Extremely bad weather. Rain all along and a severe snowstorm on the topday. I strongly advise not to climb during the rainseason, Machame is considered the most scenic route but we didn't see a thing for we walked in thick clouds all the way up. Good thing though was that there was nobody else on the mountain at all.
Xtreme Support Foundation
My first experience with high altitude - started a love affair with the mountains. Should be an easily attainable summit provided you pace yourself and hydrate yourself. The Machame Route gives spectacular views of the mountain. Our version took us via Barranco Hut, above the Karranga Valley (normally this variant goes down into and across it) and on to Barafu Hut. After the summit we returned via Barafu and went to the new Rau campsite.
No technical climbing involved - but hard going all the same for a first timer!
My account of the climb can be found at http://www.tightropenet.com/Kilimanjaro/index2.htm
We had quite an unfortunate day, for a member of our party suffered from acute mountain sickness and was falling asleep between Kibo Hut and Hans Meyer's Cave. Moreover, it was extremely cold and windy. When our sick friend started vomiting it became clear that the right thing was to take her down. Nevertheless, the two remaining members of the group did reach Uhuru Peak. That makes 50% of us in the summit, I suppose it's not such a bad figure.
My SP Trip Report is up and has all the nitty gritty ;-). It also includes our GPS Waypoints for Machame / Mweka Alternative Routes.
NOTE #1: I'm not one to argue but according to Alpine Ascents (who offer the Machame / Barafu route), "Kilimanjaro at 19,340ft, is an extreme, high altitude climb." ;-) My take? It's all semantics. After all, there's nothing really incorrect about calling the Machame route, or the normal route on Aconcagua, a walk either - okay, maybe a "stiff walk."
NOTE #2: It's probably not too hard to find a tour operator that will let you carry up all your own gear. See the last paragraph of the Tour Operator section in my trip report. My tentmate, Yehuda, was also trading loads with porters on our trek up.
NOTE #3: It seems like most people who list "Machame" as the route climbed used Machame followed by Barafu. Just as a note, the Machame approach trail is also used with the Western Breach (aka Arrow Glacier) summit route.
Started on Kili just after climbing to Point Lenana (trekker's summit) on Mt. Kenya, so we had a head start on acclimatization. Machame route was great! It had plenty of variety in climbing conditions and scenic views.
The summit day was epic as you slog through the dust at night in order to find yourself surrounded by ice and snow at the summit at dawn. The summit push was the only really tough day as the altitude really started affecting everyone (12 of 17 in our group made the summit). Keep slow (pole pole) and anyone can make it. The views of Mawenzi and Meru from the top are more than worth the effort!
Travelled with KE Adventure and had a remarkable experience.
If you are even remotely thinking of taking this trip, DO IT! Just plunk down the money and go by yourself or with a group -- you will never ever forget it.
I was supposed to go with a friend, but one week before, we made an overnight stay at l'Aiguille du Midi (french alps), at refuge Simmond, and my friend got sick.
So I went alone.
One guide, four porters, and a 2 person tent for me alone !!!
This is something surprising about Kili: porters. You carry almost nothing, when you arrive at camp tents are set, dinner is ready... I can not say I really like that, I mean I am used to carry all I need myself (this ain't golf), but it is a very good and funny memory to enjoy a full course dinner (chicken with french fries and vegetables !!!) at camp at more than a 4.000m elevation !!
The route took 6 days. If you go slowly, it is not even tiring. (still, it tend sto get boring on the 4th day, you long for a true summint day).
I had an unusual weather: hail storm every afternoon, including one thunder storm in a complete whiteout on a plateau with bolts striking less than 200 m from you. Brrrr... spooky.
But this weather allowed me to have a summit day in a totally snowy Kibo. That is magical. Nothing but white. you feel like you are entering Paradise.
The sunrise above Mawenzi is an undescribable memory.
You can check my home page with pictures and 2 short MPGs at: http://geocities.com/jpdoumeyrou/
I wished I had more time to discover Tanzania (Meru, Ngorongoro...). People there are really cool and friendly.
Summitted with my son Alessandro. Very nice route with virtually no people and nice acclimatization. The summit day (from the Arrow Glacier) is nice and easy, with some fun scrambling in the final part of the approach to the crater. From the crater, there is only one more hour to the top.
White X-mas in Africa ;-} great mountain, take your time and don't rush up the coca cola route, just spend a few bucks and stay at least 7 days on the mountain, it is really worth it!
Check out the pictures and info on the 7 summits pages.