Mount Kilimanjaro Day 6 - Barafu Camp to Uruhu Peak to Crater Camp

At a glance:

  • Barafu Camp to Uruhu Peak to Crater Camp
  • 6.8 miles plus a few miles exploring the crater
  • +3,700 feet
  • Final altitude 18,800 feet (summit 19,341 feet)

Today is the big day! We woke up for breakfast which consisted of porridge which was fattier than usual. Unfortunately, this didn’t settle well with my stomach, so I didn’t do much else for breakfast.

The climb was steep and slow. We both could have used a few more breaks for water and food, but we pushed through. The sky was clear in the beginning, but as the hours passed it became cloudy, windy, and cold, so we put on some more layers.

Working our way slowly up to Stella Point, with a view of Barafu Camp below us
Making our way up to Stella Point
Taking a break before we make it to Stella Point

At one point, we had a really long stretch where we both could have used a really long break. Eventually we got the break, at lots of GU, and then continued forward. Then, just 20 minutes later, we reached Stella Point, which was our lunch break. By this time we weren’t hungry, so we didn’t really eat anything. It started to snow, so we put more layers on and hid under a ledge for a little bit.

Stella Point
It was snowing and windy, so we hid under a ledge at Stella Point while we ate some food.
Taking shelter from the snow and wind at Stella Point.

From here, the slope was gradual to get to the summit of Kilimanjaro. We passed by a slow group of people who must also be staying at Crater Camp tonight. We made it to the summit in good spirits, and of course I shed some tears. We all did a little song and dance and enjoyed our time at the summit. Unfortunately it was cloudy, so we couldn’t see much.

On our way to Uruhu Peak!
The summit of Uruhu Peak in wind and snow
On the top of Kilimanjaro!

We continued to make our way towards Crater Camp. We took the “short cut,” which was an extremely steep and snowy slope. I had trouble even with hiking poles, and even Charlie thought it was sketchy.

Making our way to Crater Camp
Taking the sketchy shortcut down to Crater Camp

We finally made it down to Crater Camp. We both had headaches, so we layed down in our tent and took it easy.

View from our tent at Crater Camp
View from our tent at Crater Camp. This is looking up at where we came down from the summit.

A few hours later, Arden, Raymond, and Steve (the camp manager) invited us to hike up to the crater rim. About 15 minutes into our hike, Charlie stopped and vomited. Between this and his headache, it looks like he has some altitude sickness. Him and Steve headed back down to camp, and I continued on with Arden and Raymond. We got to the top of the hill and had a beautiful view of the crater. We were currently on the upper rim, but there were two more rims further down.

The upper rim of Kilimanjaro's crater

Of course we continued down. We went down to the second rim to see some steam vents surrounded by stinky yellow sulfur. Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano, but it still has some hot spots.

Kilimanjaro's crater

We then headed down to the third rim and got a view deep into the crater, which was beautiful. We worked our way back up and passed by a cross, which was a memorial for a person who died in Crater Camp from altitude sickness.

The third rim of Kilimanjaro's Crater

We headed back towards camp, but first we passed by some glaciers. One of them looked like a house. We went up to it, and there was a pile of rocks in the center. Raymond showed me why: There was a HUGE hole that went down into the ground near some of the rocks, and who knows how far down you would have gone.

Exploring the glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro
Playing around at Crater Camp. Sad that one day these glaciers will all be gone.
Standing near the hole of doom

We eventually made it back to camp and checked in on Charlie. He was resting in his sleeping bag feeling a little bit better, but he still had a headache. We had dinner in our tent (spaghetti and oranges), and I pretty much ate all of it because Charlie didn’t have much of an appetite.

Charlie resting from altitude sickness in his tent

Our goal is to go to the summit tomorrow for the sunrise since it was covered in clouds today. It will all depend on how we are feeling tomorrow and how the altitude is affecting us. It’s going to be a chilly night tonight.

FYI - Both of our pulse ox’s were about 65% today at Crater Camp.