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Mount Kilimanjaro Climbing Routes

kiliman map showing all route

There are seven principal routes to climb Mount Kilimanjaro which are Marangu, Machame, Lemosho, Shira, Rongai, Northern Circuit and Umbwe. The Marangu, Machame, and Umbwe routes.

All approach from the south of the mountain (Mweka is used only for descent). The Lemosho, Shira and Northern Circuit routes approach from the west. The Rongai route approaches from the north.

Being one of the most popular mountains in the world, roughly 50,000 trekkers every year try to reach the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro.

Summit success rate heavily depends upon what route is climbed as routes vary considerably in terms of acclimatization profile and duration of climb.

 

The Machame Route and Umbwe Route depart from the south-west side of the mountain, and then use the Southern Circuit via Barafu and Stella Point to approach Uhuru Peak. Similarly, Shira Route and Lemosho Route also use the Southern Circuit to approach the summit and the Mweka route to descend; however both routes begin on the far west side off the mountain.

Marangu Route begins in the south-east and approaches Uhuru peak via Gilman’s Point. It is the only route on Kilimanjaro that has hut accommodation for the entire climb and uses the same trail to ascend and descend.

Rongai Route starts from the North-East and passes through the Saddle situated between Kibo and Mawenzi Peak to approach the summit via Gilman’s Point. The Rongai route descends via the Marangu Route.

The newest and longest route is the Northern Circuit which uses the same starting point as Lemosho but veers north before Lava Tower, circling around the north of the mountain and approaching Uhuru Peak via Gilman’s Point.

The Western Breach is a difficult trail and it offers poor acclimatization, is steep and remains rather unsafe for inexperienced trekkers. Most of  climbers who use the Western Breach usually approach from the Umbwe Route up to Lava Tower, before taking a steep ascent past Arrow’s Glacier and up the Western Breach to Crater Camp and Uhuru Peak. The Western Breach can also be approached using the Machame, Shira and Lemosho Route. Descent is usually via the Mweka Route.

The first is via the southern slopes of Kibo, up to Stella Point and then west around the crater rim to Uhuru Peak. This approach is used by trekkers on the Lemosho, Shira, Machame and Umbwe Routes.

The second assault passage approaches from the Eastern side of Kibo, up to Gilman’s Point and then west around the crater rim to Uhuru Peak. Trekkers on the Rongai and Marangu Route, and Northern Circuit use this passage to the summit.

Thirdly, trekkers can use the more technically challenging approach to the summit via the Western Breach.

Choosing of route can be with  combination of high success rates, excellent scenery, and high or low foot traffic.

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