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As you descend into the Barranco Valley you will notice a rather intimidating cliff face to the East. At first glance, this daunting route is the stuff of nightmares. It looks impassable. And to add to your worries, you don’t tackle it until the next morning which means you have all night to worry about it. What are we talking about? It is none other than the terrifying Barranco Wall.

barranco wall

Let’s take a closer look at the route up the infamous Wall.

  • The Wall itself is only 843 ft tall (257 meters) but it looks much more menacing as it towers above camp.
  • Only the Machame, Shira, Lemosho and Umbwe Routes climb the Barranco Wall. Of those, Peak Planet only guides the Machame and Lemosho. We do not guide the Shira due to its lack of acclimatization. The route starts above the rainforest. We also do not guide the Umbwe route since it is steep and short and basically considered the worst route on the mountain. The success rate is less than 50% due to its short approach.
  • On our 10-Day Lemosho Route, you ascend the wall on day five en route to Karanga Camp. For the 9-Day Machame Route, you ascend it on day four.
  • You do not need technical climbing skills or equipment to scale the Wall.
  • In climbing terms, the Wall is considered a class 4 “scramble”. See the  Yosemite Decimal System to the right.

Yosemite Decimal System

Class 1: flat ground, easy walking
Class 2: Inclined and uneven, more difficult walking
Class 3: Very uneven and inclined, maybe using hands to ascend
Class 4: Hands and feet necessary to easily ascend. Falling would be serious.
Class 5: Rock climbing. Technical maneuvers to ascend. A fall without a rope would result in serious injury or death.

The Kissing Rock

The length of time it takes to ascend depends on what time you are up and ready to go. The climbers look like a line of ants as they slowly march on.

We get emails all the time asking how scary it really is and to be quite honest, it looks frightening from below. However, once you get on the trail and follow our guide, it is really just one foot in front of the other until you reach the “Kissing Rock’”. Then, just don’t look down, hug the rock and step across, just like the video above.

After that, just keep walking and stepping up the rocks until you reach the top and are greeted with an amazing view.

top of barranco wall

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