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Mt. Kilimanjaro

Overview.

Mount Kilimanjaro has three volcanic cones, “Kibo”, “Mawenzi”, and “Shira”, is a dormant volcano in Tanzania. It is the highest mountain in Africa, about 4,900m from its base, and 5,895 metres above sea level. The first people known to have reached the summit of the mountain were Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller in 1889. The mountain is part of the Kilimanjaro National Park and is a major climbing destination.

There are seven official trekking routes by which to ascend and descend Kilimanjaro: Lemosho, Machame, Marangu, Mweka, Rongai, Shira, and Umbwe. Of all the routes, Machame is widely proclaimed as the most scenic, albeit steeper, route. This was true until the opening of Lemosho and Northern Circuit routes, which are equally scenic if not more. The Machame route can be done in six or seven days, Lemosho can be done in six to eight days, and the Northern Circuit routes can be done in seven or more days. The Rongai is the easiest and least scenic of all camping routes. The Marangu is also relatively easy, but this route tends to be very busy, the ascent and descent routes are the same, and accommodation is in shared huts with all other climbers.

The origin of the name “Kilimanjaro” is not precisely known, but a number of theories exist. European explorers had adopted the name by 1860 and reported that “Kilimanjaro” was the mountain’s Kiswahili name. The 1907 edition of The Nuttall Encyclopædia also records the name of the mountain as “Kilima-Njaro”.

Johann Ludwig Krapf wrote in 1860 that Swahilis along the coast called the mountain “Kilimanjaro”. Although he did not support his claim,]he claimed that “Kilimanjaro” meant either “mountain of greatness” or “mountain of caravans”. Under the latter meaning, “Kilima” meant “mountain” and “Jaro” possibly meant “caravans”.”Njaro” is an ancient Kiswahili word for “shining”.

On 6 October 1889, Hans Meyer reached the highest summit on the crater ridge of Kibo.

First sightings by non-indigenous explorers

The German missionaries Johannes Rebmann of Mombasa and Krapf were the first Europeans to try to reach the snowy mountain. According to English geographer Halford Mackinder and English explorer Harry Johnston, Rebmann in 1848 was the first European to report the existence of Kilimanjaro.

Climbing history

On 6 October 1889, Hans Meyer reached the highest summit on the crater ridge of Kibo. They were the first to confirm that Kibo has a crater.  The first ascent of the highest summit of Mawenzi was made on 29 July 1912, by the German climbers Eduard Hans Oehler and Fritz Klute, who named it Hans Meyer Peak. Oehler and Klute went on to make the third-ever ascent of Kibo, via the Drygalski Glacier and descended via the Western Breach.

Youngest and oldest people to summit

Despite an age-limit of 10 years for a climbing permit, exceptions are occasionally granted. Montannah Kenney, a 7-year-old girl from Texas broke the world record as the youngest female to climb the tallest mountain in Africa in March 2018. Her motivation was the death of her late father.

Also, Keats Boyd of Los Angeles was only seven years old when he summited Kilimanjaro on 21 January 2008. The oldest person to reach Uhuru Peak was Angela Vorobeva at age 86 years and 267 days. American Robert Wheeler is the oldest man to reach the summit at 85 years and 201 days when he summited on 2 October 2014.

Ascents by disabled people

Wheelchair user Bernard Goosen scaled Kilimanjaro in six days in 2007, while in 2012 Kyle Maynard, who has no forearms or lower legs, crawled unassisted to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Kilimanjaro has two distinct rainy seasons, one from March to May and another around November. The northern slopes receive much less rainfall than the southern ones.

The average temperature in the summit area is approximately −7 °C (19 °F). Nighttime surface temperatures on the Northern Ice Field (NIF) fall on average to −9 °C (16 °F) with an average daytime high temperature of −4 °C (25 °F). During nights of extreme radiational cooling, the NIF can cool to as low as −15 to −27 °C (5 to −17 °F).

Climate Zones.

  • Bushland, 800 m – 1,800 m (2,600 ft – 5,900 ft);
  • Rainweald, 1,800 m – 2,800 m (5,900 ft – 9,200 ft);
  • Heath and Moorland, 2,800 m – 4,000 m (9,200 ft – 13,100 ft);
  • Highland Barrens, 4,000 m – 5,000 m (13,100 ft– 16,400 ft);
  • Ice Cap, 5,000 m – 5,895 m (16,400 ft – 19,341 ft).

Glaciers.

In the late 1880s, the summit of Kibo was completely covered by an ice cap covering about 20km² with outlet glaciers cascading down the western and southern slopes, and except for the inner cone, the entire caldera was buried. Glacier ice also flowed through the Western Breach. Their continuing demise indicates they are still out of equilibrium in response to a constant change in climate over the last 100 years.

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