6 Day TK Rongai Lite Series Climb
7th August 2021: Arrive to Kilimanjaro International Airport. Met by Team Kilimanjaro driver and transferred to the Outpost Lodge in Arusha.
Your mountain guide will come to your hotel at approximately 1800 to introduce himself, complete your pre-climb briefing and answer any questions you may have.
8th August 2021 - Arusha to Simba Camp (2626m)
Breakfast at your hotel is served from 0700. Please ensure that you have packed your bags before breakfast, have signed over your extra luggage that will not be required on the mountain to reception, and have deposited your valuables into the hotel’s safe.
Transfer and registration.
You will normally be collected at 0730 from your hotel. In the event that we have to collect climbers from other hotels before collecting you, we may need to amend this to around 0800.
Your driver will transfer you 111 km and some 2 hours 10 minutes to Londorossi Gate where we complete registration formalities. Following registration we continue a further 12km by vehicle to the route’s start point. This final drive can take anywhere between 45 minutes and 1 hour 30, depending on road conditions.
Beginning the trek
Around 1400 we start trekking from the Rongai Start Point at 1996m, located 600 metres south west of the Naro Moru junction. Today we ascend to Simba Camp at 2626m, a trek of 6.7km. It is usual to arrive in camp shortly before sunset but in the event of road obstacles, recent road damage caused by rains or unforeseen delays, climbers are advised to carry their head torches in their day sacks.
9th August 2021 - Simba Camp to Kikelewa Camp (3679m)
Simba Camp to 3482m for lunch at Second Caves, a distance of 5.8km from Simba. A sheltered 2-3 course lunch seated at a table in a mess tent is the usual daily practice on our climbs, though in good weather we dispense with the mess tent and arrange the table and chairs in the open air. After lunch we trek a further 6.0km to Kikelewa Camp 3679m, for overnight. It is not uncommon to experience a mild headache today though this usually abates within some 2 hours of arriving in camp. Please discuss this with your guide if your headache becomes persistent or intensifies.
10th August 2021 - Kikelewa Camp to Mawenzi Tarn Hut (4303m)
Today, initially we travel only a short distance of 3.7km, and while gaining 624 metres in altitude from Kikelewa to Mawenzi Tarn at 4303m for lunch. We set up the lunch stop close to the water feature nestled between two spurs on the western side of Mawenzi.
After lunch we surmount Mawenzi’s north west ridge and move around the north western flanks of Mawenzi, crossing onto the high eastern edge of the Plateau, to the day's high point on the Camel's Back at 4475m from where some of the rarest, clearest and most dramatic views of both peaks can be had.
At this rest point we are just 820 linear metres from Mawenzi’s summit (5148m). Getting here you will have covered an additional 2.2km from Mawenzi Tarn. From here we descend a distance of 8.0km to the tent site at Third Caves Camp to overnight at 3936m, hereby affording a climb high-sleep-low-differential of exactly 539 metres.
Spending the night this low in a significantly more oxygen-rich environment than the lunch stop ensures that the body has sufficient reprieve to be able to make the necessary adaptive changes that it has identified the need for during its exposure to the substantially lower atmospheric pressures experienced this morning. Tomorrow morning, even though you may feel quite tired you will nonetheless be superbly well prepared for your short but steep approach to the high camp, School Hut.
11th August 2021 - 3rd Cave Camp to School Hut (4717m)
After gently traversing the eastern slopes of Kilimanjaro yesterday, today we start the trek upwards from 3rd Caves Camp 3936m to School Hut 4717m. Shorter distance than yesterday, but 751m of height gain. Do not under-estimate today, and the valuable preparation you have completed prior to arriving here. Distance is 4.9km.
Aim to get to sleep as soon as possible as you will be woken at around 2300-0000 to begin your assault. Don’t worry about waking yourself for meals - your staff will wake you for these. You probably won’t feel like eating but please endeavour to do so as you’ll need the energy reserves. You are advised to get all your gear ready for the summit bid before you go to sleep as you may feel dis- oriented when awoken for the assault.
12th August 2021 - School Hut to Uhuru Peak (5895m)
Around midnight of Day 5 (your guide will judge the time that is optimal for you based on your pace thus far) we quit camp for the assault via Gilman’s Point (5708m) to the summit. 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 at some point. 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; he is 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 are normal and around a quarter of climbers will vomit at or near Gilman’s Point. While very uncomfortable, these are not symptoms that are indicative of being at risk, per se. The onset of cerebral and pulmonary oedema are marked by distinctive early warning symptoms that your guide is capable of identifying. Please maintain regular dialogue with him and frequently update him on how you are feeling.
Avoiding loose scree slopes above Kibo Hut, we ascend from School Hut (4717m) via Hans Meyer Cave (5243m) and Gilman’s Point (5690m), to Uhuru Peak (5895m).
When you reach Gilman’s Point you will sit and rest. At this point the body often thinks 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 co-operate 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.
From the summit you will turn around and descend to Stella Point. From Stella we now follow the ridge line along to Gilman’s Point, and descend using the Rongai’s normal ascent route. There is clear logic is descending a loose scree slope; it is far easier on the knees and as the ground collapses underfoot if you take short quick strides it’s easy to maintain momentum. We do short bursts and take regular rests, pausing to photograph the Saddle beneath us and Kenya to our left. At Kibo Huts 4700m we have a short refreshment break before continuing to Horombo 3720m where we overnight again.
Distances on summit day
- School Hut to Summit via Gilman’s Point: 5.4km
- Summit to Gilman’s Point: 2.0km
- Gilman’s Point to Kibo Huts: 3.4km
- Kibo Huts to Horombo: 9.6km
- Total = 20.4km
13th August 2021 - Horombo Hut to Marangu Gate (1855m)
This morning we descend from Horombo to Marangu Gate 1860m via Mandara Huts 2715m. The day’s distance is 19.7km along very well maintained trails. (Horombo to Mandara is 11.6km and Mandara to Marangu Gate is 8.1km). This is the standard Rongai descent route and the Marangu ascent and descent route.
Tipping your mountain crew
At Marangu Gate it is customary for climbers to tip their support staff. Ordinarily tips are collected by one of the climbers and the total amount is handed to the chief guide who himself decides how the amount should be divided amongst the rest of the crew according to a customary scale that is determined by the responsibilities and experience of each staff member. All our chief guides are thoroughly honest and fair in this regard and it is not necessary for climbers to hand out individual envelopes to each porter, cook and assistant guide. Climbers nowadays tend to tip their support crew 10-15% of what they have paid for their climb.
Arriving at Marangu Gate at around 1300-1600 climbers are collected and transferred 2 hours back to their hotels in Arusha.
We punctuate the return to Arusha with a stop in Moshi to have lunch at the restaurant that we believe makes the best cheeseburgers in the area. Climbing for a week tends to promote such appetites, but if you are not partial to burgers other options will be available to you at this restaurant.
Please be aware that while food and soft drinks are included in this meal, climbers are required to pay for their own alcoholic beverages, if they choose to have these. It is usual for only the lead guide, or sometimes the assistant guides also, to join in with this meal, but the rest of the support team will usually wait until they have been reunited with their families before taking their next meal.
Having finished lunch and completed the transfer, it is usual to return to your hotel sometime around 1700, depending on what time you began this morning and how quickly you descended.
Note that if you are required to fly out of Kilimanjaro International Airport the same day as you have descended, on an evening flight, this is possible, but you’ll need to have arranged earlier timings for today with your guide.
Typical total trek distance is 77.4km or 48.1 miles.
Kilimanjaro route map
Climb prices per person in USD
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