Avoiding the energy-sapping loose scree slopes above Kibo Hut, we ascend from School Hut (4722m) via Hans Meyer Cave (5243m) and Gilman’s Point (5708m), to Uhuru Peak (5895m). For the quietest summit assault on Kilimanjaro we recommend the summit bid to begin at 0400 - 0500, however for a greater likelihood of clear summit views or for a dawn summit, we leave camp at around 2330 – 0100. Ultimately your guide will determine the start time according to their perception of the group’s pace.
Tonight is very difficult - particularly the final 550m - and you’ll need to commit to fight for the summit. You will inevitably feel like giving up and going to sleep. This is normal and can be overcome with perseverance. When resting please ensure you only stand or sit and do not lie down or close your eyes. Please trust your guide; they are very adept at judging whether your condition will allow safe progress or whether you have succumbed to a potentially dangerous condition and to proceed will not be safe.
Nausea and headaches and vomitting are normal and while very uncomfortable, these are not symptoms that are indicative of being at risk, per se. When you reach Gilman’s Point you will sit and rest. At this point the body and mind often think you have finished your uphill fight and will be trying to coerce you into giving up and turning around. While you may genuinely believe that you have already exhausted your reserves in reaching this point, this is actually very unlikely to be so. Remember that you are only 187 vertical metres short of the summit (via Stella Point), the journey from here is much less steep, and you have plenty of time for further pauses.
If you do feel the need to give up at Gilman’s Point please proceed towards the summit for just two minutes before making your final decision. In most cases this act of re-establishing momentum is enough to persuade the mind and body to cooperate with your intentions and you will ordinarily find hidden reserves for a final push, reserves that you were not aware you still had.
On the summit your guide will advise how much time you can spend there in consideration of your condition, your timings, and the weather. The brain does not function very intelligently at this altitude so please remember to take many photographs in all directions or you will probably regret not having done so at a later stage. Also, please consider in advance asking a companion to be ready to shoot a video of you, and likewise you of them, at the summit, to record your impressions of getting to the highest point of Africa and for achieving what for many will have
been the most difficult feat of endurance in their lives - but what a story to be able to tell everyone for the rest of your lives!
The descent - Uhuru Peak to Millennium Camp (3820m) or Mweka Camp (3090m)
From the summit you will turn around and descend to Stella Point. When you reach Stella Point your guide may opt to switch left onto the loose scree, a departure from the ridge up which climbers assaulting from Barafu ascend. On arrival at Barafu you would usually have time to rest an hour or so before continuing the descent after some refreshments.
From Barafu you will usually descend to Mweka Camp (3090m) for overnight. If your guide judges that a shorter day will benefit you and preserve sore knees and ankles, he may decide to stop short at Millennium Camp (3820m) instead.
Distances on summit day:
School Hut to Summit via Gillman’s Point: 5.4km
Summit to Barafu: 4.5km
Barafu to Mweka Camp: 6.3km
Total = 16.2km
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Accommodation: Mweka Camp (3090m) or Millennium Camp (3820m)