The Western Breach Route is the most technically challenging route to Kilimanjaro’s Summit. The Western Breach sits on the western side of Kibo and was formed hundreds of thousands of years ago by volcanic eruptions and lava flows from Kibo’s Crater.
The Western Breach can be approached from many of Kilimanjaro Routes, including the Lemosho and Shira Route in the West, and the Machame and Umbwe Route in the South. The Umbwe Route is the most popular and demanding approach.
The Western Breach Route is usually completed in six days and does not provide much time for trekkers to acclimatise. For this reason, the Western Breach should only be considered by trekkers with high altitude Kilimanjaro Climbing experience.
You can reach the Western Breach Route via the Machame, Shira, Lemosho or Umbwe routes. On the third or fourth day of the climb, those routes pass the Lava Tower to continue the Barranco Valley.
Climbers planning an assault on the Western Breach Route spend this night at the Lava Tower Camp (4642 m/15230 ft).
The next day is a very short one, involving only about an hour of walking to reach the Arrow Glacier Camp (4871 m/15981 ft). The slow pace is necessary to give the body time to acclimatize.
Day five is a short trek from the Reutsch Crater to the summit of Kilimanjaro, Uhuru Peak (5,895 meters). Trekkers typically return down the southern slopes of Kibo to Barafu Camp (4,680 meters) and then onto Mweka Camp (3,100 meters) for their last night on Kilimanjaro.
The initial approach scenery is either that of Shira/Lemosho or Machame. Then above Lava Tower the awe-inspiring Western Breach towers above the climbers as they approach Arrow Glacier. The actual push to the summit up the breach is done at night and head torches and moonlight will show rocky ridges, rock slabs and patches of loose scree. On entering the crater as dawn comes up the massive crater floor is like a desert before the climber with the remnants of the Furtwangler Glacier still visible. To the south east is the steep scree trail up the inner crater rim to Uhuru Point. Most notable is the lack of other climbers – very few people attempt this summit route!
From the summit the scene is much the same as the other routes – snowfields interrupted by rock and scree and the rim trail heading gently down to Stella Point and the vast scree slopes that come up Barafu.
Normally Western Breach Route is nine days long with an optional night spent camping in the Crater.
One aspect is the challenge itself, the chance to do something unusual and to be different.
Another aspect is that, as the name says, the route leads through a breach in the crater wall. Where all other routes take you to the crater rim, Climbing Kilimanjaro on the Western Breach Route takes you inside the crater.
It gives you an opportunity to enter and camp in the crater. Climbers can explore the Furtwangler Glacier, the Ernst Reusch Crater, the Ash Pit, even take excursions to the Northern and Eastern Ice Fields.
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Kilimanjaro! Afromontane forest, Shira plateau, glacial valleys and alpine desert, the Western Breach, glaciers, ascent of Kibo and views of Kibo caldera and ash pit.
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Read about Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. Includes route overview, packing tips and how to deal with altitude sickness & many more ... by Kilele Climb, the trusted Kilimanjaro Operator.
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