Mount Kilimanjaro

How Tall Is Kilimanjaro?

Kilimanjaro is a snow-capped volcano located in Tanzania, Africa. This dormant volcano is possibly the tallest in Africa, with a height of 5,895 meters (19,340 feet). A lot of travelers of summiteers have been curious as to how tall Kilimanjaro is, given the fact that it has not been the easiest to climb this mountain. Kilimanjaro is one such peak whose ascent will make just anyone become a part of a legendary expedition.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about how tall Kilimanjaro is and everything important about it! Stay tuned and read till the end to know more.

How tall is Kilimanjaro?

Mount Kilimanjaro, located in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania, is the tallest mountain in the African continent. Kilimanjaro is quite tall at 5,895 meters (19,340 feet). It is renowned all over the world for its height. As it is a dormant volcano, Kilimanjaro is snow-capped as of now.

While much of its snow has been melting because of the global condition, only a few decades ago, this mountain used to be fully covered with glaciers. Hence, there is a possibility of the tall Kilimanjaro decreasing in height due to the changing and unfortunate climatic conditions of Earth.

Is it hard to climb Kilimanjaro?

How Much Does It Cost To Climb Kilimanjaro

Yes, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is no joke, especially if you are a beginner or have only climbed mountains that aren’t as tall. Kilimanjaro has an alarming number of death rates, and almost 50% of the mountain climbers suffered from extreme altitude sickness when they were on their way to ascend Kilimanjaro.

This mountain is full of snow-capped rocky mountains. And another reason why it is hard to climb Kilimanjaro is because of its steepness. The mountain is very steep and might prove to be fatal if you don’t have enough guidance or practice, to begin with. Likewise, the nature of Kilimanjaro is so that even, sometimes, the best mountaineers can suffer on their way to the summit.

Therefore, if you are looking to climb Kilimanjaro, you have to be at least prepared beforehand to go up the peak.

The failure rate of summiting Kilimanjaro is 45%-65% which is quite high. Many climbers have made their attempts to ascend the peak over the years. But they have failed for many reasons. While a lot of people suffer from Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE), many just make mistakes. At the same time, they are on their way to the expedition. People tend to take the shortest route possible to climb the mountain. But as they go higher, it becomes harder for them to get used to the weather and altitude of the mountain resulting in them having to return halfway through.

If you are taking longer routes, your body has the time to habituate itself to the conditions of the mountain. Hence, the success rate of your summit grows. On the other hand, you are likely to fail in summiting Kili if you take the route that takes lesser than a week. When in Kilimanjaro, the longer you take, the better!

Is Kilimanjaro the tallest mountain in the world?

Mountain kilimanjaro campsites

No, Kilimanjaro is not the tallest mountain in the world; it is Mt. Everest. Kili is 5,895 meters tall and Mt. Everest is 8,848 meters tall. But, it sure is a fact that Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. And it is also the tallest mountain in all of Africa. Henceforth, it would not be wrong to say that Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the tallest mountains in the world.

Is K2 higher than Kilimanjaro?

Female mountaineers who climbed K2 were believed to be cursed

Yes, K2 is higher or taller than Kilimanjaro. K2 stands tall at 8,611 meters (28,251 feet), making it the second tallest mountain in the world, whereas Kilimanjaro stands at 5,895 meters (19,340 feet). Hence Mount Everest is the only mountain that is taller than K2.

Why is Kilimanjaro called the tallest free-standing mountain in the world?

Mount Kilimanjaro National Park

Kilimanjaro is one of the seven summits in the world. There is barely anyone in the world who does not know or at least has heard about Kilimanjaro. Kili is the tallest mountain in Africa and is located in Tanzania. Similarly, it has gained the title of the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano, but two volcanic cones have gone extinct. The mountain has three volcanic cones, Kibo, Shira, and Mawenzi, with heights of 19,340’/5,895m, 16,893’/5,149m, and 13,000’/3,962m, respectively.

Among the three, Kibo is the tallest and still the only one that has not gone extinct. When you are around Kilimanjaro, you are likely to smell the gas coming from the volcanic cone. However, the likelihood of Kilimanjaro exploding is quite less, and mountaineers go for the expedition of this peak without much in mind.

Furthermore, if you take the Rongai or the North Circuit route to Kilimanjaro, you can get a great view of Mawenzi. Mawenzi is the third highest peak in Africa after Kibo and Mount Kenya. Unfortunately for Shira, it collapsed long ago and is no longer a peak. It used to stand tall at 16000 meters before it collapsed. The western side of the mountain, however, is the home to Shira, which is now a plateau. Trekkers trek around this area when they take either of the three Machame, Lemosho, and Shira routes.

First Ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro

Hans Meyer's 1889 caravan on its way to Kilimanjaro (Meyer 1891 Public domain)
Hans Meyer’s 1889 caravan on its way to Kilimanjaro (Meyer 1891 Public domain)

The first ascent to Mount Kilimanjaro was attained by German geologist Hans Meyer, an Austrian climber Ludwig Purtscheller along with a local guide Yohani Kinyala Lauwo in 1889. However, Meyer and Lauwo became the first ones to get to the peak earlier on. Hans had made his attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro back in 1887 before he succeeded years later. His first attempt was backed by unfavorable weather conditions and excessive icefalls, which were life-threatening.

The German made his second attempt the next year, in 1888. Sadly, he failed this year as well, as he was arrested by the locals who were against the German traders. The geologist managed to free himself with some ransom. He did not give up on his dream of summiting the peak and became successful at his third attempt, which was just a year after his second attempt.

Despite 1889 being the first time an ascent was recorded, it is believed that there had been an ascent much earlier which was not recorded at the time. Meyer, along with a team of two local tribes leaders, nine porters, and a cook, reached the peak on the southern rim of the crater. On his first attempt, he failed to go prepared and lacked both guidance and gears. The Marangu route marks Hans Meyer’s amazing ascent and descent back and forth Mount Kilimanjaro.

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