DAY 1: Drive to the Umbwe Road head at 1,800m. The route initially follows a forestry track winding up through the natural rain forest. It then narrows and steepens to climb the ridge between the Lonzo and Umbwe rivers. The first campsite is in the forest by some rock overhangs at 2,940m, (5–6 hours walking).
DAY 2: Shortly after leaving the camp, the forest ends and the path continues along a narrow spectacular ridge. Above, the sheer 1,000m of the Breach Wall appears and disappears as the afternoon mists roll up the Great Barranco. From the Umbwe ridge the route descend slightly to the Barranco Hut and the camp in the valley floor at 3,900m, (5–6hr)
DAY 3: A short scramble to the top of the Great Barranco and then a traverse over scree and ridges to the Karanga Valley (4,000m), 3 hours), beneath the icefalls of the Heim, Kersten, and Decken Glaciers.
DAY 4: After climbing out of the Karanga Valley, the trail ascends a ridge to the Barafu Hut, a bleak location with little vegetation at 4,600m, 3hrs.
DAY 5: An early start for the ascent to the rim of the Kibo Crater between the Rebmann and Ratzel Glaciers, (4hrs). The last section before the rim can sometimes be snow-covered and an ice-axe or ski stick is useful for balance. From here, a further hour leads to Uhuru Peak, from where there are often fine views of Meru to the west and the jagged peak of Mawenzi to the east. After a short time on the summit, descend to the Barafu Hut before continuing on down to camp at Mweka Hut in the giant heather zone on the Mweka route.
DAY 6: A 3-4 hour descent through forest brings you to the park gate.