Furtwangler Glacier, which is to our left. Finally, on level ground, it takes 10 minutes to reach the boulder-filled Crater Campsite (also 5729m).
To the summit (and down again)
It takes 50 minutes to make the challenging ascent to Uhuru Peak from here. The trail is clearly visible, engraved into the crater wall. You’ll be cursing every zigzag and switching back along the route because it’s a difficult climb. However, keep going because the sensation of accomplishment at its peak is unmatched. And it’s a feeling that will follow you all the way back to your own nation and all the way down. Because once you reach the top, you’ll think you can accomplish anything.
At the summit, we take a break before moving on to Barafu Camp. You’ll eat breakfast and unwind for an hour here. The Mweka Trail is then used as we continue our march down the mountain. Returning from Millennium Camp (3827m), we will descend via the alpine desert, heath, and moorland zones before returning to the forest zone.
Our last stop on the hike is the Mweka Campsite (3106m), which is located there among the woods. We have been walking for nearly 16 hours, with fewer pauses, and should get there around 4 o’clock! It was exhausting, but after you reached the top, you’d say it was worthwhile!
Day 3: Mweka Camp To Mweka Gate
- Distance: 9.1km; Altitude Gained: 1473m
From the campsite, it will only take a few more hours to reach Mweka Gate (1633 meters). When they arrive, those who made it to Stella Point or the peak can pick up their certificates. Back at your hotel, where there are hot showers and cold beverages, a car will be ready to drive you there. The journey is over.