What is the Western Breach? | Fair Voyage

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What is the Western Breach?

The Western Breach is a steep slope in the west of Kibo cone on Mount Kilimanjaro. It is one of the most dangerous places on the mountain due to melting glaciers above the Western Breach. When the glaciers melt, they release rocks. The last known lethal accident occurred in September 2015. While a well-trained and experienced guide may help you minimize your exposure to the most dangerous areas, the risk of death from rockfall cannot be avoided entirely when climbing the Western Breach.

Sadly, many tour operators keep promoting the Western Breach route without educating climbers about the risk involved. On first glance, the route definitely has its appeals to everyone looking for an ultimate adventure away from the crowds as it is one of the fastest and most challenging ascents to the summit – and off-the-beaten-track for that reason. However, there are plenty of other routes that do not include the Western Breach and are equally off-the-beaten-track, and – even though not recommended due to the increased risk of altitude sickness – might also get you to the summit and back down within the same time.

The Western Breach is also often included in itineraries with an overnight stay at Crater Camp. However, you can also include the Crater Camp with any other route – ideally the Lemosho RouteNorthern Circuit or Grand Traverse. These routes allow you more time to acclimatize before staying overnight at the Crater Camp and approach the summit via a much safer ascent in the east of Kibo cone.

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