Mount Karisimbi

Mount Karisimbi is the highest of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains. It is a huge dome, now dormant, that dominates the range, more in girth than in height. Its name in Kinyaruanda means white shell, which refers to its often white-capped summit. Interestingly, this cap results not from snow but from hail and sleet which accumulate in the higher elevations from its frequent storms. It is located within the Parc National Des Volcans, and many of the volcanoes are connected by good trails.

Additional text submitted by Al Smiles:

Karisimbi is the highest of the eight major volcanoes of the Virunga field, a western branch of the East African rift valley.This stratovolcano is part of a group of volcanoes in the Bufumbira field which is an eastern region of Virunga. Karisimbi lavas have been dated from 0.24 Ma to 0.010 Ma. These samples indicate that this volcano is a very young.

The going is quite steep and good navigation is required not only through the lower slopes, but also on the mountain itself. It consists of secondry jungle and in the most gives an earie appearence. It is close the the jungle HQ of Dianne Fossey the renouned gorrila expert. There is no definable route up the mountain.

Elevation (feet): 14,787
Elevation (meters): 4,507
Continent: Africa
Country: Rwanda/Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Range/Region: Virunga Mountains
Latitude: -1.5
Longitude: 29.45
Difficulty: Scramble
Best months for climbing: Jan, Feb, Mar, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct
Volcanic status: Dormant
Year first climbed: 1903
First successful climber(s): Berthelmy
Nearest major airport: Kampala, Uganda, Kigali, Rwanda, Bujumbura, Burundi, Nairobi, Kenya
Convenient Center: Ruhengeri, Rwanda

Trip Reports

NOTE: Trip reports were previously called "Summit Logs" - same feature, new name

There are 7 trip reports for Mount Karisimbi.

Select any entry from the list below:

  • Log #14323 - by Sean Head on July 29, 20042 Stars
    went on to examin the condition of the radio tower. a very very pretty climb.
  • Log #14325 - by Bob Prouty on Dec 10, 2003
    We formed a little club--the Rwanda Toboggan Club. You had to slide on the snow at the top of the mountain for at least 3 meters using some form of conveyance (cardboard box, etc.) to qualify for...
  • Log #14327 - by Ginge Fullen on July 01, 20024 Stars
    Glad to say that Karisimbi is now open. I summited yesterday with the permission of the Park after what is beleived around 8 years of no climbing.
  • Log #14328 - by jason greenhalgh on Jan 29, 20023 Stars
    I built the radio tower on top of Karisimbi ,with my father.I worked for a German company, INCOMTEL GMBH. We built the tower for Radio Rwanda, FM Radio. Many people on the project died during the...
  • Log #14329 - by Heather Prouty on June 14, 2001
    One time, we climbed into the crater, and swam in it's very cold lake. The lake has large iron deposits. There are also large reptiles that live in the crater. I climbed this while living in Rwanda,...
  • Log #14330 - by Danny Prouty on Mar 06, 2001
    I lived 10 kilometers from the mountain for several years. While Karisimbe isn't going to make any list of the worlds most incredible climbs, it's silhouette will still always be imprinted into my...
  • Log #14331 - by Jack Nelson on Feb 06, 20004 Stars
    The tranquil scene in the saddle between Mt Karisimbi and Mt Mikeno is something that for many years has remained in my mind as a picture of prehistoric African jungles. Carl Akeley, who was buried...