Overall the Machame route is manageable and an enjoyable level if you are reasonably fit for the entire trek except for  the night summit climb which is extremely hard going and fairly taxing weather your fit or not…

Day 1 – Machame Gate [1490m] to Machame Hut [2980m] (5-6 hours walking)
Steady uphill gradient, not to strenuous once you get used to the oxygen reduction and the difference in breathing.

Day 2 – Machame Hut [2980m] to Shira Camp [3840m] (6 + 1 hours walking)
A steep climb for the majority of the way to the Shira camp, from there after some tea, there is a 1 hour circular acclimatisation walk.

Day 3 – Shira Hut [3840] – Lava Tower [4630m] – Barranco Camp [3950m] (6-7 hours walking)
Around the first 60% is uphill to Lava Tower, where we stopped for lunch and then the last 40% is all downhill. The altitude and cold were starting to get to me by day 3, the route is a lot more exposed and it was very windy and cold, take extra warm stuff!

Day 4 – Barranco Camp [3950m] – Barafu Camp [4550m] (7-8 hours walking)
The first hour of walking is actually mostly rock climbing up Barranco wall, for me this was great fun probably one of the best parts of the climb. Followed by lots of up and down, Barafu camp is situated at the top of a steep climb with lots of false horizons!

Day 5 – Barafu Camp [4550m] – Summit [5895m] – Barafu Camp [4550m] – Mweka Camp [3100m] (9-12 Summit and back + 5 hours to Mweka Camp)
12.00am start to the summit walk, steep all the way, icy, slippery and freezing cold with temperatures as low as -20 degrees. You first reach Stella Point at 5735m for sunrise (hopefully) then its another 40 mins – 1 hour further to Uhuru Peak at 5895m. I cant stress enough how much clothing you need on this night, I was wearing 4 layers on my top and bottom and was still freezing. Check out what to pack for Kilimanjaro.

After you reach the top the sun comes up and it quickly heats up, then it’s just another 2-3 hours walk (or should I say slide) back down to camp. Where there is a short rest and some lunch.
After lunch, it’s a 5 hour walk to Mweka camp, all downhill but with some rather large and awkward steps for part of the way.

Day 6 – Mweka Camp [3100m] – Machame Gate [1490m] (2 hours walking)
An easy (but slippery if there has been rain) walk downhill to Machame Gate.

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