Western Breach by the Arrow Glacier
This is the toughest of the three popular routes to the summit. The steep
screes with poor paths are interspersed with rocky steps which require hands to
be used and care to be taken not to dislodge rocks on those below. On rare
occasions, under icy conditions, it may be necessary to either cut steps or
wear crampons. The crater rim is reached at about 5700m and the summit is still
about 1 kilometer away in a straight line but 3 kilometers via Stella Point.
First the crater must be traversed passing the remnants of the Furtwangler
Glacier then the rim regained by Stella Point before the final section to the
The route is a variation to the Lemosho, Machame or Umbwe routes. For safety reasons guides avoid descending the Western Breach and the Barafu then Mweka Route is used for descent. Porters carry clients equipment from the Arrow
Glacier campsite or from the Lava Tower to the Mweka Hut or Barafu Hut to await
the descending group.
Strong and acclimatised groups may make the ascent comfortably leaving the Lava
Tower campsite (4600m) at around midnight. Others may consider establishing a
higher camp (ca 4800m) by the ruins of the Arrow Glaciar Hut. The Arrow Glacier
has receded considerably and is no longer a feature on the ascent.
The Western Breach has seen several major rockfalls, one destroyed the Arrow
Glacier hut, another the Lava Tower hut, and a recent one in January 2006
killed several people. As result the route has been closed until further
Variation/Extension Camp in Crater.