Lemosho Route / Day 4

MOUNT KILIMANJARO, Tanzania — Day 4 climbing Mount Kilimanjaro’s Lemosho Route, from Moir Hut Camp to Lava Tower Camp.

Mt Kilimanjaro Tents and Stars
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Filed Under: Tanzania

We awoke to frost covering our tents. And because we’re on the Western side of the mountain and in the shade, the morning sun takes a while to warm things up.

Today we gained about 1,500 feet today in a fairly straightforward hike. On the way, we crossed from the heath zone (also known as the moorland) to the alpine desert.

That meant a pretty dramatic change in scenery. There are no more plants or trees or any other signs of life. (Although apparently it’s not unheard of for solo buffalo or other animals to wander all the way up here to get the mineral nutrients in the alkaline soil.)

Soon we’re walking through a harsh, rocky, grey landscape that could pass for the surface of Mars. Everything around us has, at some point in the distance past, been spewed out of the volcano.

That includes Lava Tower itself, a large column of rock jutting up conspicuously on the edge of a small level area that is used as Lava Tower Camp.

If you’re game and not too exhausted, you can climb to the top of Lava Tower. I decided resting and getting warm was a better way to spend my time. But from the top, you get not only a good view but also a little help with acclimatization–up here, any little altitude gain, even temporary, makes a difference.

Enroute, we also got our first view of the summit of Mt. Meru off to the right–about 70 miles way–its summit poking through the thick layer of clouds below us. We’ll have a good view of it for the next few days until we go over the summit and start heading down the other side of the mountain.

It was cold and windy when we arrived, but it started to die down around 8pm, leaving it just cold.

But the cold doesn’t take away from the spectacular view. We have a clear shot at Mt Meru poking through the clouds. The eerily clear skies with no light pollution to speak of mean that the night sky is dazzling. The Milky Way is easily visible in a thick band dividing the sky. If it wasn’t so cold and we weren’t so exhausted, we could sit out here for hours just stargazing.

Mt Kilimanjaro Porters on the Trail to Lava Tower
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro Clouds and Hikers Silhouette
Lava Tower Camp. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro Tents and Stars
Lava Tower. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro Clouds Silhouette from Lava Tower
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro Summit with Snow Seen from Moir Hut Camp
Kibo Summit as seen from Moir Hut Camp. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro Rocky Terrain Trail
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro
Moir Hut Camp. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro Frost on Tent
Frost on the tent at Moir Hut Camp. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro Moir Hut Campsite
Moir Hut Camp. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro Moir Hut Camp
Moir Hut Camp with the summit in the background. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro Western Breach View of Lava Tower
The Western Breach from Lava Tower Camp. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro Lava Tower and Western Breach
Lava Tower Camp, with the Western Breach in the background. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro Western Breach
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro Alpine Desert
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro Alpine Desert Rocks and Summit
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro Alpine Desert Terrain
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro Summit in the Clouds
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro Alpine Desert
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro Alpine Desert Path
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro Alpine Desert Panorama
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro Trail Marker to Lava Tower
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro Mt Meru Through the Clouds
The summit of Mount Meru poking up through the clouds. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro Alpine Desert with Mt Meru
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro Porter on Trail to Lava Tower
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro Trail Marker
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro Porters on the Rocky Trail to Lava Tower
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro Porters on the Trail to Lava Tower
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro Trail with Moir Hut Camp
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro Porters Drying Clothes
Taking advantage of some direct sun at Moir Hut Camp to dry and air the sleeping bags. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro Moir Hut Camp Area
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro Clouds from Above
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro Cairns Silhouette
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro Tent with Western Breach
Lava Tower Camp. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Mt Kilimanjaro Moir Hut Camp with Summit
Moir Hut Camp, with the summit in the distance at the background. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com

Climbing Kilimanjaro

This is part of a climb diary I put together with photos from each day on the Lemosho Route. You can find the other posts below. I’ve also included some gear tips for climbing Kilimanjaro and some ideas on what to expect from your climb.

Where to Next?

David Coleman / Photographer
by David Coleman

I'm a freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my gear reviews and tips here. More »