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Kilimanjaro

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Kilimanjaro

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Tanzania, Africa

Lat/Lon: 3.0667°S / 37.35000°E

Object Title: Kilimanjaro

Elevation: 19340 ft / 5895 m

 

Page By: kilimanjaro1

Created/Edited: Mar 21, 2001 / Mar 13, 2014

Object ID: 150202

Hits: 146649 

Page Score: 99.32%  - 106 Votes 

Vote: Log in to vote

 

Overview

Kilimanjaro is getting to be a very popular mountain and there are many popular routes. The highest mountain in Africa this volcano rises above the jungle plains and actually has a very good vertical ascent. Kilimanjaro is unique in that during the ascent you will climb through all climatalogical zones. Starting in tropical rain forest through moss and desert to the snow on the summit. I strongly recommend reading "Trekking in East Africa" by Lonely Planet.

Prices tend to run about $800- 1200 for a climb depending on route and number of days. Today it seems the Machame route is becoming much more popular due to the fact that a higher percentage of climbers make the summit on this route. The Marangu route is still the quickest and cheapest... but it also has the least chance of actually making the summit ( approximately 30%)

When I first climbed Kilimanjaro in 1996 it was easy to just book the trip with an agency upon our arrival in Arusha. However, now, because of recent popularity it is now recommended to book in advance if possible. With the help of tour agencies recommended in Lonely Planet or on this page or the Africa message board on summitpost you can get the names of many recommended tour operators. I suggest booking with an operator based in Tanzania rather than the USA because you can generally do the climb cheaper than tours organized in the USA. Often times many tour operators are just booking agencies for tour comapanies. By dealing directly you can usually save a couple hundred dollars by eliminating the middleman. Extra nights (recommended for acclimatization) tend to run about $100 per night. Good Earth Tours mentioned elsewhere on the message boards also has a US office, but books climbs similiar to the booking price to book in Tanzania. Our group used them for a successful climb in February 2005. They are a Tanzanian company, but they have a local office in Florida so it is easy to talk with a real person and get a good price too.

This information is also provided from John:

Kilimanjaro is one of the largest freestanding mountains in the world and is a large massif that is comprised of 3 volcanoes: Kibo (5894m, dormant), Mawenzi (5149m, dormant), and Shira (3962m, extinct).

There are many hiking routes to reach Kibo's summit (aka Uhuru Peak) and it is easier to explain these by first discussing the "around-the-mountain" circular trail that is comprised of the North Circuit Path and the South Circuit Path. There are 6 major forest/moorland routes that reach this around-the-moutain trail system and 3 hike/scramble routes that asend to the summit of Kibo. The 6 forest/moorland routes are (going clockwise with 12 o'clock = North): Rongai, Marangu, Mweka, Umbwe, Machame, and Shira. The 3 summit routes are: Normal (class 1-2 extension of Marangu), Barafu (class 2 extension of Mweka), and Western Breach (class 3 extension of Shira). If the forest/moorland route you choose does not have an extension route to the summit and you want to use one then you will need to traverse one of the circuit paths till you find one. The Rongai, Umbwe, Machame, and Shira routes are ascent only routes and climbers are currently required to use either the Marangu (for Rongai) or Mweka (others) for descent. See the Kilimanjaro National Park website for more information.
The Marangu Route on the East Side is the most popular with about 10,800 climbers per year while all other routes combined see less than 1,500 climbers per year.

There are also numerous technical glacier routes including the relatively easy Grade III Heim Glacier that saw the first ski/snowboard descent of Kilimanjaro by Stephen Koch in 1997. Ref: Mountain Zone.com It appears that this was not from the summit, but the top of the Heim Glacier.

There are many good trip reports here on the Trip Report link, but one recent one that I think is certainly accurate and very detailed is from fellow Summitposter Gard Karlsen: Gard Karlsen Kilimanjaro Trip Report

Getting There

Kilimanjaro - Southern...
Southern Icefields from Hans Meyer Point
The most common routes are from Nairobi or Dar es Salaam then land to Arusha and Moshi. Some airlines will fly directly into the smaller Kilimanjaro airport also. If you are on an organized tour group they will usually pick you up at Kilimanjaro International between Arusha and Moshi.

John provided this additional information: The closest international airport to Kilimanjaro is Kilimanjaro International Airport (aka KIA, symbol: JRO). The 7 km airport access road connects to the town of Sanya on the A23 Arusha-Moshi road about halfway between the two towns and half way between Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru. There's no public transportation from the airport so you would have to hitch a ride or walk to the A23 if you didn't want to hire a taxi (or have a tour operator pick you up). A taxi from KIA to Moshi runs about $50 while the reverse runs about $30. A taxi from Marangu to KIA runs about $50. In Tanzania, it seems like KIA is used as the abbreviation for the airport, but it would be easier if everyone just used the airport symbol JRO ;-) : To help the economy guides and porters are required on the mountain, so they will get you along the trials.

Red Tape

The biggest red tape is the requirement to have a guide but it is relatively cheap. Most people also hire on porters. The total package these days will cost about 700 to 1000 dollars for the trek and guides porters etc... everything. You might save a few bucks by waiting til you get to Tanzania to book your trip, but you might have to wait also if the mountain is already booked. Waiting and paying for a hotel could eat up any savings. It is really best to book it in advance through an operator in Tanzania. See the summitpost bulletin board under Africa for the latest information and recommendations on tour operators. This link should provide you with a pricing guide based on your travel schedule and group size. Kilimanjaro Trip Information Generally there is a reduced fee the more members in the group.

When To Climb

January and February are popular months. July thru September are also the dry season and are "high" season. April to mid June tend to be the rainy season. Many people will combine a photo safari before or after the climb, so I would recommend going during the dry season.

Camping

Accomodations on the the most popular "tourist" Marangu "Coca Cola" route were very good... alpine A frames at Mandera the first night, then 8 man huts at Horombo and a large 40 person bunk house at Kibo Hut. We spent an extra acclimatization day at Horombo Hut.. but it wasnt enough to make a difference. Accomodations are more primative on the less popular routes and you will be sleeping in tents. This really isn't a problem and the guides and porters do a good job at making it pretty easy. The porters usually lead out and will pitch and break tents for you on the routes requiring tents if you so desire.

Mountain Conditions

There are many routes.. we did the cheapest tourist route.. the Marangu route. It was an easy 3-4 walk up until the summit night and then it was very vertical and hard to acclimatize. None in our group made the summit... Only 10% make the summit from this route... mainly due to acclimatization and ascent problems on the last night. The idea is to set out about midnight to reach summit at sunrise before weather sets in. More information and detail on the routes is also available on the link above in the red tape section.

Trip reports

Two excellent trip reports have recently been posted on the trip reports pages for Kilimanjaro. I draw your attention to the report by Nelson Chenkin on March 9, 2005 and an extensive trip report which includes information about a recent tragedy on Kilimanjaro posted by alavigne on March 13, 2005. There are also some excellent older reports by John and Gard that should be read by anybody considering this climb.



Here is a link to a 3D daily image of the different routes on Kilimanjaro.
http://www.climbkili.com/3d-routes/7-day-machame/

Giving Back- Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation

I have had the honor and pleasure to meet two of the directors of this non profit organization ( Jenni Lowe and Conrad Anker) and would encourage your support for their activities to help the people who live in remote regions of the world.
The Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation provides direction and financial support to community based humanitarian programs around the world. Currently the foundation is involved in establishing a climbing school for Sherpas as well as the Babu Chirri School Project to build schools in the Khumbu region where Babu was from. The organization is also active in promoting climbing safety and technique in Mongolia. There is very, very little over head in this operation, and a very high percentage of donations go directly to benefit the projects.
Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation
PO Box 6666
Bozeman, MT USA 59715
The Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation

Visiting the Kilimanjaro Crater

Sadly, most people that climb Kilimanjaro never actually make it to the Crater. It is about a 45 minute hike each way from the Crater Camp. I was pretty tired after summiting so decided to rest rather than go to the crater, but now I wish I would have made it to the crater. These initial photographs here were taken by my climbing partner Mike Walden.



People Pics- Post them here

More People Pics- You Earned it!

Hey you made it to the top.. now post it where the world can see it! Summitpost is an absolutely great site.. but each category can only hold 5 pictures.... hence a new category. ;-) Nothing better then lot of pictures of people on the top of one of the 7 summits. Post away! These photos will periodically rotated.

Miscellaneous Info

An addition from eza: Date: Jan 02, 2002 02:02 AM
Especially important for climbers on the Marangu Route: it is quite difficult to acclimatize properly on this route. In order to improve your chances to reach the summit, I'd recommend to visit Maundi Crater from Mandara Hut and the Zebra Rock from Horombo Hut. Both are placed between thirty and sixty minutes walk up the trail, and make for a nice stroll after lunch. ( I agree...even if you make the sumit ridge it still is another 2 hour slog to Uhuru peak. As a result, most people do not summit on the Marangu route. Only 10% actually make the official summit on this route.)

The book "Travels" by Michael Crichton has an amusing story about Kilimanjaro that will warm the hearts on anybody who has climbed Kilimanjaro or is thinking about it. Nchenkin adds that there is also a good story about Kilimanjaro in "Moment's of Doubt" by David Robert.

And lastly, an interesting Kilimanjaro tidbit courtesy of JScoles:

Why was the border to Tanzania moved to include Kilimanjaro?

Basically the border as it is today was moved about 200 miles or so NE at the instance of none other that Queen Victoria herself, after being petitioned by her nephew Kiser Willham, so the mountain would fall into German East Africa (Tanzania) instead of British East Africa (Kenya). The logic behind this was "The British Empire already had the greatest falls and second highest peak so it was only fair that German Empire got the highest peak." Yet there could still be concern if this is the truth.. or and urban legend... see additions posted here: Kilimanjaro Truth or Urban Legend?
I will be glad to respond to any emails for those considering this route.

Note: There are more comments on this truth/legend debate in the "view more" section of this heading.

External Links

Additions and Corrections

Be sure to see the Additions and Corrections Section on this page- located in the upper left of the page. There is a lot of good information from history of Kilimanjaro to money saving tips. I have elected to keep it all together in that one section rather than make this main page any longer with information that might not be of interest to all.

Additions and Corrections

[ Post an Addition or Correction ]
Viewing: 1-19 of 19    
ben jamminUntitled Comment

ben jammin

Hasn't voted

Mount Kenya's first ascent was done by two Brits: Eric Shipton and Percy Wyn Harris on January 3, 1929





I don't believe that this is correct.





The first ascent of Mount Kenya's highest summit, Batian (5199m), was by Halford MacKinder, C. Ollier, and J. Brocherel in 1899.





Shipton and Wyn Harris made the second ascent of Mount Kenya to Batian. They did, however, in the process make the first ascent of Nelion (the lower of the twin summits at 5188m) by what is now the Normal Route on the SW face.





The Mount Kenya page now includes a summary of the mountain's climbing history.





Posted Feb 19, 2004 12:19 pm
kilimanjaro1Untitled Comment

kilimanjaro1

Hasn't voted

That is interesting. It seems like still another opinion... do you have a source to document?
Posted Dec 3, 2004 3:19 pm
NelsonUntitled Comment

Nelson

Voted 10/10

In my pre-trip reading I am currently into Kilimanjaro by John Reader. (Elm Tree Books, 1982). He devotes pages 22-26 to this subject. I will give a very brief synopsis:





1884 - Harry Johnston, a 26-year old British explorer makes an agreement with Chagga chief Mandara to acquire absolute rights to 15 square km of forest near Taveta, north of the mountain.





1885 - Dr. Carl Juhkle, a member of the GDK, a German colonization society concludes 10 treaties with the Sultan of Zanzibar placing the territory around Kilimanjaro under German "protection".





1886 - In the complex web of 19th century geo-politics Britain, Germany, and France step towards war over this, but a treaty is reached. Each power is granted the rights to a port: Mombassa to the Brits, Dar es Salaam to the Germans, with the French consolidating positions in Madagascar. The Sultan kept control of Zanzibar and not much else. When negotiators worked out the border between Kenya and Tanzania, the 1884 and '85 Johnston and Juhkle agreements were held to be binding. Thus Taveta is in Kenya today, and the border near Kilimanjaro has a kink.





Reader concludes with:


There is a story that the boundary is kinked because Queen Victoria gave Kilimanjaro to her grandson (the future Wilhelm II) as a birthday present when the Kaiser complained that she had two snowy mountains ... while he had none. The gift, the story goes, caused some realignment of the boundary. This hoary old legend, which must have come from some humorist's pen, is often presented as solemn, unquestioned fact; but there is no truth in it.





John Reader is a writer and photojournalist who has spent decades living and working in Africa. I'd consider his an authoritative voice on the matter.
Posted Dec 7, 2004 12:53 am
kilimanjaro1Untitled Comment

kilimanjaro1

Hasn't voted

Good insight Nelson...thanks! I am going back to Kili in February to try a different route this time ( Machame) with my son in law and another friend. Here's wishing you success in your climb and hoping we all make it... or at least don't get too much altitude sickness!
Posted Dec 7, 2004 9:03 pm
kilimanjaro1Untitled Comment

kilimanjaro1

Hasn't voted

Good info. I agree with you only one guide is required. Many people like to do the minimum, annd that would be it. However, I think the majority of people would prefer to go with the extra expense and get the porters. All a matter of preference and budget. Thanks!
Posted Dec 22, 2004 3:11 pm
kilimanjaro1Untitled Comment

kilimanjaro1

Hasn't voted

Yes, I could not agree with you more. It seems the Western press tells of Westerners who where killed, but never mention the tragedies with the local guides and porters. As a result I don't know what really happened to any porters or guides. It seems that their fate is often hushed up because it doesn't rate ink in the West or because the local tour companies want to play down any tragedies. Regardless, I have expressed my sympathies to porters and asked that Westerners take care of them when climbing on a thread on the bulletin boards under Africa. They do indeed risk their lives for modest compensation by Western standards and they deserve all the respect possible. I certainly express condolences for any porters or guides who may have been killed or injured and I express my deepest sympathies to their families.
Posted Feb 10, 2006 9:16 pm
JohnUntitled Comment

John

Hasn't voted

>Why was the border to Tanzania moved to include


>Kilimanjaro?


>


>Basically the border as it is today was moved about


>200 miles or so NE at the instance of none other that


>Queen Victoria herself, after being petitioned by her


>nephew Kiser Willham, so the mountain would fall


>into German East Africa (Tanzania) instead of British


>East Africa (Kenya). The logic behind this was "The


>British Empire already had the greatest falls and


>second highest peak so it was only fair that German


>Empire got the highest peak."





According to Lonely Planet: Trekking in East Africa (2nd ed., page 116), this story is a myth and there's no evidence to support this ... or is there?





It is worth noting that much of the early climbing activity around Kili was done by Germans. The first ascent of Kilimanjaro was done by Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller on October 5,1889. They planted a German flag on the summit and named the tallest point Kaiser Wilhelm Spitze (now known as Uhuru Peak). On June 29, 1912 the first ascent of Mawenzi was done by another pair of German climbers: Fritz Klute and Edward Oehler. The highest peak on Mawenzi is still known as Hans Meyer Peak. Mount Kenya's first ascent was done by two Brits: Eric Shipton and Percy Wyn Harris on January 3, 1929. Read more about this in "Chapter 1: History" of Kilimanjaro & Mount Kenya : A Climbing and Trekking Guide by Cameron M. Burns.
Posted Jan 26, 2002 12:04 am
ben jamminUntitled Comment

ben jammin

Hasn't voted

Mount Kenya's first ascent was done by two Brits: Eric Shipton and Percy Wyn Harris on January 3, 1929





I don't believe that this is correct.





The first ascent of Mount Kenya's highest summit, Batian (5199m), was by Halford MacKinder, C. Ollier, and J. Brocherel in 1899.





Shipton and Wyn Harris made the second ascent of Mount Kenya to Batian. They did, however, in the process make the first ascent of Nelion (the lower of the twin summits at 5188m) by what is now the Normal Route on the SW face.





The Mount Kenya page now includes a summary of the mountain's climbing history.





Posted Feb 19, 2004 12:19 pm
HeyItsBenUntitled Comment

HeyItsBen

Hasn't voted

The real reason that the kink in the Tanzania/Kenya border exists is because of Mombassa and a deal struck between Germany and Britain, not Kilimanjaro.


The kink in the border was placed so that Mombassa would fall into British territory. The British needed Mombassa as a port, and the Germans already had Dar.
Posted Dec 3, 2004 1:29 am
kilimanjaro1Untitled Comment

kilimanjaro1

Hasn't voted

That is interesting. It seems like still another opinion... do you have a source to document?
Posted Dec 3, 2004 3:19 pm
NelsonUntitled Comment

Nelson

Voted 10/10

In my pre-trip reading I am currently into Kilimanjaro by John Reader. (Elm Tree Books, 1982). He devotes pages 22-26 to this subject. I will give a very brief synopsis:





1884 - Harry Johnston, a 26-year old British explorer makes an agreement with Chagga chief Mandara to acquire absolute rights to 15 square km of forest near Taveta, north of the mountain.





1885 - Dr. Carl Juhkle, a member of the GDK, a German colonization society concludes 10 treaties with the Sultan of Zanzibar placing the territory around Kilimanjaro under German "protection".





1886 - In the complex web of 19th century geo-politics Britain, Germany, and France step towards war over this, but a treaty is reached. Each power is granted the rights to a port: Mombassa to the Brits, Dar es Salaam to the Germans, with the French consolidating positions in Madagascar. The Sultan kept control of Zanzibar and not much else. When negotiators worked out the border between Kenya and Tanzania, the 1884 and '85 Johnston and Juhkle agreements were held to be binding. Thus Taveta is in Kenya today, and the border near Kilimanjaro has a kink.





Reader concludes with:


There is a story that the boundary is kinked because Queen Victoria gave Kilimanjaro to her grandson (the future Wilhelm II) as a birthday present when the Kaiser complained that she had two snowy mountains ... while he had none. The gift, the story goes, caused some realignment of the boundary. This hoary old legend, which must have come from some humorist's pen, is often presented as solemn, unquestioned fact; but there is no truth in it.





John Reader is a writer and photojournalist who has spent decades living and working in Africa. I'd consider his an authoritative voice on the matter.
Posted Dec 7, 2004 12:53 am
kilimanjaro1Untitled Comment

kilimanjaro1

Hasn't voted

Good insight Nelson...thanks! I am going back to Kili in February to try a different route this time ( Machame) with my son in law and another friend. Here's wishing you success in your climb and hoping we all make it... or at least don't get too much altitude sickness!
Posted Dec 7, 2004 9:03 pm
CoraxUntitled Comment

Corax

Hasn't voted

Basically all agents in Moshi, Arusha and in particular overseas tries to convince you that there are no ways around having a guides (sometimes even assistent guides), porters and cooks and that all this is governmental rules.


This is not true!


The only requirement which is supported by the government of Tanzania is one guide!


There are some agencies that are straight shooters and inform you about this.


The best we found is Eagle Adventure in Moshi.


Contact info:


Abby M. Sawaya.


P.O. Box 449


Marangu, Kilimanjaro


Office in Moshi:


THB Bldg


Room # 204 2'nd floor.


Boma Rd. (Opp. clock tower, Moshi Town).


E-mail: kilimanjaro_sawaya_eagle@yahoo.com





The process of arranging the deal was very straight to the point. Mr. Sawaya told us excactly what the fees for the park were and what his commission was.


The tip for the guide was included in the price and was clearly stated in the contract.


The total sum for three persons for four days was $1080, which brought the total cost down to $360/person, which I found pretty good.


He asked us what type of a guide we wanted and when we told him we wanted a strong and fast person to accompany us, he recommended a man called Hamadin. It was the right choice.


Hamadin had to put up with a break-neck speed and an unorthodox approach. We started from Kibo Hut at 06:15 in the morning and pushed on quickly to the summit which was reached in less than three hours. Most guides we saw on the summit day was not up to this type of approach.


Highly recommended!





Da Costa Hotel is conveniently located some hundred meters from Eagle Adventures' office, where clean basic doubles goes for $6. A good restaurant upstairs.


The hotel next door, Kidoroko is more expensive ($15) and a good choice if you want a little bit more luxury, a funky restaurant and internet services etc.
Posted Dec 18, 2004 10:26 am
kilimanjaro1Untitled Comment

kilimanjaro1

Hasn't voted

Good info. I agree with you only one guide is required. Many people like to do the minimum, annd that would be it. However, I think the majority of people would prefer to go with the extra expense and get the porters. All a matter of preference and budget. Thanks!
Posted Dec 22, 2004 3:11 pm
DigglerUntitled Comment

Diggler

Hasn't voted

It would be appropriate to acknowledge the deaths/injuries (seems like the accounts vary) of the porters involved here as well. They do the greatest amount of work on the mountain, & consistently exert themselves & risk their safety in this comparatively (as far as E African wages go) well-paid yet dangerous livelihood.
Posted Feb 9, 2006 5:32 pm
kilimanjaro1Untitled Comment

kilimanjaro1

Hasn't voted

Yes, I could not agree with you more. It seems the Western press tells of Westerners who where killed, but never mention the tragedies with the local guides and porters. As a result I don't know what really happened to any porters or guides. It seems that their fate is often hushed up because it doesn't rate ink in the West or because the local tour companies want to play down any tragedies. Regardless, I have expressed my sympathies to porters and asked that Westerners take care of them when climbing on a thread on the bulletin boards under Africa. They do indeed risk their lives for modest compensation by Western standards and they deserve all the respect possible. I certainly express condolences for any porters or guides who may have been killed or injured and I express my deepest sympathies to their families.
Posted Feb 10, 2006 9:16 pm
rlawsonAvoid the middleman to save a few bucks

rlawson

Hasn't voted

We booked our trip through 7summits.com, which we found by following the link on theSummitPost Kilimanjaro page (http://www.kilimanjaro-trips.com/). The service was excellent all around, and we have no complaints. But it turns out that 7summits.com is simply a booking agent for Zara Tanzanian Adventures, the largest such company in the area. If you want to save yourself the middleman fee (about $200 per person), I suggest going directly to Zara here: http://www.zaratravel.com/.
Posted Mar 13, 2007 5:05 pm
hans.schenkA little history...

hans.schenk

Voted 10/10

Thanks for your page! I agree a bit of history is in order. Here is just a little of what I understand of the original sighting...



Johann Ludwig Krapf was a member of the Church Missionary Society (Anglican Church) who established a mission station at Rabai in 1846 along with Johannes Rebmann. They decided to explore the interior to locate more tribes that might be receptive to the Gospel. Frequently, they would split up in order to be more efficient in their explorations, and it was Johannes Rebmann who first sighted Kilimanjaro on 11 May 1848. Rebmann's report of Mount Kilimanjaro was published in the Church Missionary Intelligencer and was quickly looked upon with scorn by a geographer named W.D. Cooley. W.D. Cooley and other geographers didn't think that snow could exist on a mountain on the equator, so they thought that Rebmann had hallucinated or misintepreted what he saw. In 1862 Baron Karl Von Der Decken and R. Thornton were on their second attempt of the mountain when it snowed during the night, thus ending the debate.



Sources:



Bengt Sundkler and Christopher Steed, A History of the Church in Africa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 517.



Stock, Eugene. The History of the Church Missionary Society: Its Environment, Its Men, and Its Work, 3 vols. London: CMS, 1899.



Pirouet, M. Louise. “The Legacy of Johann Ludwig Krapf.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 23 no 2 (April 1999): 69-74.



Burns, Cameron M. Kilimanjaro and East Africa: A Climbing and Trekking Guide. (Seattle: The Mountaineers Books, 1998), 240pp.

Posted Jun 17, 2008 10:59 am
kingofbanffFirst Snowboard Descent was in 1988

Hasn't voted

In 1988, Barry Lewis and I hiked Kilimanjaro and I snowboarded down the snowcap. There are a bunch of pics in the link and if you skip to the end of the pics you will see the articles in various ski/board magazines.



http://picasaweb.google.com/jericocoloco/KilimanjaroFirstDescent1988#



Ace
Posted Aug 27, 2010 7:51 pm

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