Ascent of Mount Meru on 2014-04-07

Climber: Christopher D'Aiuto

Others in Party:Brain Lawrence
Chelsea Harding
Date:Monday, April 7, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Taxicab
Peak:Mount Meru
    Elevation:14977 ft / 4564 m

Ascent Trip Report

Mt. Meru, sixth highest mountain in Africa (after Kilimanjaro, Mt. Kenya, and the three high mountains of the Rwenzoris in Uganda).

*Note on GPS track: The track is only the descent on the Northern Route. See Trip Report on Little Meru for ascent on the Southern Route*

Hiked with two friends. We self-catered food. We chose to get a taxi from Usa River to the park head quarters and there paid the National Park for a guide for a 3 day trek. This with the park fees and hut fees was a total of US$302.50, chargeable to a credit card (Visa in my case). This arrangement is the cheapest possible. The fee for tent camping was the same as the hut as I remember. The park guide assigned to us was phenomenal in personality and knowledge of the mountain and in catering to our needs and being genuinely friendly.

Day 1: Trailhead at Momella Gate (S3 14.012 E36 50.985, 1588 m) to Miriakamba Hut (S3 13.762 E36 47.981, 2495 m). 12.9 km. 5:38. 907 m gain.

Saw Olive baboons, Colobus & Blue monkeys, giant Juniperus procea. Passed the Strangler fig and a small waterfall lunch place. Miriakamba is the coolest hut I came to between Mt. Kenya and Kilimanjaro primarily for its viewing deck above the mess hall, where at sunrise or a clear day you can see Kilimanjaro and all of the Ngurdoto Forest Reserve. Compared to trails on Mt. Kenya, Kilimanjaro, and the Ethiopian highlands, Mt. Meru's trails were superbly maintained and showed minimal soil erosion. Kudos!

Day 2: Miriakamba Hut to Little Meru summit (S3 12.757 E36 46.445, 3813 m) to Saddle Hut (S3 13.091 E36 46.406, 3567 m).
Up: 7 km. 8:59. 1318 m.
Down: 1.1 km. 0:29. 246 m.

You'll set all your belongings in your room at Saddle Hut, then take your day pack with you after a rest to grab Little Meru's peak as an acclimatizing hike. Don't expect great views from Little Meru's peak as you'll summit in the afternoon and the clouds will be all around the peaks, if not fog like around you too. I got good views into the Meru caldera and the landscape to the north into Kenya. Saddle Hut is comfortable but I had trouble sleeping from the altitude.

Day 3: Saddle Hut (S3 13.091 E36 46.406, 3567 m) to summit (S3 14.608 E36 44.988, 4576 m) to Momella Gate (S3 14.012 E36 50.985, 1588 m).
Up: 5.6 km, 5:24, 998 m.
Down: 17.5 km, 9:18, 2977 m!

Woke up at 1 am this morning to reach the summit at sunrise. It took a long time to fall asleep from my racing heart. This allows for the least chance of bad weather and thick fog, but also the best chance of epic views. The walk up was frigid. We went very slowly (pole-pole) with baby steps all the way up. This really helps keep your heart rate--while already racing--from becoming dangerously high. It also helps you keep from losing your breath and having breathing issues. There are plenty of breaks--too many for how freezing cold it was (beanie, gloves, and three layers including a wind/rain proof layer are necessary). The rocks looked like cotton candy with the moisture frozen on in a unique way. The views were astounding of Kilimanjaro. I saw it from the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi all the way to its northern foot in Kenya, gently sloping in the sunrise. Absolutely worth the hike up and the hard 9,770 ft descent that followed. Pole-pole. Use trekking poles.

1. Arusha National Park map. Published by Hoopoe Adventure. 1997. Bought at the visitor's center.
2. Kilimanjaro & East Africa: A Climbing And Trekking Guide, Cameron M. Burns. 2006. Published by The Mountaineers Books. ISBN 10: 0-89886-604-9
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Mt. Meru in the afternoon, from the peak of nearby cinder cone, west of Arusha, Tanzania (2014-04-01). Photo by Christopher D'Aiuto.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:9793 ft / 2984 m
    Total Elevation Loss:9767 ft / 2976 m
    Round-Trip Distance:14.4 mi / 23.1 km
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Guide, Hut Camp
    Weather:Drizzle, Frigid, Windy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:9793 ft / 2984 m
    Distance:3.5 mi / 5.6 km
    Route:Southern Route
    Start Trailhead:Momella Gate  5184 ft / 1580 m
    Time:2 Days 5 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:9767 ft / 2976 m
    Distance:10.9 mi / 17.5 km
    Route:Northern Route
    End Trailhead:Momella Gate  5210 ft / 1588 m
    Time:9 Hours 18 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Christopher D'Aiuto
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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