The Barranco Wall, also known as the Kissing Rock or the Death Wall, is a rock-shaped staircase that was created as a result of erosion. The 257-meter-high Barranco Wall is located along the slopes of Kibo on the southern side and can be reached by using the Lemosho, Umbwe, and Machame routes. It is right above the Barranco Valley, a few meters away from the Barranco campsite.
Vegetation and zone at the Barranco Wall, Mt Kilimanjaro
The Wall lies at the border of the moorland zone and welcomes you to the Alpine desert zone. The Alpine desert has less vegetation as compared to the moorland; it receives a bit of rainfall, which sometimes makes hiking hard; and fogs are common, especially in the morning.
How to hike the Barranco Wall?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions by first-time hikers who have read about how difficult it is to hike up the Barranco Wall, and the best way to overcome it is by following exactly what the guides tell you to do to stay safe and by having a good hand grip and good stability.
Hiking up the Barranco Wall involves using your hands, gripping the rock formations and ledges, pulling yourself up, and placing your foot onto the right steps so that you do not slide. It is a short hike, but due to its steepness and formation, it has been noted to be challenging for some hikers. If you have prior experience with rock climbing, then climbing the Barranco Wall will be a walk in the park.
Some of the tips that you can use for a successful Barranco Wall climb are to pay close attention to your guide, always prepare and not be anxious about the climb, don’t rush the hike but take everything slow, you will need to use your hands, knees, legs, and any other body part that can help with stabilizing, maintain a positive attitude, and make sure that you celebrate once you finish the climb.
Age limit for Barranco climbing
Children 10 years of age and below are not allowed to climb, but there are no age restrictions for ages above 10; however, you will need to first visit a physician if you are 60 years of age or older.
Is climbing the Barranco wall hard?
The Barranco Wall is one of the most feared parts of getting to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, but despite it being the most dreaded part besides the last hike to the peak, it is a fun experience that you need to prepare for, and as long as you do what the guides tell you, then you are good to go. It is not hard; just stay hydrated, use stability, and you will be at the top of the rock before you know it.
Best time to climb the Barranco Wall?
The best time to climb the Barranco wall when using the Umbwe, Lemosho, and Machame routes is during the dry season, which is June to September and December to March. The wet season is always slippery, making it hard to climb the wall, and in case you prefer the wet season, we recommend that you use either the Rongai or the Marangu routes.
Which routes lead to the Barranco Wall?
Trekkers usually use the Barranco Wall for acclimatization, and it will take you about one to two hours to get to the wall. The Kilimanjaro routes that will take you through the Barranco Wall as you head to Karanga Campsite include the Lemosho, Machame, Shira, and Umbwe routes. But in case you do want to climb the Barranco wall, the best routes to use include the Rongai, Northern Circuit, and Marangu routes.
What makes the Barranco Wall unique?
The “Kissing or hugging rock is what makes climbing it unique. Also known as the hugging rock, this part of the rock narrows in, and the only option one has is to hike slowly while tightly hugging the rock. You need to closely follow the guidelines given to you by the guides, and then you will be good to go. It also brings the hikers closer to each other as a team since you all have to look out for and support each other throughout the hike.
Is it possible for one to die while climbing the Barranco Wall?
No, it is not possible because you will have the best guides taking you through the hike. Note that the main cause of death on Mount Kilimanjaro is altitude sickness and not a fall from the wall, and in case you start feeling the sickness, inform your guide with immediate effect.
What are the health requirements for climbing the Barranco Wall?
Since the Barranco Wall is before the arctic zone, you do not need to have perfect health to get to the summit; however, if you have a phobia of heights and start getting altitude sickness, it is better to avoid the climb.
In case the Barranco Wall looks scary and you cannot handle the hike, we always have alternative routes that you can use to gain acclimatization, and is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will not be easily forgotten once you seize it.