Many people will have heard that it is possible to climb Kilimanjaro via The Western Breach, which leads into the crater of Kilimanjaro. The Western Breach was once filled with a glacier, which has completely disappeared, leaving only the enormous Furtwangler, Heim and Kirsten Glaciers inside the crater itself. You can, with special permission from Tanapa (The Tanzanian Parks Authority), climb into the crater via the Western Breach and even spend a night in the crater before you summit.
To climb via the Western Breach you can use the Lemosho, Machame and Umbwe Routes up to the Lava Tower (see our other itineraries),and it is certainly an amazing experience to do this, and see the breathtaking sites within the ice lined crater and the ash pit , which is a volcanic fumarole on the floor of the crater.
However special equipment is needed for the Western Breach climb. The constant freeze-thaw process has led to frost cracks and fissures in the surface of the route, which can form ice wedges and also cause rock falls and loose scree. You will therefore need a helmet and if there is snow, crampons. Your guide and team will be equipped with Oxygen, a Gammow Bag and an ice axe to cut steps into the path if there is snow.
To climb the Western Breach, you must leave the Arrow Glacier Camp, no later than 5-00 a.m, and should have crossed the area of most exposure before sunrise.
This route is not for everyone, and careful consideration should be given before making a decision to either climb by this route, or to spend a night in the crater. The crater can be cold uncomfortable & dangerous. Be aware of the risks of sleeping in high altitude with depleted oxygen levels.
Kili-Worldborn Safaris has the experienced guides who can take you up the Western Breach into the Crater, but we must be assured of your fitness and experience of altitude, before you attempt this route.