The Mawenzi Peak technical climb

The Mawenzi Technical Climb is a physically demanding endeavor that tests climbers’ strength, endurance, agility, balance, and mental control. Proper climbing techniques and specialized equipment are crucial for safely navigating this terrain. The motivation to undertake such a climb often stems from a desire to challenge oneself and engage in exhilarating experiences. For example, one climber was inspired to attempt the Mawenzi Technical Climb after acquiring training in technical rock climbing and successfully rescuing a guide who had tragically fallen in a nearby valley. This accomplishment fueled the determination to take on the challenge of Mawenzi.

Read more about the Mawenzi Peak

Its western face is fairly steep, with several crags, pinnacles, and dyke swarms. Its eastern side has 1,000-meter-high cliffs and a network of gullies and granite faces rising above two deep gorges. Mawenzi is a tough climb that requires technical climbing gear such as helmets, ropes, carabiners, harnesses, and so on.

Mawenzi Peaks

Mawenzi, a majestic peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, boasts seven peaks that offer a unique and thrilling experience to rock climbers and adventure seekers. The peaks include

  • Nordecke at 5136m
  • Hans Meyer at 5149m
  • Purtscheller at 5120m, Borchers at 5115m
  • Klute at 5096m, Latham at 5087m
  • Londt at 4945m.

However, reaching most of these peaks requires technical roped ascents, making them challenging and accessible only to experienced climbers.

The experience of Mawenzi Technical Climb can be both a dream come true and a demanding endeavor. The weather conditions play a significant role in the climb’s difficulty, and climbers must be prepared for extreme cold and low oxygen levels. Delays may occur due to unfavorable weather conditions, such as in the case of the climber who had to wait until 11:00 am to start the hike. During the waiting period, the freezing temperatures posed challenges, but physical exercises helped warm up the body. Despite the hardships, the satisfaction of completing the climb and overcoming obstacles makes it a memorable experience.

Routes for climbing Mawenzi Peak

To undertake the Mawenzi Technical Climb, there are three authorized routes:

  • Rongai route down Marangu gate
  • Marangu route via Zebra rock down Marangu gate
  • Machame, Umbwe, Lemosho, and Londorosi routes via the Northern/Southern circuit down Mweka gate.

It is essential to engage licensed tour operators who have a clean business record and qualified technical mountain climbing guides.

Considerations for Mawenzi Technical Climb include allowing only experienced rock climbers to attempt the ascent. Before departure, a comprehensive briefing by the guide should be conducted, and the tour operator must provide a first aid kit and have a reliable communication system and rescue/emergency response plan in place. Only one group of two climbers is allowed at a time during the climb, and the minimum age requirement is 18 years old. Climbers should adhere to all park rules and regulations and exercise caution to avoid accidents.

Special gear & equipment for climbing Mawenzi Peak

Apart from the usual Kilimanjaro gear list, specific gear is necessary for the Mawenzi Technical Climb, including

  1. long and medium-length slings
  2. carabiners, rappel devices
  3. ropes
  4. alpine harness
  5. locking carabiners
  6. climbing boots
  7. helmets
  8. ice axes
  9. crampons
  10. and a first aid kit with essential items for the climb.

Mawenzi Technical Climb Itinerary

Embarking on the Mawenzi Technical Climb provides a unique opportunity to conquer the challenging peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro and engage in a thrilling adventure amidst stunning natural surroundings.

Day 1: Arrive in Tanzania

As you arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), your adventure begins. You will be warmly greeted and transferred to your hotel in Moshi town. Take this day to rest, acclimatize, and get acquainted with the local environment. You will meet your guide, who will be your companion throughout the journey, and have an opportunity for a briefing and equipment check.

Day 2: Marangu Gate (1860m) to Mandara Hut (2700m)

After a hearty breakfast at your lodge, your trek starts at the Marangu gate. Complete the necessary paperwork and begin your hike through the dense rainforest. The trail offers glimpses of fascinating primates and breathtaking flora. Reach the Mandara Hut, where you can relax and enjoy the scenic view of the Kenyan interior from Maundi Crater.

Distance: 8.3km
Duration: 5 hours
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included
Accommodation: Spacious 2-person tents. Accommodation is on a sharing basis.

Day 3: Mandara Hut (2700m) to Horombo Hut (3700m)

Start your day with an early breakfast as you leave Mandara Hut. Traverse through the timberline, entering the heath and moor zone. After 4-6 hours of trekking, you will reach Horombo Hut, situated at an altitude of 3700m. The hut offers magnificent views of Mawenzi, Kibo, and the vast expanse of the Masai steppe.

Distance: 12.5km
Duration: 9 hours
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included
Accommodation: Spacious 2-person tents. Accommodation is on a sharing basis.

Day 4: Horombo Hut (2700m) to Mawenzi Camp (4480m)

Embark on a short hike to Mawenzi Camp, your base camp for the Mawenzi summit. This moderate trek allows you time to rest and prepare for the challenging ascent of Mawenzi Peak.

Distance: 4 km
Duration: 2-3 hours
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included
Accommodation: Spacious 2-person tents. Accommodation is on a sharing basis.

Day 5: Mawenzi Camp (4,480m) to Mawenzi Peak (5,148m) then back to Mawenzi Camp (4,480m)

Today, you’ll undertake a full-day ascent of Hans Meyer Peak in Mawenzi. From Mawenzi Hut, you’ll approach the peak from the western side of Hans Meyer. The climb requires climbing gear, caution for falling rocks, and competent rock climbing skills. After a thrilling 6-7 hour ascent and a quick descent, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of Kilimanjaro from the summit of Hans Meyer Peak.

Distance: 4 km
Duration: 10-11 hours
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included
Accommodation: Spacious 2-person tents. Accommodation is on a sharing basis.

Day 6: Mawenzi Camp (4480m) to Kibo Hut (4700m)

Bid farewell to Mawenzi Camp as you trek across the lunar desert of the “saddle” between Mawenzi and Kibo. After a few hours of hiking, you’ll arrive at Kibo Hut, where you’ll spend the rest of the day resting and preparing for the final ascent.

Distance: 6.5 km
Duration: 3-4 hours
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included
Accommodation: Spacious 2-person tents. Accommodation is on a sharing basis.

Day 7: Kibo Hut (4700m) to UHURU PEAK (5895m) & down to Horombo Hut (3700m)

Today is the “Big Day” – the summit stage. Begin your final ascent around midnight, enduring a long and strenuous climb to reach the summit. Passing the Hans Meyer Cave at 5220m, the climb gradually ascends. As the sun rises, you’ll reach Gillman’s Point (5681m), the crater rim of Kilimanjaro. The breathtaking sunrise and the magnificent landscape will make you forget the challenges faced during the night. After 1-2 more hours of hiking, you’ll finally stand at Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa at 5895m. Take in the triumphant moment and capture the panoramic views. Descend to Kibo Hut for a warm meal and a short rest before continuing to Horombo Hut.

Distance: 22 km
Duration: 12-15 hours
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included
Accommodation: Spacious 2-person tents. Accommodation is on a sharing basis.

Day 8: Horombo Hut (3700m) to Marangu Gate (1860m)

On this final stretch, trek through the heath and moor zone, passing Mandara Hut, and re-entering the tropical rainforest. After 6 hours of trekking, you’ll arrive at the Kilimanjaro National Park Gate. Bid farewell to your mountain guides and enjoy a short transfer back to your hotel in Moshi. Take a refreshing shower to relax and celebrate your incredible achievement of summiting Kilimanjaro.

Distance: 20.8 km
Duration: 8 hours
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included
Accommodation: Accommodation is at the Weru Weru River Lodge on a Bed & Breakfast basis. Alternative accommodation options are available if needed.

Day 9: Depart Tanzania

Take this day to wind down and reflect on your extraordinary journey before your departure. Depending on your flight schedule, you can explore Moshi town and collect souvenirs. As part of our commitment to environmental conservation in the Kilimanjaro region, we encourage you to spare an hour of your day to plant a tree. Safaris and Zanzibar add-ons are also available for those who wish to continue exploring Tanzania.

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch Included

Safety and Guidelines

The timing for Mawenzi technical climbing is restricted between 0600 and 1800. It is strongly discouraged by the Park Authority to plan and execute night climbs due to safety concerns and potential risks. The limited timeframe ensures climbers have sufficient daylight hours to navigate the challenging terrain safely.

To maintain safety and manage the climbing activities effectively, only one group of two climbers will be allowed at a time during the ascent of Mawenzi Peak. This restriction ensures that climbers have ample space and attention from guides, minimizing congestion and potential hazards.

Safety is of utmost importance during the Mawenzi technical climb, and climbers are advised to exercise caution to avoid accidents. The rugged nature of the terrain requires climbers to be mindful of their surroundings, follow proper climbing techniques, and utilize appropriate safety equipment.

All climbers are expected to adhere to the park’s rules and regulations. These regulations are in place to protect the natural environment, preserve the park’s resources, and ensure a positive and sustainable experience for all visitors.

Furthermore, the minimum age allowed for participation in Mawenzi technical climbing activities is 18 years old or above. This requirement ensures that climbers possess the physical and mental capabilities to handle the challenges associated with technical climbing.

By adhering to these guidelines and regulations, climbers can have a safe and enjoyable experience while exploring the awe-inspiring Mawenzi Peak.

Read more about the technical Mawenzi Peak climb from the official KINAPA (Kilimanjaro National Park Authority) website here.


About Author



Leave a Reply