Climbing Kilimanjaro: Who can climb and who can’t

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When it comes to climbing mountains, the first question people have is always: can I do it?

The answer is usually yes, with varying conditions. Yes…if you want to. Yes…if you know how to. Yes…if you’ve got the climbing skills. Yes…if you’re an experienced mountaineer. Yes…if you’re an expert mountaineer. But if Kilimanjaro is the mountain in question, then the answer is a resounding YES! As long as you’ve prepared for it.

Kilimanjaro may be the highest freestanding volcano in the world, but climbing it is absolutely doable if you’ve prepared for it. Obviously, if you’re a couch potato today, you’re going to have an utterly miserable climb if you go tomorrow. But with the proper preparation, anyone can make it to the summit of Kilimanjaro. And we mean anyone! Here’s a list of extraordinary, record-breaking people who have summited Kilimanjaro.

man climbing on mountain with rope
man climbing on mountain with rope
Karl Egloff: Fastest ascent and descent

In 2014 Swiss-Ecuadorian mountain guide Karl Egloff ran from Umbwe Gate to the summit in 4 hours and 56 minutes, and ran back down to Mweka Gate, finishing the entire roundtrip in 6 hours, 42 minutes and 24 seconds.

Simon Mtuy: Fastest unaided ascent and descent

In 2006 Simon Mtuy, a Tanzanian mountain guide, finished the trip in 9 hours 21 minutes. He was unaided, meaning he was carrying his own gear up and down the mountain and without the help of porters.

runner woman sitting down
runner woman sitting down
Kristina Schou Madsen: Fastest ascent and descent by a female

This Danish athlete blazed to the top of Kilimanjaro and back in 6 hours 52 minutes and 54 seconds, beating the previous record holder by only 15 minutes. Her 2018 record-breaking run was simultaneously a fundraising run for Zara Charity, an organization that organizes projects for the Maasai people of Tanzania.

Coaltan Tanner: Youngest person to reach the summit

This record breaking American was only 6 years old when he reached the summit of Kilimanjaro in October 2018! He was completely unaided (not carried at any time) throughout the whole trip, and walked all the way to the top.

Montannah Kenney: Youngest girl to reach the summit

Hailing from Austin, Texas, Montannah was only 7 years old when she summited Africa’s highest peak in March 2018. Her motivation to summit? Her father died in 2013, and she wanted to be closer to him “above the clouds”

mount kilimanjaro adventure abroad
mount kilimanjaro adventure abroad
Kyle Maynard: First quadruple amputee to summit Kilimanjaro without the aid of prosthetics

In January 2012, Kyle Maynard crawled all the way to the summit without the aid of prosthetics. Despite the lack of arms and legs, he managed to crawl the entire 19,340 feet in 10 days.

Dr. Fred Distelhorst: Oldest person to reach the summit

Fred Distelhorst of Colorado, USA, reached the top of Kilimanjaro in July 2017 at the ripe old age of 88! The octogenarian already kept fit, regularly biking and skiing.

We salute these amazing individuals for their skill, perseverance, and sheer determination, leaving us with absolutely no excuse to NOT conquer Kilimanjaro!

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