Fascinating Facts about Kilimanjaro
Fascinating Facts About Kilimanjaro
Rising majestically above the African plains, the 20,000-foot Mt. Kilimanjaro has beckoned to climbers since the first recorded summit in 1889. Here are 10 interesting facts to help inspire your own future summit:
1. Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest free-standing mountain in the world at a spectacular height of 5,895 metres above sea level. (Mount Everest is just more than 2,950 metres higher!)
2. The last major volcanic eruption from Kibo took place more than 360,000 years ago.
3. The last volcanic activity of Mount Kilimanjaro occurred 200 years back, resulting in the ash pit that climbers today can see from Uhuru Peak.
4. Since 1912, Kilimanjaro has lost 82% of its ice cap, and since 1962 it has lost 55% of its remaining glaciers – all due to climate change.
5. There are seven official routes on Mount Kilimanjaro, six of which are used for ascent (Machame, Umbwe, Marangu, Shira, Lemosho, Rongai), and one of which is used for descent only (Mweka).
6. Approximately 35,000 people attempt climbing Kilimanjaro each year, of which only two thirds are usually successful. This is mostly due to altitude-related problems, forcing some climbers to turn back.
7. Hans Meyer (a German geologist), Ludwig Purtscheller, and a local named Lauwo were the first people ever to have reached the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro in October of 1889. (It is possible that the mountain had already been conquered earlier by locals, but was never documented).
8. Fastest ascent of Kilimanjaro. On August 13, 2014, Swiss mountain runner Karl Egloff ran to the 5895m summit in 4 hours and 56 minutes, thereby beating the previous ascent-only record of Spanish runner Kilian Jornet, set in 2010
9. On 22 October 2018 Coaltan Tanner, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, reached the summit of Kilimanjaro aged just 6. In doing so, he broke one of the most enduring (and disputed) records on the mountain by becoming the youngest person ever to reach the summit unaided. (By unaided, we mean that Coaltan was not carried at any time during the trek and walked the entire way from gate to summit.)
10. Perhaps surprisingly, this is the record that has changed hands most frequently over the past few years. On July 20th 2017 Dr Fred Distelhorst, a retired orthodontist from Vail, Colorado, became, at 88, the oldest person ever to climb Kilimanjaro.
His achievement eclipsed the previous record set by Russian octagenarian Angela Vorobeva on October 29th 2015, who took the popular Machame Route to the top at 86 years, 267 days. (Impressive, but it’s fair to say that it’s not the toughest challenge that Ms Vorobeva has faced, having survived of the Siege of Leningrad in 1944!)
11. It is estimated that around 3-7 people die trying to climb Mount Kilimanjaro each year. The causes vary from altitude-related sicknesses or AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness), to accidental falls, to hypothermia. Sometimes porters die due to the onset of malaria during the trek. And strangely enough, one climber also died on the Mountain in early 2013 by being struck by lightning.
12. Almost every person to have summited the Mountain has recorded their thoughts about their achievement in a book that is stored in a wooden box at the top of the Mountain.
13. Virtually every type of ecological system can be found on this mountain, including cultivated land, rain forest, heath, moorland, alpine desert, and an arctic summit.
14. In 2008 it was announced by the Tourism minister of Tanzania that 4.8 million indigenous trees will be planted around the base of the Mountain, aiding in preventing soil erosion and the protection of water sources.
15. South African-born inspiration, Bernard Goosen, managed to conquer the Mountain twice in a wheelchair! His first summit took place in 2003 and lasted for nine days. His second occurred four years later, taking him only six days to complete the trek. Goosen was born with cerebral palsy, but determinedly used a modified wheelchair (mostly without assistance) to scale the Mountain.
16. In January 2010, actors Jessica Biel and Emile Hirsch, along with rapper Lupe Fiasco, joined the Summit on the Summit group’s expedition to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. The purpose of the voyage was to raise awareness of the lack of clean drinking water for millions around the world.
17. Out of every 1,000 tons of water that trickles down the Mountain, approximately 400 of them come directly from ice caps.
18. The first summit up Mount Kilimanjaro happened in 1889 and took around six weeks in comparison to the five or six days in which the average climber can complete it in today.
19. A porter from the very first successful summit lived to see the 100th celebration of the climb at an incredible 118 years of age!
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