Sunday, 17 January 2016

The Western Breach - 01 January

In many respects this is the big day, perhaps even bigger than Summit Day. The Western Breach is the most spectacular route to the crater rim and it is the most demanding, non technical day on the mountain by any route. Many commercial trips climb it in the dark when the lower temperatures will stabilise the loose rock but that is really to miss the point of the route.

Up and out before first light and we can see a party ahead of us. This doesn't matter and in an hour the sun and the temperature will rise. Overnight it has been cold, the coldest night so far but we slept well enough. Breakfast is a struggle but it has to be done because this is a 6-7 hour day with around 4000 feet of climbing. Head torches, helmets and very warm clothing are required for today and despite the excitement there seems to a be a bit of standing about to be done as everyone finishes sorting their gear.

Less than an hour later the first light creeps into the sky and a really spectacular day begins. It is almost always possible to look back down to where we have come from and Mount Meru is almost always in sight too. This a day that exceeds all expectations and we reach camp just before the weather closes in. The rain soon turns to snow and other plans for late afternoon are abandoned for sleeping bags and keeping warm.

Mount Meru

Kilimanjaro's Shadow

Tomorrow's Route to the summit

Crater Camp

This was a spectacular day on the mountain and the route lived up to all expectations.

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