ARTICLE ON CLIMBING KILIMANJARO

Walking on the Roof of Africa

Standing at 5,895m above sea level, Mt. Kilimanjaro is the highest free standing mountain in the World and the highest point on the African continent.  The stunning mountain of Kilimanjaro stands in splendid isolation above the surrounding plains, with its icy peak looming over the Savannah.  This unique environment makes Kilimanjaro one of the most highly sought after peaks in the world and one of the greatest adventure challenges you can undertake. If climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is on your to do list, than here is your chance!  Join the Ian Taylor Trekking crew, let by Everest Summiteer, Ian Taylor, to experience this trip of a lifetime! Check out our up coming trips

Kilimanjaro is located in the East African country of Tanzania and sits in the Kilimanjaro National Park near the small town of Moshi.  It is comprised of three distinct volcanic cones:  Kibo 5,895m, Mawenzi 5,149m, and Shira 3,962m. Uhuru Peak is the highest point of the three cones and is located on Kibo’s crater rim.  Two of its three peaks, Mawenzi and Shira, are extinct, while Kibo, its highest peak, is dormant and could erupt again, however the last major eruption has been dated to between 150,000 to 200,000 years ago! 

Mount Kilimanjaro presents extraordinary extremes of weather and climate. Its location means that at its base you will experience equatorial climate but its high altitude creates Arctic conditions at the summit.  Unique to Kilimanjaro, from the base to the summit of its peak, you will pass through five main climatic zones.  You will start in the the Lower Slopes, which rises to around 1,800m, and consists of bush land and farmland. Here, the temperature is up to around 30°C and this region receives variable volumes of rainfall.  Next, you will enter the rain forest, which reaches about 2,800m, features the highest
levels of rainfall. The climate is humid here and you are shielded somewhat from the sun’s full glare by widespread cloud cover.  The next zone is the Moorland, which takes
you up to around 4,000m, is drier and cooler than the rain forest area.  Though generally cooler, the lack of cloud cover means that the sun’s radiation is harsh here, and its daytime heat contrasts with cold nights. 

After the Moorland, you enter the Alpine Forest.  This barren band, rising to 5,000m, is drier still. Typically, day times are sunny and warm, while at nights, temperatures can now dip below freezing.  Finally, you will enter the Arctic zone.  With its harsh icy landscape, this band occupies the top of Kilimanjaro, up to over 5,800m above sea level. Temperatures drop well below freezing, although the thin atmosphere makes the sun’s rays potent, so protection is essential. The air temperature may fall as low as -20°C, although the wind-chill factor can make it feel colder still.

One of the main factors you need to consider when deciding to climb Kilimanjaro is what route you will take to give you the best possible chance at successfully and safely reaching the summit.  Less than 50% of people make the summit because they don’t take enough time to acclimatize. Excellent conditioning and acclimatization are key to success with the lower levels of oxygen at these high altitudes, one of the major factors on the mountain is making sure that you have an optimal acclimatization plan up the mountain.  It is for this reason that we only offer seven or eight day trips up the mountain, which we have found give you the best possible chance at summiting as well as increases your overall enjoyment of the journey.  We currently have a 98% success rate on our eight day trips and 96% on our seven day itinerary.  There are seven official routes up the mountain, however, because of the poor acclimatization schedules on some of the routes, we only offer three of these.  We offer the Lemosho route, the Machame, and the Rongai routes up Kilimanjaro. 

Every route we offer up the mountain has camping accommodation which is carried up the mountain by porters and reassembled daily by our staff.  The local porters are an essential part of the journey on Kilimanjaro as without their assistance, it would be a far more difficult process.  They porter all necessary camping gear, chairs, tables, cooking equipment, food, medicine and fifteen kilograms of your personal equipment from the base of the mountain to the high camp and back down.  You will see these porters along the trail rushing in front of you, making sure they arrive in the camp well before you to set up the camp site and the chef will begin preparing the daily meals so that you will have a fresh, warm meal when you arrive to camp. 

The summit night on Kilimanjaro proves to be the most difficult day on the mountain, with typically an 8 hour ascent and 3 hour return to the high camp to rest and refuel, before descending another 3 hours to a lower camp.  You begin the trek around 12am, walking through the night, guided by the dim light of your head torch, through the dusty trail. Generally, as the sun begins to rise over the African Savannah, you are passing Stella Point on the Crater Rim of Kilimanjaro.  The stunning Glaciers guiding you to the
summit are in full sight and their beauty pushes you the final forty-five minutes to the Uhuru Peak.  This is a trying day for the most experienced, fittest of trekkers, so it is a day to be prepared for, however, the reward of standing on the summit will surely be one of the most memorable moments of your life.  

This spectacular journey up the highest point on the African continent is rivaled by few, its unique perspective of walking above the clouds over the African Savannah makes this trek one of the top in the world.  If you are interested in taking on this trip of a lifetime, or for more information on Mount Kilimanjaro read more BLOGS.

visit www.iantaylortrekking.com,
or email us at info@iantaylortrekking.com.  

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