Climbing Kilimanjaro has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life! I just finished editing the video from Day 6 Summit Day and all the memories came back. It was such a fun trip, and to make it to the top to Uhuru Peak was surreal.
You can see the video of climbing Kilimanjaro Day 6 Summit Day here:
Kilimanjaro Day 6 was Summit Day for us, and the day that we go all the way up to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. It depends on what route you take up Mount Kilimanjaro, but usually, Summit Day is either on Day 5 or Day 6 of the trek. The trekking company we went with spend 6 days getting to Uhuru which is why their success rate of getting people to the summit is so high. It’s a very long and tiring day, but totally worth it when you finally stand on The Roof of Africa!!
Early Morning Start Kilimanjaro Day 6
Our day started with getting up at 3:30 AM to start the trek at 5 AM. We stayed at Kosovo Camp, though most groups stay at Barafu Camp. It’s a pretty big difference between the two locations, therefore if you’re going to climb Kilimanjaro, I would encourage you to read my post from Day 5 about the two differencent locations.
It was still pitch black when we woke up early in the morning, and we had to use headlamps to be able to see inside of our tent. I had prepared my gear the evening before and placed it so that it was easily accessible in the dark. This way, I did not have to dig around in my bag to find specific gear!
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Clothing For Kilimanjaro Day 6 Summit Day
I had planned what I would wear quite thoroughly, and it ended up working really well for me. I did not overheat and did not feel very cold either. I slept in my thermals, and in the morning I put on my regular hiking pants, fleece pants, and then thicker winter pants as the outer layer. After a couple of hours when it got warmer outside, I took off the winter pants and the fleece pants. I then just wore my regular hiking pants with a thermal underneath.
Regulate Body Temperature
For the top, I wore a wool thermal, a long sleeve hiking shirt, a thick fleece sweater, and my jacket. I would open up the zipper on my jacket now and then to regulate my body temperate before I eventually removed the fleece sweater. These were the four layers each blog I read would recommend, and it was excellent advice.
Handwarmer In Hiking Boots
My biggest concern that day was that my feet would get cold. I did not have heavy duty hiking boots with me but went for a light-weight hiking boot. I’m glad I went with a light-weight hiking boot, because it was almost like walking in sneakers! But I knew that walking in the middle of the night at 5,000 meters (16,000 feet) it would get really, really cold. I wore on a liner and two wool socks, and on top of my foot, I placed a handwarmer. It worked wonders and kept my feet warm! Because I used a light-weight hiking boot, I think my feet would have been freezing cold had I not placed a handwarmer inside each shoe! My feet were a little cold, but not freezing cold…
Here is my Climbing Kilimanjaro Gear List.
Headlamps In The Dark
Walking in the dark with a headlamp was quite fun. We all walked in a straight line taking slow steps up Mount Kilimanjaro on Day 6. It was kind of a funny feeling, being packed in so much clothes, with headlamps, walking poles, and slowly walking up this mountain one after the other. Just felt like out of some movie…!
We only needed the headlamps for about an hour or two before sunrise. I took a few pictures and some video clips, but I was mainly trying to focus and conserve energy. This was the big day! I had been very excited about Summit Day, and when we arrived at our hotel in Moshi, we had a beautiful view of Mount Kilimanjaro. That really got me excited about getting to the top, and now the day had come to summit Mount Kilimanjaro!
Breathing At High Elevation On Kilimanjaro
I actually thought that being at 5-6,000 meters (18-19,000 feet) we would struggle more to breathe and take in oxygen, but it didn’t feel like this was the case. I think since I went at a very slow pace (as you can see in the video..!) I did not have much difficultires in breathing at that elevation. But if I were to walk just slightly faster, I would struggle and would have to stop and catch my breath more often. It’s therefore important to go at a really slow tempo. The porters and guides would always say “Pole Pole” which means to “go slow.” Some of the porters had climbed Kilimanjaro over 100 times, therefore they know the importance of going at a slow pace.
Among our group, I was one in the back most of the time. I just wanted to conserve energy and get to the top! I would pressure breathe and take really slow steps. I’m also glad I quickly removed a few layers of clothing as it got warmer as it made me feel lighter and not as constricted.
Terrain On Summit Day
The terrain was quite steep with lots of small loose rocks. Since we were taking such slow steps it was not difficult to walk up, but if I were to go at a faster pace, I would struggle with my foot-grip. On this day, there was virtually no flat surfaces, just all uphill!
Multiple Summits On Mount Kilimanjaro
Before I arrived in Tanzania, I didn’t know there were 3 summits on Mount Kilimanjaro. Mount Kilimanjaro is a volcano with 3 cones. Kibo (the highest, and the one I went to called Uhuru Peak), Mawenzi and Shira. You can approach Kibo’s Summit Uhuru Peak from Gilman Point or Stella Point.
We arrived at Stella Point at around 11 AM. It’s a beautiful view of the mountain, and we rested here for about 20 minutes. From Stella Point, there another 45-minute walk to the highest point of Mount Kilimanjaro, which is called Uhuru Peak. You can see Uhuru Peak from Stella Point.
If you do not continue to Uhuru Peak from Stella Point, you still get a certificate, since Stella is considered a Kilimanjaro Summit.
Uhuru Peak Kilimanjaro
Since our trekking company is all about safety, they would only let people with 75% or more oxygen in their body after arriving at Stella Point, continue to Uhuru Peak. They know that if people have less oxygen in the body, there is a very high chance of them getting altitude sickness. We saw people from other groups get carried down on stretchers because of altitude sickness. You can purchase a to easily measure the oxygen levels in your blood.
The walk from Stella Point to Uhuru Peak is the “easiest” walk of the day. You walk along the top of the ridge of the volcano. The difference in elevation is only 139 meters (456 feet), but to be able to walk these 45 minutes at 5,800 meters (19,000 feet), you need to have enough oxygen in your body.
An Epic Walk
The walk from Stella Point to Uhuru Peak was for me very epic. Lots of emotions came up, and it was so surreal to be the only one walking toward the Uhuru Peak sign. I was the only one there! I had many challenges before and during this climb, therefore to walk toward Uhuru Peak knowing I would actually make it, was one of the most incredible moments of my life!!
If you’ve not seen the video in the beginning of the post check it out. It’s pretty awesome, as the weather was perfect!