OverviewRas Dashen (Ras Dejen), 4533m, is known as the Horn of Africa's highest summit. It is located in the Simien Mountains of Ethiopia but it is approximately 22km east of the park boundaries. Most treks, however, require traversing through the Simien Mountains National Park to reach the great mountain.
The summit climb is nothing more than a long hike following goat trails. There is a small scramble up solid rocks to reach the summit, requiring no technical skill.
Views from the summit are less than spectacular. There is a strange phenomenon of feeling lower than almost all of the surrounding mountains.
However, the beautiful journey through high altitude villages, and the satisfaction of conquering the mountain, make it an attractive climb.
Once successfully climbed, be sure to stop in at the park office to pick up an official certificate stating you reached the summit to show all of your friends back home.
Getting ThereOnce you arrive in Debark, Ethiopia, stop by the park office to organize your trip (see red tape). If you leave from Debark, your journey will look like this:
Debark to Sankaber (22km)
Sankaber to Geech (11km)
Geech to Chennek (11km)
Chennek to Ambiko (14km)
Ambiko to Ras Dashen (8km)
From the summit you can either backtrack or continue on to Dilibza where you can catch a ride.
Red TapeAll hikes through the park must be arranged at the park office located in Debark. Even though Ras Dashen lies outside of the park boundaries, the main trail leads through the park. A scout (~3USD/day) is mandatory and a guide is optional (if you want to communicate with your scout). The entrance fees are around 12USD per two days.
CampingAvailable only at specified campsites:
Each campsite is equipped with one or more "traditional style" huts that include a fire ring and seating. There are ground wells at the first three sites. At Ambiko, you must collect water from a not so pure looking stream (a trickle depending on what time of year you come).
Be sure to bring WARM CLOTHES. It surprises alot of people that it gets so damn cold here.
SuppliesAll supplies that you will need (except warm clothes, boots, etc.) are available for rent in Debark. This includes tents, sleeping bags, blankets, food, stoves, and donkeys.
Food is also available from the locals living inside of the park. You can buy eggs, goats, chickens, and even beer!