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The Umbwe - Western Breach route


Machame | Machame/Breach | Marangu (tourist) | Umbwe/Breach | Umbwe/Machame 

Lemosho (Shira)/Breach | Lemosho (Shira)/Machame | Rongai/Loitokitok  

Umbwe - Western Breach route

Important update: currently the Western Breach routes are closed until further notice due to dangerous rockfall!

The information below if just for reference, no trips are being offered through the Breach as this moment.

The Umbwe Route is slightly steeper than the Machame Route. Once at the Barranco Hut, you can continue on with the other Machame hikers on the South Circuit on the Umbwe Machame variation, but it is usually done in conjunction with this Western Breach approach. 

The Western Breach route is reached from the Barranco Hut via the Lava Tower Camp. The night before summiting is spent at the Arrow Glacier Camp. The summit path goes straight up a rocky amphitheater. It is not technical, but there is some scrambling over steep icy rock. A seasoned mountaineer will find it easy, but newbies might be over their head.

Once at the top of the amphitheater, there are magnificent views of the crater and glaciers. There is one more fairly short but switch-backed hill to climb to the summit.


Most people descend down the Mweka trail and stay at the Mweka camp the final night on the mountain. An alternative is to descend the Marangu route if you like crowds, but availability may be limited in the Horombo Hut.   This route is usually done in 5 or 6 days but 7 or 8 is recommended. The extra day(s) can be spent resting at one of the higher camps or even in the crater itself.

Umbwe - Western Breach Route Itinerary

6 to 7 days, 55 km


Moshi Booked into accommodation in Moshi for overnight
Day 1
To Umbwe Cave
1800m to 2800 m
About 5 hours
Drive from Moshi to the Umbwe Gate. Commence the climb through the rain forest with packed lunch on route. Dinner and overnight at the first encampment at 2,800 meters. 
Lower down, the trail can be muddy and slippery and even steep, but not technical.
Day 2
To Barranco Hut
2800m to 3900m
About 4 hours
After breakfast, we leave the glades of the forest and follow an ascending path on the open moorland to the Barranco Hut located at 3,900 meters. Dinner and overnight at the campsite. 
Day 3
Acclimatization Day
Variable walking time 
This is an acclimatization day at Barranco, walking around the greater Barranco and up to the Breach Wall. Dinner and overnight at the campsite.

Alternatively, you can hike up to the Lava Tower Camp at 3400m. Very few climbers camp there, but it can also be colder.
Day 4
To Arrow Glacier
3840m to 4850m About 3 hours
 Depart from Barranco, ascending slowly to the Arrow Glacier at 4,850 meters. Dinner and overnight at the Arrow campsite. 
Day 5 To Summit and Mweka Hut
4850m to 5895m
(and down to 3100m)
About 11 hours
Early morning, commence the ascent to the summit on very steep rocky and heavy scree up to Uhuru Peak (5, 895 meters), the highest point in Africa. Scrambling will be needed and it can be snowy and icy up this way. From here we descend going straight down to the Mweka encampment (lunch and rest at Barafu Hut) for dinner and overnight. This part of the descent takes about 5 hours. You will want gaiters and trekking poles for the loose gravel going down. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep. Beer and soda may be available for purchase at the Mweka Hut -- the only place on this route.
Day 6 To Moshi
3100m to 1830m
About 4 hours
After breakfast, we continue the descent down to the Mweka Park Gate. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts will probably be plenty to wear (keep raingear and warmer clothing handy). A vehicle will meet you at Mweka village to drive you back to hotel in Moshi. Don't forget to tip your guides and porters. It is time for celebration!

Check out the trips page for the current 7summits Kilimanjaro trips prices

Machame | Machame/Breach | Marangu (tourist) | Umbwe/Breach | Umbwe/Machame 

Lemosho (shira)/Breach | Lemosho (Shira)/Machame | Rongai/Loitokitok