Should I Climb the 6-Day Machame Route?

Attempting the Machame route in 6 days is very tough.  The standard 7-day route is shown here:

So to do the route in 6-days, you need to shave off one day from the standard route.  Here are the options:

  • On day two, trek from Machame to Barranco, without camping at Shira.  This is difficult because you’d have to climb from 2,850 m to 4,600 m and descend to sleep at 4,000 m.  You’ll be on the trail a long time, for 10-14 hours.
  • On day four, trek from Barranco to Barafu, without camping at Karanga.  This is difficult because it can take 8-10 hours to complete this leg, and then you can only sleep a few hours before you prepare for the midnight assault on the summit and descent, which can take another 11-14 hours.  Therefore, you’d be walking for 20 or so hours with only a few hours of sleep in between.
  • Through day five, you’d stick to the 7-day itinerary, trekking from Karanga to Barafu.  On day six, you’d summit and descend all the way to Mweka gate, instead of stopping at Mweka camp, and get off the mountain.  Summit day is already tough without adding an extra 3-4 hours to your walk.  This day may last 14-18 hours.

As you can see, none of these are ideal. Therefore the 6-day Machame route is not recommended. Unless you know you are a strong hiker and can adapt quickly to high altitude, the 7-day option is the best option.