Summit Night on Mount Kilimanjaro with Ian Taylor Trekking

No matter what, the summit night on Mount Kilimanjaro will be a challenge!  All of our 8 day trips on Kilimanjaro start the summit night from Kosovo Camp 4,900m/ 16,076 feet. Normally, trips leave from Barafu Camp 4,650m/ 15,256 feet. Kosovo Camp gives our clients the best chance of success. We are getting 100% on most of our 8 day Lemosho Route trips.

Everything Comes Down to Summit Night

Barafu Camp sits at 4,650m/ 15,256 feet and Kosovo camp is at 4,900m/ 16,076 feet.  Your Kilimanjaro climb will come down to one long summit night and day.  If you are leaving from Barafu Camp, you will likely leave around midnight, and if you are leaving from Kosovo Camp, you will leave around 1am. No matter where you leave from, it is a long, slow and mental challenge to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro at 5,895m/ 19,341 feet.

That magic moment on Kilimanjaro

Our Approach to Summit Night on Kilimanjaro

After 17 years of climbing on Kilimanjaro we have developed the best approach to summit night to maximize safety and success. If weather allows and winds are low, we will be taking off from the higher camp of Kosovo.  The reason that our teams can do this is because we have taken adequate time to acclimatize lower down on the Shira Plateau. If you are only on a 5-7 day trip, it can be risky going all the way to Kosovo Camp for the night.  The reason for this is that your body would not be able to cope with the altitude with less acclimatization.

Our teams aim to reach Barafu camp at 11:00am or Kosovo camp at 12 mid day. Indeed, this will give our bodies the time for additional acclimatization and most importantly rest and sleep. By staying at the higher camp, we will also position ourselves away from the noise of the main camp. Review the elevation gains.

Sunrise high on Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro’s Number 1 Guide

At approximately 11pm it will be time to get up and to start getting dressed and your gear ready. It is important to start slowly drinking water. The goal would be to try and drink 2 liters of water before you leave on the summit night. At 12:15am we will be served breakfast in the dining tent and you can fill your Nalgene bottles with boiled water for the night ahead. Some people like to have 2 Nalgene bottles (2 liters of water) for their summit attempt. This is a personal choice on how much you carry. Make sure you keep well hydrated during the whole trip and even prior to joining the Kilimanjaro climb. Our Head Guide is Kilimanjaro’s Number 1 Guide so you will be in good hands.

Barafu Camp stop before moving up to Kosovo Camp

Start Hiking to the Summit of Kilimanjaro

At 1am, we will start hiking towards the summit. We will aim to gain 200m/ 656 vertical feet, per hour on route to the summit.  Our goal on the summit night is to keep a very strict routine while going up.  We will walk for an hour and then stop, drink water, eat some snacks and go to the toilet just off the trail. Each stop will be 5 to 7 minutes, depending on the weather. We will repeat this for the next 5 hours as we slowly edge our way above 5,500m/ 18,000 feet. As we reach this elevation we may need to stop every 30 minutes as the lack of oxygen becomes more challenging. At this stage, we will begin to slowly move towards Stella Point, as light hits the horizon.

The roof of Africa

Steep Terrain up and down

The last section up to Stella point is one of the hardest during the night. The pace will be slow and steady as you focus on deep breathing.  Once we get to Stella Point, it will likely be very cold, so we will rest for 5 minutes and have some hot tea. Then, we will continue the 50 minutes to the true summit. The terrain is now a little easier than the previous hours to reach Stella Point. The lack of oxygen is challenging, so you need to make sure you are focusing on deep breathing all the way up to the summit. Getting oxygen into your body is the most important thing you should be thinking about on your summit attempt. After 6/7 hours of walking up hill you will reach the summit of Kilimanjaro!

Walking through the snow from Stella Point to the Summit on Kilimanjaro

Standing on the Summit of Kilimanjaro

Enjoy the achievement of reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro!! You will have dreamt of this moment for months even years. Savor the moment, as it will stay with you for the rest of your life. After the struggle and challenge to reach the summit is over, remember you are only half way. The descent is steep and takes a lot of focus as the terrain is challenging under foot.

The crater rim of Kilimanjaro

The Steep Descent

Next, we will begin to move as a team back to high camp, which should take about 3 hours. It is extremely important to get back down below 5,500m/ 18,000 feet as quickly as possible. Depending on what time we reach high camp, you will have some time to rest, re-hydrate, eat a full lunch, pack your bag and slowly make your way down the trail.  We will make our way all the way down to Mweka Camp at 3,100m/ 10,171 feet.  From the summit, this is a 2,795m/ 9,170 feet drop down to the camp!  This WILL likely be one of the most challenging days of your life to cover this distance!

Pick 8 Days on the Lemosho Route

We highly recommend our 8 day climbs as you want to give yourself the best and safest chance at trekking to 5,895m/ 19,341ft. Watch the video above to see some raw footage from the summit night on Kilimanjaro. Read some REVIEWS from our trips.

Seeing Kilimanjaro from Moshi, Tanzania

Lack of Physical Preparation is Risking Safety

Ian has climbed Kilimanjaro over 37+ times now.  From his experiences on the mountain, the place he sees clients struggle the most is on the final two hours to the Crater Rim. Usually because people never train doing long 5+ weekly hikes, building up their endurance.

You need to keep moving because of the cold, and the pace will be super slow.  Therefore, you will be able to take your time the team can take multiple short stops at this stage. It is now a mental game and you have to believe in yourself and dig deep. Most of the hard work is done. Dig deep, breath deep and you can make it to the top. Read our training advice.

Ian Taylor Trekking on Kilimanjaro

Sleeping Lower Aids in your Recovery

After you have enjoyed the summit of Kilimanjaro, you will then need to drop down out of this extreme altitude. As we said above, it will take approximately 3 hours to get back to high camp. After the break in high camp, you will pack up and have approximately a further 3/4 hours to Mweka Camp at 3,100m/ 10,170 feet. You will be back in the rain forest and now you can celebrate you summit success. This can be a 12/14 hour day in total, and can be very difficult!  Therefore, you need the best acclimatization in the lead up to this challenging summit night climb on Kilimanjaro. CLICK HERE for more information on our climbs.

The long descent down Kilimanjaro

Contact The Experts

GET IN TOUCH today for more information on our climbs of Kilimanjaro! We have helped over 3,000 to the summit.  We want to help you reach your goal of standing on the Roof of Africa! If you want to be successful on Kilimanjaro, then check this link out with all you need to know about climbing Kilimanjaro.

Walking towards the Summit of Kilimanjaro

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