Western Breach

Although the Western Breach is highly dangerous, it is still open to climbers willing to take the risks. Find out more about how others handled this most difficult and treacherous of routes.

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  1. Rachel
    September 13, 2011 | Permalink


    We are planning a trip via Western Breach. Could you tell me more about this route. What does one needs to prepare: physically, gear, etc.

    Thank you.


    • ddorr
      September 13, 2011 | Permalink

      Hi Rachel,
      I haven’t done the Western Breach myself, but have dreamed about doing it as well. The biggest issue with this route is altitude. Because you sleep in the crater at 18,000′ this route is the most dangerous and has the highest risk of altitude sickness (HAPE and HACE). You’ll want to train hard to ensure your body processes oxygen as efficiently as possible and strongly consider taking Diamox. You should also consider at least 8 days for the climb to give your body time to adjust to the higher elevation. In the crater itself make sure you share a tent with someone so you can watch each other in case you have problems during the night.

      Make sure you have warm clothing for your night in the crater, maybe a down jacket to supplement your base layer and shells. There may not be a lot of wind, but it will be colder (about 3 degrees colder for every 1,000′ of elevation).

      And of course, don’t forget your camera! You’ll be right up next to the glaciers for a very impressive and unique view of them, the summit and the crater.

      Have a great trip but please be careful. A guide once told me “the summit isn’t the top of the mountain, it’s getting back safely.”


  2. Ramadhani Babu
    July 29, 2011 | Permalink

    Two years ago I climbed Kili through tough Umbwe Route and then via Western Breach. Before that I had sumitted Kili thrice through Barafu Camp-twice via Machame and once via Umbwe. I suggest those who seek a really tough challenge tackle Kili via Umbwe and then Arrow Glacier. Not forgetting to spend an extra day or two at Barranco, during the day they can climb to Arrow Glacier Camp and back to Barranco to acclimatise. Umbwe and then Arrow Glacier is the tooughest challenge on this mountain. I have been through it and made it to the Peak. I will not forget the experience of clearing the rock train, stepping on the rim, leaving danger behind and the rewarding awesome sight of the Furtwangler Galcier and the crator there for the eyes.

    Yes, the Western Breach is the most dangerous, you are compelled to sign an afidavit at Barranco, but I am preparing to climb again through it before the close of this year

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