How difficult is climbing Kilimanjaro? – Can I do it?
About 22,000 climbers set out every year to conquer the Kilimanjaro peak. Several well-marked hiking routes lead to the summit of the mountain. To use the word “climber” is not always correct. Although none of these hiking routes really requires mountaineering skills, hiking to the “roof of Africa” is physically and mentally demanding and should not be under estimated. As much as 40% of those who set out to climb Kilimanjaro turn back before they reach Uhuru peak.
Today, hikers make up the bulk of all those who conquer Kilimanjaro, and the mountain is in fact one of the highest peaks accessible to hikers in the world. Of course there are extremely severe climbs available, including some grade 3+ climbs, but those we leave to the professional alpine climbers and experienced mountaineers. The information on this Web site is primarily concerned with the hiking routes, which “the average hikers” can follow successfully.
With the adequate preparation any reasonably fit person above the age of 12 years can reach the summit successfully. In fact, the oldest person to date to reach the summit was a Frenchman, Valtee Daniel, at an age of 87!!
Preparation, both physical and mental, are the keywords for success. This site contains valuable and comprehensive information obtained from 9 years of experience and through the feedback from more than 4,300 clients. We believe it will positively contribute to your chances of successfully conquering Kilimanjaro.
Kilimanjaro rises from plains at approximately 2000 meters, right up to 5,895 meters. An ancient volcano, it now lies dormant except for some tell-tale signs of fumaroles in the ash pit. Two other peaks, namely Mawenzi and Shira, flank the main peak of Kibo. These peaks form spectacular photographic backdrops when viewed from various vantage points along the routes to the summit.
The different routes to the summit pass through five ecological zones, being the cultivated lower slopes, Montane forest, heath and moorland, alpine desert and the ice capped summit. The lower slopes of the mountain are mainly used for agricultural purposes.
The climate here is ideal for the production of coffee, an industry that Tanzania is famous for. Further up, a rain forest belt encircles the mountain up to about 2 00 meters. As you proceed higher, you pass through the heath which changes into moorland, semi-desert at altitude, progressing into total desert and finally into an alpine region with permanent ice glaciers. The higher slopes are covered with scree, loose stones resembling gravel, making it more difficult to negotiate. The main glaciers edging their way down the slopes of Kibo are Heim, Rebmann, Decken, Arrow and some smaller ones. These glaciers form the permanent ice cap of the mountain, although they are, as a result of global warming, believed to receding.