How Hard is Kilimanjaro to Climb?

How Hard is Kilimanjaro to Climb? Never an easy question to answer. Some people who are fit, strong and used to hiking and multi-day trekking adventures might find Kilimanjaro an easier challenge if they have 8 days for acclimatization. While others who are not used to walking up and down hills with a pack back, used to exercising 4 to 6 times a week will struggle or fail to succeed on Kilimanjaro.

Kilimanjaro’s Number 1 Guide

Around 60% of people who attempt to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro make it. We have developed our own itinerary for optimal safety and success, using Kosovo Camp 16,000 feet as our High Camp.  We also have Kilimanjaro’s Number 1 Guide working full time for Ian Taylor Trekking.

Talk to the Experts

If you decide to climb Kilimanjaro you need to think about a range of different things in place to be successful. I have been lucky enough to climb Mount Everest to the top and Kilimanjaro 40+ times to date. I have extensive experience climbing Kilimanjaro and happy to chat with you directly.

How hard will it be to climb Kilimanjaro in Tanzania

How Many Days Should it Take?

From my 20 years experience on Kilimanjaro I can only recommend 8 days for optimum acclimatization. Respect altitude and the staff who are helping you have a summit attempt. More days on the mountains offers great safety and success.

How Far do I Hike on the 8 Day Trip?

Here are the daily distances on our unique Lemosho route itinerary. Always remember the distances don’t mean much, it all about the amount of hours you will be hiking each day along with the elevation gains you will be hiking up and down the mountain.

How Far do I Hike on the 7 Day Trip?

Here are the daily distances on our 7 day Machame route itinerary. If you have been to high altitude a number of times and faired well, you could consider the 7 day Machame route. Our only concern with this route is the 3 day jump up to 4,620m/ 15,157 feet, which is is quick.

How Much Ascent do I have to Hike up?

You need to be ready for 4,900m/ 16,076 feet of ascent. More importantly some days have more ascent that others, so it is important to be physically ready for everything Kilimanjaro will through at you.

How Much Descent to I have to Hike?

More importantly you need to be training correctly for the downhill on Kilimanjaro. I feel too many people are concentrating on the uphill training. Training for the downhill is extremely important on Kilimanjaro. The total descent will be 5,250m/ 17,224 feet.

What sort of training should I be doing?

After climbing Kilimanjaro 40+ times I have to say so many people are not training correctly. Here is our Training advice for climbing Kilimanjaro.  After poor acclimatization, lack of physical preparation is the biggest cause of people reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro. Don’t show up under prepared.

What Gear to I Need?

If you sign up for one of our trips we send you a full itemized kit list so there is no misunderstanding of what you need to bring with you to be safe, comfortable and successful. You can watch our Kilimanjaro packing videos here. If you need any advice on the right equipment we are available 5 days a week in support of your trip.

Is Kilimanjaro Steep?

In places yes. The summit night on Kilimanjaro from Kosovo Camp 16,000 feet to Stella Point 18,885 feet is steep up and down. You need to be physically prepared for this challenging terrain. Read more. The Barranco wall is steep and certain sections of the trail are 30 degree angle terrain.  Watch all 8 days climbing up and down Kilimanjaro

Best Months to Climb Kilimanjaro?

In my opinion January, February, June, July, August, September, October and December are all good months for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. The weather can vary from year to year but these are the best months as you plan your adventure. Read more.

How Much Should I be Training Per Week?

This is a loaded question and will vary depending and where you are starting from. Personally I train 6 days a week building up to a Kilimanjaro climb, planning out my training with a few things in mind. Heart rate training Zones, load carrying, strength, flexibility and building endurance through hours of targeted heart rate training. I normally training 8 to 12 hours per week in the lead up to a Kilimanjaro trip. I am happy to chat more about the training needed for Kilimanjaro.

What Height Is the Lemosho Gate?

We leave the Sheraton hotel in Arusha and drive three or four hours to the Lemosho gate at 2,300m/ 7,546 feet. We serve a hot lunch and hike 3 hours from the Lemosho gate to Big Tree Camp at 2,800m/ 9,186 feet.

How High is Kilimanjaro?

Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain mountain on the continent of Africa. Mount Kilimanjaro is also the highest free standing mountain in the world, it stands at 5,895m/ 19,341 feet tall.

What are the Best Months to Climb Kilimanjaro

I have climbed Kilimanjaro in a wide range of months and 37+ times to date and on all routes.  I recommend climbing in January, February, June, July, August, September and October as the better months to climb the mountain. READ MORE.

Different people will have different opinions on how hard it is to climb Kilimanjaro. My opinion is based off 20 years of mountaineering all over the world. This experience has led me to two really important determinations.

1). The more acclimatization or days on the mountain, the better.

2). You need to have specific strength, conditioning and endurance needed in the body to manage the serious up hill and down hill in a low oxygen environment.

How hard will it be to climb Kilimanjaro

Climbing Kilimanjaro is all About the Summit Night

Yes, it is a very special moment on the summit of Kilimanjaro and what an achievement. Read our approach to summit night on Kilimanjaro. Most people start their summit night from Barafu Camp. This is a 1,245m/ 4,084ft of ascent at high into extreme altitude above 5,500m/ 18,000ft. It can take up to 7 hours to reach the summit.

We like to set up camp in Kosovo Camp. Kosovo camp is 1 hour above Barafu camp. Moving higher to Kosovo Camp 4,900m/ 16,076 feet gives you better acclimatization and you will be in a better position for your summit attempt.  From Kosovo camp you have 995m/ 3,264 feet to the summit of Kilimanjaro. From Kosovo Camp it takes 5 hours to reach Stella point on the crater rim and another hour to the summit. After enjoying the summit you have to return all the way back to Mweka Camp on a long descent.

The Long Journey Down Mount Kilimanjaro

From the summit is takes about 2 and a half hours to reach Kosovo Camp or 3 hours to return back to Barafu.  We usually get to rest for 2 hours have brunch and start walking down hill. From the summit down the mountain to Mweka camp is 2,795m/ 9,170 feet in one day from the summit to Mweka camp. This is an additional 4/5 hours of hiking down hill on steep and challenging terrain.

You will be on your feet for 12 to 14 hours with no sleep. This is hard no matter how fit you are. So specific physical training with a backpack on hills, stair master with weight is so important for your safety, safety of our staff and other team members. Kilimanjaro needs to be treated with respect. Here is our TRAINING ADVICE.

Multi-Day Exercise is Really Important

The days leading up to the summit day are hard because your body is being over worked trying to adapt to the lower levels of oxygen. Do you walk 5, 6, 7, 8 hours on a multi-day basis at home? Well if you do you should be in good shape. Daily training is also really important to solidify

Make Sure you Carry a Weighted Pack in Your Training

Most of us sit on a computer 5, 6, 7, 8 hours a day and don’t have the physical conditioning in our legs, back, calf’s, quads. You have to gain this physical strength and endurance training in order to limit fatigue, enable fast recovery on the mountain. So for most people at work all day and do not have access to hills and mountains, this means you need to training 4/5 times a week. We highly recommend using the stair master (rotating stairs) with a weighted backpack building from 6kg/ 12lbs to 12kg/ 25lbs and be fit enough to endure this challenging climb.

How hard will it be to climb Kilimanjaro

Work on Your Weakness

There is no one size fits all when it comes to training. Not everyone has hills to train on. You need to talk to us or professional who know the mountain, terrain and what it takes to enjoy this amazing experience. You may need to consider an easier trip at lower altitude to understand the challenges of walking at high and extreme altitude.

How Hard Will it be to Climb Kilimanjaro?

It can be as hard or easy, this depends on you and your level of commitment to your training and preparation. We hope this information was useful, if you would like to ask specific questions why not CONTACT US today and we can help. We have the team, the success rates and set up to give you the best possible chance at successfully making it up and down Kilimanjaro.

Mweka Camp on Kilimanjaro

Join the Experts

We have developed the best service on Kilimanjaro only offering quality run trips for the best experience possible. Just read some REVIEWS from our what people say about our trips. We have the same team on Kilimanjaro for over a decade now. Our Head Guide was voted Kilimanjaro Guide of the year in 2019. READ MORE and we can help you reach the summit of Kilimanjaro on our 8 day Lemosho Route trips.

Kilimanjaro Mountain Guide of the Year 2019
What challenges will I face climbing Kilimanjaro
Training for Kilimanjaro: The best information and preparation