The Western Breach Route
Overview: The Western Breach option is the most dangerous on the mountain, responsible for 95% of the deaths and injuries. Climbers spend a night at over 18,000′ elevation making altitude sickness a serious concern. Also, loose rocks can fall as climbers make their way to the summit. On January 4th, 2006 3 climbers were killed and even more injured by rock fall. It is believed the rocks were loosened by sudden weather changes.
The National Park Service has since moved the route to avoid rock-fall and reopened it climbers. However, altitude sickness remains a significant risk. Also, once climbers commit to the route there is no easy down-climb option. If you get severe altitude sickness while in the crater the only solution is to hike up to the crater rim and then down.
If you want a more remote, less traveled option for reaching the top of Kilimanjaro, check out the Rongai route. For climbers looking for a bigger physical challenge, maybe Umbwe is better for you. If you do decide to take the Western Breach summit option be sure to add an additional day or two to acclimate and reduce the risk of severe altitude sickness striking while you’re in the crater.
Climber Community: Click here to read what others have to say about the Western Breach.