How Many Climb Kilimanjaro each Year?
Kilimanjaro is among the world’s most iconic mountains and classic climbs, drawing adventurers and dreamers of all levels. It is popularly believed that the number of climbers to the summit of Kilimanjaro is quickly increasing, but just how many people climb Kilimanjaro each year?
According to the Kilimanjaro National Park and Preservation Authority, approximately 40,000 people attempt to climb to the summit of the world’s tallest freestanding mountain annually. Of those, only 25 percent actually reach the summit, and many don’t make it beyond 10,000 feet. The rest of the climbers turn back due to altitude sickness, weather conditions, and other factors.
Lars-Eric Lindblad, an author, travel innovator and world renowned explorer, is credited with being the first person to lead a “registered” group up Kilimanjaro in 1962. Lindblad talks of his experience summiting the mountain when he led his group of 22 hikers up the mountain in that year. He recalls the view from the summit, saying, “It was really a remarkable experience. I remember looking over an endless expanse of ridges and plains extending all the way to the distant plain of the Kenyan Masai.”
Still today, approximately 33,000 visitors a year come to see the wonders of the Kilimanjaro National Park, home to Africa’s highest peak and one of the world’s seven summits, to see its flora and fauna, and of course attempt to reach its summit.
Climbing Kilimanjaro has always been, and will always be a challenge. The mountain is so tall that it creates its own unique weather conditions and climbers often find themselves surrounded in misty clouds and heavy snow. The temperature around the summit of Kibo, the highest peak of Kilimanjaro, is often colder than minus 20 degrees Celsius, making hypothermia a real threat.
The Kilimanjaro ascent is generally regarded as a nontechnical climb but the air pressure at the summit is less than half of what it is at sea level, which sometimes makes it difficult even for the most seasoned climbers to complete the journey to the summit of Kilimanjaro.
Due to the altitude and the amount of physical activity, proper hydration and nutrition is key to success both when travelling to the summit and when returning from it. Staying well hydrated and rested throughout the climb can significantly reduce the risk of altitude sickness, exhaustion and other issues.
It is also beneficial to read up on climbing gear, skills, and techniques before attempting the climb in order to be as prepared as possible for any situation that may arise. Using the appropriate gear and gathering knowledge about the mountain will no doubt maximize the chance of reaching the summit.
Most of the climbing on Kilimanjaro happens during the dry season between late December and early March, and during the late June to October period. While the mountain is climbable throughout the year, due to the snowfall during the peak winter months, it can be much more difficult to climb during this period.
Maximizing the Chance of Reaching the Summit
It is essential to build in rest days on any Kilimanjaro ascent. The most successful summit attempts normally take seven or eight days to complete, allowing a bit of extra time to acclimatise. For this reason, taking a long route up Kilimanjaro, such as the standard Marangu, Lemosho or Machame is generally considered to be more successful for those with less experience.
It is also important to be honest about your abilities and experience level with the guides. This will help them to select the appropriate route for you and ensure that you are as prepared as possible.
The professional guide companies on Kilimanjaro have access to the highest quality gear, which is essential for setting up a safe and enjoyable climb, especially in unpredictable and icy conditions around the summit.
The guides know the routes well and are trained for emergency situations and wilderness first-aid. In addition, the guides will have experience dealing with Everests of all types and can help out with advice and assistance in times of difficulty.
The Physical Requirements for Climbing Kilimanjaro
Climbing Kilimanjaro is a physical challenge, however it is possible to complete the climb without mountaineering or ice climbing experience.
In order to have a successful summit attempt, it is essential to have a good level of fitness and stamina. Achieving a high level of fitness before the climb will help in adapting to the altitude at a faster rate.
The primary physical challenge of Kilimanjaro is altitude sickness. This is a real and serious health concern, and it is important to remain vigilant and aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness.
The first signs can range from mild headaches, light nausea and loss of appetite, to confusion or dizziness. In severe cases, high altitude pulmonary edemas and high altitude cerebral edemas can occur and can be deadly.
In order to combat altitude sickness, climbers should take the recommended medication and should be aware that the only guaranteed way to prevent further symptoms is the descent.
Respecting the Copyrights to Kilimanjaro
The Kilimanjaro National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site, and climbing Kilimanjaro requires climbers to pay royalties to the institution and the various other stakeholders involved in running the park.
This money is used to support the local communities, as well as to fund conservation efforts in the park and the surrounding areas. Therefore, it is essential for climbers to remember to pay the royalties in order to support the communities.
Climbers should also be aware of the other regulations related to climbing Kilimanjaro, such as avoiding littering and eschewing behaviour that may cause harm to the environment.
The Benefits of Climbing Kilimanjaro
Climbing Kilimanjaro is much more than just conquering a mountain. It is a journey of self-discovery and a way to reconnect with nature.
The summit of Kilimanjaro offers expansive views of endless African savannahs, snow-capped mountains and the majestic Kilimanjaro itself. The journey to the summit is just as rewarding as the summit itself and provides an opportunity to see the range of ecosystems making up the park.
The climb also builds confidence and brings mountaineers closer to nature. There is something deep and meaningful about experiencing nature in its raw form and to embody the challenge that nature can throw at us.
The Health Benefits of Climbing Kilimanjaro
The physical challenge of Kilimanjaro can have a positive effect on both physical and mental health.
The climb is an active way of exploring Kilimanjaro and the surrounding natural environment, which brings with it a sense of accomplishment and a sense of wellbeing. Physically, Kilimanjaro offers a rigorous workout, which will get your heart rate elevated and increase your alertness.
It will also give your body an aerobic workout by forcing it to adjust to different altitudes. This has been linked to an increase in the production of red blood cells, and an increase in the oxygen uptake rate.
The mountain also provides a mental challenge, as well as a great opportunity to reconnect with nature. The experience of being immersed in nature has been seen to reduce stress, improve mood and increase focus.
The Connection With the Local Communities
The Kilimanjaro National Park is home to several local communities, who rely on the park’s services and its resources for their livelihoods.
Climbing Kilimanjaro provides climbers with an opportunity to get to know the local community and its culture. Climbers are encouraged to interact with the local community and ask questions about their lives and their experiences in the park.
Climbers should also look out for local businesses and find out more about the goods and services they provide. This can be a great way to experience the culture and to support the local economy.
Kilimanjaro remains one of the world’s most iconic mountains, providing climbers with an opportunity to challenge themselves, meet the local communities, discover the beauty of the mountain, and build lasting memories.
The climb is a physical and mental challenge and as such, it is essential to be in the best shape possible before attempting the climb. It is also important to take the necessary precautions against altitude sickness and to respect the regulations imposed by the park authorities.
Despite its challenges, Kilimanjaro offers climbers the chance to explore its wonders and the opportunity to bond with nature. As the numbers of climbers to the summit continue to increase, the mountain will remain a beacon of hope and a testimony to what can be achieved through determination and preparation.