Margherita Peak, at a glance
Lying past Africa's largest ice sheet, the ascent leads past the Margherita Glacier, up a final rock scramble to the summit of the third highest mountain in Africa in the Rwenzori Mountains.
The summit was first scaled in 1906 by the Duke of Abruzzi, J. Petigax, C. Ollier, and J. Brocherel.
The route many guides use, via Elena Hut, is similar to the one taken by those pioneers all those years ago, although the directions along the routes vary due to dramatic ice melting in the past 6 years.
Getting to the peak
The ascent will take you via Elena Hut, heading south past the outhouse to a spilt in the road. It is possible to approach this climb from the Moraine Hut in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), however political instability in the region means this route is often closed at short notice.
From this bifurcate, several routes can be followed to the Stanley Plateau. One option is to climb straight up cracks and crevasses, heading west through a line of steep rocks to more moderate slopes above.
A second option is to continue south from the small pond in the direction of the steep cliffs of Kitasamba and the Coronation Glacier, reaching a sharp west turn, which leads up slabs in the direction of the glaciers of the Rwenzori.
Once at the glacier, climb steep snow or ice to reach more gradual slopes beyond, onto the Stanley Plateau, just north-west of this point.
From the top, views are generally limited by the weather, with the majority of what lies north-west from the Stanley Plateau covered in thick layers of fog. However, if you do catch a glimpse of the peaks in front of you, the closest on the left is Alexandra Peak. Below lies the beauty of the Afro Montane forest, intersected by an ever-flowing waterfall crashing over the rocks far below.
Preparing for the summit climb
Apart from standard backpacking gear that will aid the ascent to the base camp at Elena Hut, it is advised to bring boots with friction much better than mountaineering boots on wet mossy slabs. The weather tends to be biting and damp so it is good to have a good range of layers that accounts for intermittent sleet/rain/snow storms.
For the climb you will need:
- ice axe
- prusiks or some sort of ascenders for crevasses
- possibly a snow picket or two largely for crevasse rescue
Note that if you book your trek through us, all of this will be provided for you, and you'll be hiking with an expert mountaineering team.
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