Kilimanjaro via the Western Breach
Location: Kilimanjaro, Africa – 5895m via acclimatisation ascent of Mount Meru (4556m)
Price: £2250 per person excluding international flights
Ratio: There are twelve spaces on this trip
Length: Two weeks
Previous Experience Required: Happy on grade 1 scrambling ground, fit and keen.
Kilimanjaro needs little introduction. It is a majestic peak that rises from the deserts of Africa, home to lush tropics, temperate climes, alpine moorland, barren high-alpine desert and snow-capped summits. Standing at 5895m it is the highest mountain in Africa and one of the worlds 7 summits. It is a magnificent achievement to have climbed it and yet is non-technical and accessible to anyone who is fit and mentally tough enough.
Summary of the Trek
We will fly to Tanzania and meet up with our team of local guides, cooks and porters. We will then spend the first few days climbing Mount Meru (4556m) which will aid our acclimatisation and increase our chances of summit success on Kili itself. Mt Meru is located in the Arusha National Park and in its own right is the 5th highest mountain in Africa. It is a beautiful freestanding volcano and the trek includes an exhilerating ridge walk to the summit.
We will then spend 6 days climbing the Machame Route on Kili. The Machame Route climbs the western side of the mountain and when combined with the Western Breach to the summit gives one of the most complete outings on the mountain. It is one of the more challenging routes but has more variety than most and also allows for a nice steady altitude profile.
The Western Breach is a large gash in the flank of the mountain which will provide our route to the summit itself. It is the hardest, most impressive non-technical route to the crater rim. The views are breathtaking and the route is generally quieter than the other alternatives. It involves some grade 1 scrambling at altitude so we need to be fit and well acclimatised.
Days one to five: Fly out together from London to Kilimanjaro airport and make an ascent of Mt Meru. Giraffes, buffalo and monkeys are a regular sight as we wind our way up the mountain slowly, giving plenty of time to acclimatise. Our summit bid starts under a starlit sky and sunrise photos should be awesome.
Days six to eleven: We begin our slow and gradual ascent of Kili itself, nicely acclimatised after our first five days. (In a recent investigation by the Expedition Advisory Service at the Royal Geographical Society, they recommended an ascent of Mt Kenya or Mt Meru prior to attempting Kilimanjaro). After an ascent of the Machame Route and the Western Breach we will enjoy the views from the top of Africa before returning to Moshi via the Mweka Route which will complete a nice circuit of the mountain.
Days Twelve & Thirteen – Return home to London on an evening flight for breakfast.
We will be climbing the mountain in June as traditionally this is a dry season. Temperatures can vary from mid 20’s in the valley to below freezing on the summit. Because the mountain is on the equator sun rise and sun set remain fairly consistent throughout the year and give about 12 hours of daylight every day.
The porters on Kili work extremely hard and it is important that this work is recognised and rewarded and that local staff receive protection and recognition for the important role that they play. Our local operator is a proud partner for responsible travel with the International Mountain Explorers Connection. They are one of just a few Kilimanjaro trekking companies to qualify for IMEC membership. In order to be a partner, they must adhere to IMEC’s guidelines on porter care regarding wages and gratuities, loads, and provisions on the mountain. For more information on IMEC’s guidelines for Kilimanjaro operators, please view their website at http://www.mountainexplorers.org.
Kilimanjaro is not a cheap mountain to climb. More than 50% of the cost of the expedition is made up of park fees and peak fees. The plus side to this is that all of this money is going into the local economy. The price includes:
– All park entrance, camping and hut fees
– All meals and filtered drinking water while on the mountain
– Camping equipment including mountaineering mess and sleeping tents (Mt. Hardwear, North Face, Marmot), table & chairs, sleeping mattresses & pillows
– UK leadership
– Local Guide, cook and porter salaries and fees
– Baggage porterage
– Transport to/from national park gates
– UK training day prior to the trip
The cost Excludes:
Visa fees – currently £40 for a 30 day trip
Meals at either end of the trek
Any expenses of personal nature as bar bills, laundry,telephone
Travel and medical insurance
Evacuation by helicopter
Optional trips and tours
International Flights (approx £700 in 2013)
Cancellation & Insurance
This trip is classed as an overseas expedition and is subject to our terms and conditions of booking so please make sure you read them before committing to the trip. Once you book an expedition I will reserve that space for you, hire local and UK staff and make arrangments in the country we are visiting. Hopefully you will have no need to cancel but if you do I will try and re-sell the space for you. A deposit is required to book the course and is non-refundable. If you cancel less than 16 weeks before the course starts I can only offer a refund once I have sold the space on your behalf. Please take out cancellation insurance at your time of booking in case the unexpected happens. (Travel insurance is mandatory for the expedition anyway)
Each course member must have with them and show proof of insurance for the duration of the course on the first evening ie personal accident, rescue and public liability. Our approved insurance contractors are:
BMC: 0870 0104878 www.thebmc.co.uk
We will send you a detailed kit list when you book. Some of the specialist kit that you will need includes:
Crampon compatable winter mountaineering boots
Four season sleeping bag
Ice Axe – I can lend you free of charge
Crampons – I can lend you free of charge
(The latter two should not be needed but we will carry them in case of exceptional conditions on the mountain. You do not need winter skills experience to join the expedition. The main reason for having winter boots is the additional warmth that they will provide at altitude.)
Leadership & Staffing
I will be guiding the trip myself and will be supported by a local guiding team who have climbed the mountain many times before. As on any of my trips and courses the first consideration will be the safety of the whole team, closely followed by having fun and reaching the summit!
You need to be happy on grade 1 scrambling ground. Good preparation in this respect is our intro to scrambling course. Previous experience at altitude is beneficial but is not essential. An ideal first trip to altitude is our trip to climb Toubkal. Whatever your previous experience you need to be fit to enjoy this trip.
Fitness & Health
It is worth pointing out that this is a remote mountain adventure. That has many positive points but on of the downsides is that if you become ill or injured then evacuation is very difficult. I therefore need every trip member to be fit and healthy before we leave and stay that way! For that reason I will send everyone that books a medical declaration that I need completed and returned to me ASAP.
The fitter you are, the more you will enjoy this trip. It is essential that you do some training in advance to prepare yourself. The sooner you can start a training programme the better, but its never too late.
To enjoy the trek you need to be happy walking all day with a rucksack on your back for 7 days in a row. An average day will involve 6 hours of trekking with the summit day being a twelve hour day. An ideal training programme would be to spend as many weekends as possible walking in the mountains prior to the trip. If you can bag one or two summits on each day that you go out your fitness will soon improve.
Additionally you should aim for three sessions a week of aerobic exercise to get the heart pumping. I find swimming particularly good as it is a low impact all round work out but cycling and brisk walking are equally suitable.
Whatever exercise you choose start off very easily and slowly increase the duration of the exercise. Make sure you warm up before hand to avoid muscle pain and warm down slowly at the end. Vary your weekly routine or you will soon get bored.
Once I recieve and confirm your booking I will send you a complete dossier that provides full and detailed information on the program, health preparations, kit list, accommodation etc.