Climb the Mountains of the moon : The mountain Rwenzori boasts vegetation that varies from tropical rainforest although as you ascend further up, you probably won’t miss the six meter heather of moss and its snow peak Mountaineering Exercise by hiking to the Nyabitaba hut and later on connect to Nyakalengija trailhead (1600m) with tour guides and porters climbing up to Nyabitaba hut going through the homesteads and the local plantations which is a breathtaking experience. Then follow the trail along the Mubuku River, via the landslides up and down rocks and bluffs. Go across the Mahoma River and ascend steeply through the bracken fern slopes and Podocarpus forest to Nyabitaba Hut for an Overnight. Nyakalengija Trailhead – John Matte Hut (3350m). From Nyabitaba hut, follow the trail which drops you down through the forest to the Kurt Shafer Bridge, just below the meeting point of the Bujuku and Mubuku Rivers.
Climb via the bamboo forest, going across a long and a fatiguing stretch of slippery moss-covered rock. From Nyamileju rock shelter, on clear-sight days, Mount Stanley and Mount Speke can be seen before passing into the zone of the giant heather, lobelia and groundsel. The final stretch to the John Matte hut is across a strenuous bog, the first of many for which the mountain is well-known. Overnight at John Matte Hut (FB) John Matte Hut – Bujuku Hut (3900m) After John Matte Hut, the trail goes downward to cross River Bujuku and enters Lower Bigo Bog, home of giant lobelias. Jumping a tussock after the other, the bog is crossed but at times the feet taste the freezing ooze. The Upper Bigo bog gives a way to Bujuku Lake, with the sight of Mt. Baker to the South and Mt Stanley to the West. Bujuku Hut, appropriately situated in the shadow of Mount Baker and Mount Speke, is in a narrow valley below Stuhlmann Pass. Be ready for this trail which can be very cold for you as well as to the dwellers of Rwenzori. Overnight at Bujuku Hut.
Bujuku Hut – Elena Hut (4541) Departing from Bujuku, via more bog, the trail ascends the slopes west of the lake, passing through the magical Groundsel Gully as it goes up to Scott-Elliot Pass at 4372m. A metal ladder takes you over a steep section after which the trail splits into two at the head of the channel. The right path goes up to Elena Hut and Mount Stanley on a steep trail over large boulders whereas the left path leads to Scott-Elliot Pass and down to Kitandara Lakes. Overnight at Elena Hut even though the nights may be cold (FB). Elena Hut – Margherita Peak (5109m) Climbing Margherita peak (5109m) to the base of the Stanley Glacier continues. Basing on the weather and one area familiarity, it can be a walk of between 4 to 7 hours to the summit of Margherita. It is a tough walk over three glaciers, slippery rock, ice and very open on many sides. The people physically fit are the only ones for this and it is a technical climb which needs roping up, crampons and appropriate equipment for cold, windy and icy conditions.
It is good to try the final climb in a group of at least four-two climbers and 2 guides; (the extra guide has to be paid for at the time of booking). Climb on to the glacier, cross the Stanley Plateau and move on with the ascent. Basing on altitude sickness, fog and weather, scramble up to the summit of Margherita, the Rwenzori peak.
It is not guaranteed that everyone will reach the summit because of the altitude and the tough conditions. So do not get disappointed if you do not. Coming back to Scott-Elliot pass, you get spectacular views back to Bujuku Lake and Mount Speke, up to Mount Stanley and down to the Kitandara Lakes. Once over the pass the trail enters an alpine zone of sparse vegetation and rough boulders. Go down to Kitandara Hut for overnight, past the Kitandara Lakes. (If you do not wish to climb the peak, a more restful day walking from Elena Hut to Kitandara Hut 4,023m.)
After Kitandara, the trail goes up steeply to the headwall, spreading out from the Mount Baker base and proceeds to the south side of the mountain to Fresh field Pass. On a good day, you see part of the Congo in the west and Mount Stanley in the north. From the pass, the long muddy goes down, going through the rock shelter at Bujongolo, this is the base camp for the historic expedition by the Duke of Abruzzi in 1906 .
Author: Yofes Mwesige
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