What is summit night?
The hardest part of the climb by far
It’s so gosh-darn bleeping cold!! The wind can be fierce, as there’s no protection at the summit Starting the trek in the dark of night can be mentally daunting You’re trekking on top of little (and probably poor-quality) sleep It’s the steepest part of the entire trek The scree can be hard to walk on You hike for around 13 to 16 hours (depending on your route) The air is thin so breathing is made difficult The altitude can make you feel sick (for instance, dizzy or nauseous)
It’s because the climb is very hard that you feel so glorious when you reach the summit!
Why climb Kilimanjaro at night?
1. It’s hard to sleep at altitude
2. There’s much ground to cover
3. All water at this elevation must be carried up
4. The sunrise from Stella Point is glorious
The biggest moment during summit night for me was reaching Stella Point when darkness, the freezing cold and uncertainty vanished. The sun came out, the temperature started rising and I felt in a very good physical state to tackle the last half an hour along the crater rim to Uhuru Peak. I felt like nothing could go wrong anymore and this half an hour to the actual summit was one of the happiest and most intense in my life, filled with natural beauty and the feeling of having achieved something truly extraordinary.
Tash's summit night video journal
Preparing for summit night
Summit night schedule
11 pm: You're woken up by a member of your mountain crew and brought a hot drink. Then it's time to dress, pack and get ready to leave camp. Midnight: You leave base camp and head for the summit! Around sunrise: Stop at Stella Point (5,739 m) to marvel at the beauty of the sunrise and the emerging view. About 30 minutes later: Reach the highest point on Kilimanjaro, Uhuru Peak (5,895 m)! Celebration time!! 15 minutes later: Begin the descent. Afternoon: Reach Mweka or Marangu Camp. Collapse into a chair and mull in wonderment over your massive achievement!
How long do we spend at the summit?
We spend 15 minutes at the summit of Kilimanjaro.
What is the temperature at the summit?
The summit of Kilimanjaro remains below freezing point all year round.
How hard is it to summit Kilimanjaro?
Summit night is by far the hardest part of the hike for various reasons: it’s freezing, it’s dark, due to the altitude you only walk very slowly, and you know this is the part where the people who did not make it to the top had to give up. You will certainly ask yourself why exactly you are doing this and why watching a movie on the couch at home wasn’t good enough for you? But in the end for us the group spirit, the motivation of the guides and the adrenalin of completing this adventure carried us all the way up! The feeling on top has no words to describe.
Summit night was definitely the hardest part of the entire climb for me. There were a couple of points, when the wind was so strong and it was so bitterly cold, that I wanted to stop and turn around. However the guys and my team really motivated me and kept me going. I appreciated them before, but it wasn’t until this particular moment that I knew they were the main reason I was making it up this mountain. I appreciated the mountain crew before, but it wasn’t until [summit night] that I knew they were the main reason I was making it up this mountain.
6 tips for summit night
The summit climb was the toughest part of the trek. Walking in the dark for hours, exhausted and dizzy, on the brink of giving up. But then the morning twilight appeared. The sun slowly rose and revealed the beautiful sea of clouds. I felt exhilarated, as though the tiredness had never existed.