Lemosho 8 Day Northern Circuit via Gilmans Point (L8G-NC)

WHY THIS ITINERARY?

A different take on Kilimanjaro. While this route misses some of the dramatic geological features of the standard routes, such as Machame and Lemosho, it does head way off the beaten track and has a charm all of its own. For those that want the most remote trip, or to trek the exact same route as the Comic Relief Team in 2019, this is the route for you.

DESCRIPTION

Starting on the Western side of Kilimanjaro at the Lemosho Trail Head, this route is one of the least used and heads up around the Kibo Massif in a clockwise direction, skirting around to School Hut for a summit attempt from the eastern side via Gilmans Point.

HIGHLIGHTS

Kilimanjaro! Afromontane forest, Shira Plateau, glacial valleys and alpine desert, rarely visited northern region of Kilimanjaro, Kibo and hopefully the summit! Easy descent.

 

Itinerary

In Brief

Hike Distance - 56 miles / 90km
Vertical Gain – 13,764ft / 4195m 
Drop – 14,489ft / 4416m
Trekking Time – 59 hours

 

In Detail

DAY 1 – LEMOSHO FOREST

START – 6,890FT / 2100M
END – 8,695FT / 2650M
DISTANCE – 4 MILES / 7KM
TIME – 4-6 HRS
CLIMATE ZONE – AFROMONTANE FOREST

After breakfast you depart by vehicle to Kilimanjaro National Park. At the gate your crew finalise packing and after finishing with formalities you return to your vehicle for another 30 minutes or so until you arrive at the start of the Lemosho Trail. Today's hiking is through verdant afromontane forest and is steep in places. A picnic lunch is usually taken on trail during the hike before reaching Forest Camp for the night.

DAY 2 – SHIRA 1

START – 8,695FT / 2650M
END – 11,844FT / 3610M
DISTANCE – 4 MILES / 7KM
TIME – 5-7 HRS
CLIMATE ZONE – HEATH

From the forested slopes of Lemosho you ascend through Podocarpus and Juniper forest and break out of the forest on to the heath zone and the Shira Plateau. A hot lunch is taken at Shira 1 Camp and the rest of the afternoon is spent relaxing and acclimatising to the new environment.

DAY 3 – MOIR CAMP

START – 11,844FT / 3610M
END – 13,780FT / 4200M
DISTANCE – 6 MILES / 10KM
TIME – 4-5 HRS
CLIMATE ZONE – ALPINE DESERT

Crossing the Shira plateau can be one of the most scenic parts of the trip and this morning we hike for around 4-5 hours to Moir Camp, where lunch is taken. The afternoon is spent acclimatising and for those with the energy a hike in the late afternoon up to a viewpoint is highly recommended to keep the blood flowing.

DAY 4 – POFU CAMP

START – 13,780FT / 4200M
END – 13,232FT / 4033M
DISTANCE - 8 MILES / 12KM
TIME – 6-8 HRS
CLIMATE ZONE – ALPINE DESERT

The route today diverges from the traditional western routes and heads north, curving clockwise around the Kibo Massif. Here, for the time being at least, there are relatively few other groups. You hike through the alpine desert skirting the edge of the heath zone to Pofu Camp. Most groups arrive for lunch and then take an afternoon acclimatisation hike.

DAY 5 – CAVE 3 CAMP

START – 12,232FT / 4033M
END – 12,468FT / 3800M
DISTANCE – 5 MILES / 8KM
TIME – 6-8 HRS
CLIMATE ZONE – ALPINE DESERT

From Pofu you hike a ridge and continue around the northern side of the Kibo Massif to Cave 3, still skirting the edge of the heath zone. Once at Cave 3 there is time to rest and a short acclimatisation walk in the late afternoon.

DAY 6 - SCHOOL HUT

START – 12,468FT / 3800M
END – 15,749FT / 4800M
DISTANCE – 3 MILES / 5KM
TIME – 4-6 HRS
CLIMATE ZONE – ALPINE DESERT

From Cave 3 you continue around the north eastern flanks of Kibo until you arrive at School Hut in time to check through your gear for the summit bid. After an early dinner you retire for some sleep before setting off for the summit bid.

DAY 7 – SUMMIT BID / HOROMBO HUT

START – 15,749FT / 4800M
END – 12,205FT / 3720M
DISTANCE – 14 MILES / 23KM
TIME - 16 HRS
CLIMATE ZONES – ALPINE DESERT, ARCTIC, HEATH

Rising early, normally before midnight, you start out from School hut towards the peak. At night time the scree sections are normally much firmer and the night time start enables the best chance of a clear summit attempt. It takes around 6 hours to reach Gilman’s point and then a further 1.5 – 2 hours to reach Uhuru Peak (Alt: 19,341ft, 5895m) the highest free standing point in the world and the highest point in Africa. You then descend the same route before a short stop at Kibo Hut for a refuel and short rest. By the evening you descend back down to Horombo Hut for dinner and overnight.

DAY 8 – ARUSHA

START – 12,205FT / 3720M
END – 6,165FT / 1879M
DISTANCE - 12 MILES / 19KM
TIME – 5-7 HRS
CLIMATE ZONE – AFROMONTANE FOREST

The final descent takes you back through the heath zone and forest to the Marangu Gate. Here you are met by drivers and transferred back to your hotel for a well deserved shower and celebratory dinner. Later that evening you will be visited by a Summits Africa Representative to make sure everything has been taken care of, to find out how the trip went and to answer any final questions you may have.


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