Mount Kilimanjaro is an amazing place. Here are some interesting facts you can use to impress your friends. Some of them are informative, others are crazy and some are just plain weird.

Mount Kilimanjaro is located in the northeast part of Tanzania. It is in the Kilimanjaro National Park. It covers an area that is approximately 62 miles long by 45 miles wide.

Kilimanjaro Routes

There are six official Kilimanjaro routes. Two, the Shira and the Lemosho Routes approach from the west. Three routes—Machame, Umbwe, and Marangu—approach from the south and the Rongai route starts from the northeast side. There is also a seventh route, the Northern Circuit that begins at the Lemosho gate, but then circles around the north of Kilimanjaro and summits via Gilman’s Point.

kilimanjaro routes mapThere are three summit trails to Uhuru Peak. The first approach is from Stella Point from the south, the second approaches from the east via Gilman’s Point and the third approaches through the Western Breach, which is the more technically challenging route.

Note that the Mweka route is only used for descents.

Another interesting fact about Mt. Kilimanjaro is that it is a dormant volcano which is comprised of three volcanic cones, Shira, Mawenzi and Kibo. Kibo is where Uhuru Peak is located.

kilimanjaro volcanoesOf the three volcanoes, Kibo is classified as dormant but not extinct. However, the last major eruption from Kibo happened over 360,000 years ago. Over 200 years ago the last volcanic activity occurred and resulted in creating the ash pit.

kilimanjaro ash pit

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world. Mt. Kilimanjaro is not part of a mountain range like Mt. Everest.

The summit on Mount Kilimanjaro is called Uhuru Peak and stands at 19,345 feet. To put this in perspective, Mount Everest, is 29,029 feet or just under 10,000 ft higher.

One of the interesting things about Mt. Kilimanjaro is that both the North and South base camps of Everest are lower than the summit of Kilimanjaro but it takes most climbers 8-10 days to reach them.

The summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro can be reached in 4-5 days. However, this type of rapid ascent makes it a difficult and rather dangerous mountain to hike due to Acute Mountain Sickness.

The Seven Summits

As the highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro makes up one of the Seven Summits. The other mountains on the Seven Summit circuit are:

  1. Mountain Everest is the tallest at 29,029 feet and is located near the border of Nepal and China
  2. Aconcagua is second at 22,841 feet. It is located in Argentina.
  3. Mount McKinley (recently renamed Denali) is 20,320 feet. It is located in Alaska.
  4. Mount Kilimanjaro stands 19,345 feet and is located in Tanzania.
  5. Mount Elbrus stands at 18,510 feet. It is located in Russia.
  6. Vinson Massif  is 16,050 feet. It is located in Antartica.
  7. Puncak Jaya is 16,024 feet and is located in Indonesia. Australia is actually comprised of New Guinea, the country of Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, Timor, other islands, and the submerged continental shelf.

Climate Change

Kilimanjaro’s Glaciers have been rapidly receding for the past century. There are scientific studies that point to human-induced climate change being largely to blame. There are also scientific studies that say that the glaciers are not going anywhere anytime soon.

What we Know

Previous to 1912 the entire summit was covered by an ice cap more than 300 feet deep. Since then the ice cap has lost 82% of the glaciers and this decline is rapidly increasing. Since 1962 55% of that 82% has vanished.

Controversy

killimanjaro glaciersIn 2002, America’s renowned climatologist, professor Lonnie Thompson predicted that at the present rate of recession the majority of the glaciers on Kilimanjaro could vanish between 2015 and 2020. He says global warming is responsible. Mainly the deforestation around the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Fast-forward to a decade later. A local ecologist, Imani Kikoti of Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, who has been monitoring the ice recession, say the ice remains steady and it is nowhere near extinction.

Kikoti believes that the sustainable rainfalls on Mount Kilimanjaro in recent years could be a factor behind the snow resilience.

Whichever study you believe, book your trip now to see the stunning glaciers atop the Roof of Africa just in case they do disappear.

Weather

Kilimanjaro creates its own weather pattern. This is due to the structure of Mt. Kilimanjaro and the trade winds. The Southeast trade winds travel down from the Indian Ocean carrying with them a lot of moisture. This usually occurs in the month of March. This moisture is forced upward and condenses into clouds and begins to rain. This makes March through May the wettest season on Mt. Kilimanjaro. Because of this Peak Planet only offers Private climbs at this time. If you are a seasoned backpacker and don’t mind a bit of rain, you will have the mountain almost to yourself during these months.

Toward the end of the rainy season, anti-trade winds from the northeast begin to move in. This weather pattern carries very little moisture but comes with strong winds. The strength of these winds which last from the end of April until well into October keep the Southeast trade winds below them, hence these months are usually dry and cloud cover and precipitation is generally only on the lower slopes.

In November, the Northeast Monsoon arrives in Tanzania and brings with it light rain to the northern slopes of the mountain.

March, April and November are the wettest months on Kilimanjaro. January through March and June through October are the best months for trekking. Snowfall and cold temperatures are common between December and May. You can read more here: http://www.peakplanet.com/climb-preparation/

The chart below shows average snowfall in inches on the summit of Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro Snowfall

  • Depth in Inches
  • Approximately 35,000-50,000 people attempt to climb Kilimanjaro every year

Annual Deaths

  • The number of deaths that occur on Mt. Kilimanjaro each year varies.
  • Based on research from a number of reliable sources, it is estimated that there are approximately 3-7 deaths per year.
  • Deaths on the mountain occur due to various reasons including AMS,  falls and hypothermia.
  • Sometimes porters die due to the onset of malaria while on the trek.

Amazing Kilimanjaro Records

First Ascent: German geologist, Hans Meyer, Ludwig Purtscheller and a local guide called Lauwo were the first people to summit Mount Kilimanjaro in October 1889. Though some believe otherwise.

Fastest Ascent Male:

  1. The fastest ascent and descent of Mount Kilimanjaro is held by Swiss mountain runner, Karl Egloff, who ran to the top the summit and back in 6 hours and 42 minutes in August 2014.
  2. This incredible feat beat the previous record which was held by Spanish mountain runner, Kilian Jornet and set in September 2010. At the time, the Spaniard was 22 years old. He reached the summit in a record time of 5 hours, 23 minutes and 50 seconds beating the previous ascent record.
  3. This record beat the previous ascent record from Kazakh mountain runner, Andrew Puchinin by one minute! He then ran back down for a total round-trip time of 7 hours and 14 minutes, beating the previous round-trip record set by local Tanzanian guide Simon Mtuy of 9 hours and 21 minutes!

Fastest Ascent Female:

  1. The fastest ascent by a woman is held by German-born Anne-Marie Flammersfeld, who in July 2015 climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in 8 Hrs 32 Minutes
  2. This time beat the previous record held by Becky Shuttleworth by over 3 hours. In total it took Flammersfeld 12 hours 58 minutes to ascend and descend, breaking the record 18 hours 31 minutes record set by Debbie Bachmann.

Youngest Person to Climb Kilimanjaro

The youngest person to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro is Keats Boyd, at the tender age of 7 years old. The Los Angeles resident reached the summit on the 21st January 2008 – an incredible achievement made even more impressive as he somehow managed to dodge the minimum age rule for young climbers (i.e. 10 years or older).

Oldest Person to Climb Kilimanjaro

  1. Angela Vorobeva (Russia, b. 4 February 1929) has now become the oldest person and women to reach the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, aged 86 years 267 days, on 29 October 2015.
  2. Robert Wheeler was the oldest person to climb Mount Kilimanjaro at age 85 and 201 days. He reached the summit on 2nd October 2014.
  3. Richard Byerley was ‘officially’ the oldest person to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro in October 2010. Byerley reached the summit at the ripe old age of 84 years and 71 days. However, his record was incredibly surpassed by Martin Kafer (85) and his wife Esther (84) in October 2012. The Canadian-Swiss couple now hold the record as the oldest man and oldest women to climb Kilimanjaro. Esther’s achievement surpassed the previous oldest woman to reach the summit, Bernice Bunn, who climbed to the Roof of Africa at age 83.

 Incredible Ascents by Disabled People

Other Facts

  • Highest Cricket Match: In September 2014, 30 cricket players and official climbed to the top of Kilimanjaro and then descended to Crater Camp to play the highest game of cricket ever recorded. The previous record was held near Everest Base Camp in 2009.
  • Team Building for Tour De France: October 2014, the Russian-backed Tour de France team, Tinkoff-Saxo, climbed to the top of Kilimanjaro. Cycling stars Alberto Contador and Peter Sagan were part of the team that reached the summit.
  • Highest Pizza Delivery: May 2016, Pizza Hut set an official Guinness World Record by delivering the highest altitude pizza to the top of Kilimanjaro.
  • Africans Tallest Tree Discovered on Mt. Kilimanjaro: Measuring an almighty 267 feet, Africa’s tallest tree was discovered on Mount Kilimanjaro in 2016. The tree is of the Entandrophragma Excelsum species and could be up to 600 years old!
  • Golf: A number of trekkers over the past few years have hit golf shots off the summit of Kilimanjaro into the crater.
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