How Hard Is the Barranco Wall on Kilimanjaro

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African Scenic Safaris
Climbing Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro’s charm isn’t only its towering height. It is also the varied terrains and challenges one must encounter when Climbing Kilimanjaro. Among them is the infamous Barranco Wall, which stands tall on Kilimanjaro’s southern face.

The wall has garnered attention from potential climbers because of its daunting appearance and notorious reputation. But is it as terrifying as it seems?

This blog post unravels the same mystery surrounding the Barranco Wall. It aims to give you enough information to confidently decide whether or not you should go for a Barranco Wall adventure when coming for Mount Kilimanjaro Climbing Tours.

Barranco Wall’s Overview

Barranco Wall

Situated at approximately 4,200 meters, the Barranco Wall is a formidable obstacle when Climbing Kilimanjaro. It is known to many as the Breakfast Wall since climbers usually tackle it after their morning meal.

Moreover, its steep ascents and risky paths provide a significant challenge even to seasoned trekkers climbing up to Africa’s majestic peak.

  • Physical description and location

Standing tall and challenging, the Barranco Wall is characterized by its rocky outcrops and narrow paths. Located within the southern face of Mount Kilimanjaro, it serves as a natural barrier between climbers and the higher altitudes that await them during Mount Kilimanjaro Climbing expeditions.

  • Relevance on Kilimanjaro’s trekking routes

The Wall features prominently on several Kilimanjaro Climbing Tours. Its position demands attention, respect, and preparation from trekkers, making it a key point of many Kilimanjaro Routes to the summit.

Though challenging, the Barranco Wall represents one of the journey’s most memorable and rewarding sections.


The Barranco Wall goes from Northeast to Southwest and looks over the Barranco Valley camp. It’s 843 feet tall, which is about 257 meters. Some call it the “Breach Wall” or “Breakfast Wall” because the climb starts after breakfast. A lot of hikers like this part of Kilimanjaro Trek since it’s different from the flat walking they did before.

First Impressions when Climbing Barranco Wall

Climbing Kilimanjaro

As trekkers emerge from the thick alpine forests and find themselves at the Barranco Wall’s base, their reactions often involve a blend of amazement and concern.

  • Descriptions from trekkers’ perspectives

Words like “majestic,” “daunting,” and “awe-inspiring” frequently appear in travel blogs when describing the first appearance of Barranco Wall Kilimanjaro.

For many, the Wall serves as a visible representation of the challenges that Mount Kilimanjaro Hike promises.

  • Initial anxiety and concerns

Concerns range from the physical demands of the climb to potential Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness and the simple fear of the unknown.

The path’s steepness and the sight of tiny figures (actually other climbers) dotting the wall make many climbers pause and question their preparedness.

Yet, with every step, as trekkers ascend, they realize that the journey is as much about mental fortitude as physical ability.

Trekking Routes Climbing Kilimanjaro

Trekking Route

The Kilimanjaro Climbing Route you choose to trek up can determine how and when you face the Barranco Wall.

  • Routes that ascend the wall

Popular routes like Lemosho, Machame, Shira, and Umbwe directly confront the Barranco Wall. Each offers a unique experience, with varying difficulty levels and scenic views.

  • Optional routes to bypass the wall

Trekkers can opt for the Rongai or Northern Circuit Routes if the Barranco Wall feels too daunting.

These Kilimanjaro Routes offer different challenges and sceneries, allowing trekkers to experience Kilimanjaro without facing the wall.

Your route choice can significantly influence your overall Kilimanjaro Climbing experience. So, it’s essential to research and select the one that best aligns with your aspirations and fitness level.

Africa Scenic Safaris’ Take: Of all the routes, African Scenic Safaris offers Kilimanjaro Climbing Packages via the Lemosho Route and Machame Route. So, if you want to encounter the epic challenge of scrambling through the Barranco Wall, opt for these. Otherwise, our guest trekkers who want to escape this infamous part can always climb via the Northern Circuit Route and the Rongai Route.

The Kilimanjaro Climb Experience

Kilimanjaro Climbing Experience

The Barranco Wall Mount Kilimanjaro climb is an adventure filled with challenges, surprises, and moments of camaraderie. Let’s look at some of them below:

  • “Kissing Rock” challenges, significance, and fun facts

One of the most talked-about parts of the Barranco Climb is the “Kissing Rock.”  This portion requires climbers to lean into the rock (hence “kissing” it) to navigate a particularly narrow path when Climbing Kilimanjaro.

In the morning, you’ll notice groups beginning their climb, resembling ants as they crisscross up the wall.

As the “Kissing Rock” spot arrives, climbers often hold up, and there is congestion because of its tight space.

Many hikers stop here for photos. Even though this wall part is more exposed, it’s manageable if you follow the guide’s instructions and keep a firm grip.

  • Feeling of camaraderie among trekkers

As challenges mount, trekkers often rely on each other for motivation and support. The Barranco Wall Kilimanjaro is one spot where many forms bond, with fellow climbers becoming lifelong friends.

  • Role of guides in supporting climbers

The unsung heroes of many treks, Kilimanjaro Climbing Guides, are essential in helping trekkers navigate the wall’s challenges.

Their expertise, stories, and encouragement make the journey safer and more enjoyable.

Yosemite Decimal System (YDS) & Difficulty Level

Even if the Barranco Wall Kilimanjaro looks intimidating, you don’t need special climbing abilities or gear to tackle it. In climber’s language, the Wall is rated as a class 4 “scramble”, based on the Yosemite Decimal System.

This system, commonly known as YDS, grades the challenges of outdoor activities like walking, hiking, and climbing. It’s widely used by climbers and hikers in the US and Canada.

Introduced by the Sierra Club in Southern California during the 1950s, the YDS offers an improved approach to earlier methods developed in Yosemite Valley.

All the classes of the Yosemite Decimal System are explained below:

Class 1Trail WalkingSimple walking. Think of walking on a park path.
Class 2Off-trail hikingIt is a bit rougher. You’re off the path and might need to watch your step. Sometimes, you’ll use your hands for balance.
Class 3ScramblingHere you’re scrambling. You’re using your hands more to help you move up. It’s steep but not vertical.
Class 4Hard Scrambling/ Easy ClimbingThis is where Barranco Wall fits in. It’s steeper, and you’re relying on your hands a lot. Some people might want a safety rope.
Class 5Technical ClimbThis is serious climbing. You’ll need ropes, know-how, and probably some training.

Understanding the Barranco Wall’s rating can often alleviate many anxieties, giving climbers a clearer picture of what lies in the Kilimanjaro Tours ahead.

Safety, Challenges & Tips

While the Barranco Wall presents challenges, it’s essential to remember that thousands climb it successfully yearly. Proper preparation and adherence to specific guidelines can help you gain a memorable Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro experience.

  • Reassuring facts for concerned climbers

Despite its threatening appearance, injuries on the Barranco Wall are relatively rare. With careful pacing and the assistance of guides, most trekkers navigate it safely.

  • Importance of pace, guidance, and precautions

As with all the other sections of Climbing Kilimanjaro, maintaining a steady “pole pole” (slowly, slowly) pace is crucial.

Listening to guides’ advice, taking frequent breaks, and staying hydrated can make a world of difference.

  • Tips for success:

Wearing gloves can provide a better grip on the cold rocks. Get our perfectly curated Kilimanjaro Gear List for the best possible gear suggestions for an easy climb.

Embracing the challenge mentally can often make the physical aspects of Kilimanjaro Climb more manageable.

Every climber has a unique experience during Kilimanjaro Climbing Tours. Armed with these tips and a determined spirit, the Barranco Wall becomes less of an obstacle and more of an adventure on your Kilimanjaro Summit journey.

Embracing Challenges and Crafting Memories on Kilimanjaro

Trekking the Barranco Wall is an integral part of the Kilimanjaro experience for many. While it may initially seem fearful, if you listen to our guides and don’t look down, we guarantee it can become a cherished memory of your journey.

Moreover, it doesn’t matter whether you decide to face the wall or take an alternate route; remember that at African Scenic Safaris, we promise to provide you with the best possible trekking experience with our exclusive Mount Kilimanjaro Climbing Packages.

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