Mount Kilimanjaro with its three volcanic cones, Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira, is a dormant volcanic mountain in Tanzania. It is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world at 5,895 metres or 19,341 feet above sea level (the Uhuru Peak/Kibo Peak). In 1861, the German officer Baron Carl Claus von der Decken and the young British geologist Richard Thornton (1838–1863) made a first attempt to climb Kibo, but got no farther than 8,200 feet (2,500 meters).
In 1887, during his first attempt to climb Kilimanjaro, the German geology professor Hans Meyer reached the base of Kibo, but was forced to turn back, not having the equipment necessary to handle the deep snow and ice on Kibo. The following year, Meyer planned another attempt with cartographer Oscar Baumann, but the mission was aborted due to consequences of the Abushiri Revolt. Meyer and Baumann were captured and held hostage, and only escaped after a ten thousand rupees ransom had been paid.
In 1889 Meyer returned to Kilimanjaro with the celebrated Austrian mountaineer Ludwig Purtscheller for a third attempt. Their climbing team included two local headmen, nine porters, a cook, and a guide. The success of this attempt, which started on foot from Mombasa, was based on the establishment of many campsites with food supplies so that multiple attempts at the top could be made without having to descend too far.
5895m / 19,341ft
Completed April 2007
Our choice of the Lemosho route meant that we avoided the crowds you generally see on the traditional (Mechame) route, and we did not meet a single other climber until the day before our summit day. For most of our team this was our first experience of high altitude trekking. The Lemosho route involves hiking in relatively warm weather on the lower mountain while average summit temperatures can dip significantly into the -20’s. The infamous snows of Kilimanjaro are still visible, though in rapid demise.
Summit day on Kilimanjaro is long and not to be underestimated and the mountain can see the most instances of altitude sickness of any peak on the planet, so care must be taken to avoid moving too high too fast. Kilimanjaro was a fantastic experience and a great way to begin our Seven Summits adventure by sampling high altitude in a reasonably safe and non-technical environment, on a quiet and challenging route.