Preparing for summit
When you arrive at Barafu Camp, you’ll need to get as much rest as possible. Prepare your daypack as soon as you arrive, as you’ll be woken at around 11 pm to start your summit trek.
After an early dinner, we retire to our tents, though sleep can be hard to come by at this altitude and the excitement of what’s ahead.
At 11 pm, your team will bring a hot drink, there will be some snacks in the mess tent before we start our climb at around midnight. You’ll need your head torch, water, snacks and any other essentials in your daypack.
There are several things that you can do to prepare yourself for your summit ascent.
Get your temperature right
Conserving energy by ensuring that you always have the right body temperature will mean that your body is not working overtime to either cool down or heat up.
When you set off walking you need to be slightly cool, so just before you start remove your down jacket or over jacket. When you stop moving for your “maintenance stop” then you immediately need to put on your down jacket or over jacket to keep warm. This will help you conserve energy.
Eat and drink plenty
To ensure you have enough energy to summit and descend you need to “feed your climb “. You will be trekking for 13-15 hours on summit day and could easily consume approx. 4000 calories during this time. We suggest that you bring with you a selection of things you like, and find easy, to eat such as candy bars, crisp, cookies, trail mix, fruits, nuts, energy bars, and hard sweets for summit day.
Use stops effectively
During your summit ascent we will have “maintenance stops” not rest stops- you need to use this time effectively to make sure that you are ready for the next stage. Plan in advance what you need to do: adjust your clothing, have a loo visit, eat and drink and most importantly before you stop put on something warm to prevent heat loss.
Go slowly but not too slowly
Our guides will set a pace that they think is best for you and you should try and maintain this pace. Going too fast puts you at risk of altitude sickness, going too slow will mean your walking day becomes impossibly long. Just keep plodding and you will get there.
One foot in front of the other. By daybreak, we reach the crater rim. You’ll see the sun rising over Mawenzi and spectacular, 360-degree views. Looking down into the crater you’ll see the glacial icefields, the famous “snows of Kilimanjaro”.
From the crater rim, it’s another 1-2 hour hike to Uhuru Peak, the Roof of Africa, the highest free-standing mountain in the world: 19,341ft above sea level.
How cold is the summit of Kilimanjaro Uhuru Peak?
The temperatures decreases as you move through Mount Kilimanjaro’s ecological zones. At the Mount Kilimanjaro summit, Uhuru Peak, the night time temperatures can range between 20 and -20 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 to -29 degrees Celsius). Due to Mount Kilimanjaro’s great height, the mountain creates it’s own weather patterns.
It’s Not Over Yet: the Descent From The Summit Uhuru Peak
After we’ve taken our photos and congratulated each other on our achievement, it’s time to head back down to Barafu Camp. Descending can be tough. If you’ve got knee problems, this is a good time to put on your knee brace. Use your poles for balance, and take it slowly. The extra oxygen in the atmosphere as you get to lower elevations will be a welcome relief from the thin air at the summit.
We’ll have lunch at Barafu Camp before descending to our final camp on the mountain. Tired and exhilarated, you should get a good night’s sleep.
The following morning, you’ll have a 3-4 hour trek, mostly downhill through the forest and back to the trailhead where you’ll be transported to your post-climb hotel accommodation.