The Umbwe Route used to be the steepest, shortest and most direct route to Uhuru Peak.
Traditionally the route utilised the steep Western Breach and Arrow's Glacier path to the summit; however, due to a tragic rock-fall in 2006 that claimed the lives of three trekkers the approach via the Western Breach was closed. It reopened in December 2007 but due to its difficulty and safety risks most travel operators do not offer this route as an option.
Instead the Umbwe Route now joins the Machame Route on the evening of the second day, following the southern circuit to the summit and descending via the Mweka Route.
Traffic for the first two days on the Umbwe Route is low but picks up as soon as trekkers join Machame climbers at Barranco Camp.
Most travel operators offer the Umbwe Route on a five, six or seven day itinerary. The five day Umbwe Route is not recommended as there are no acclimatisation days and success rates are low.
The difference between the six and seven day Umbwe Route is an additional acclimatisation day at Barranco Camp.