Sunday, 21 February 2016

15 Interesting Facts About Kilimanjaro

As part of my preparations for climbing Kilimanjaro in September I've been doing quite a bit of research.  Here are some interesting facts I've learned.

  1. At nearly 6km high (5,895m to be exact), it is the tallest freestanding mountain in the world.
  2. At the summit oxygen levels are only 9.7% compared with 21% at sea level.
  3. Temperatures at the summit can drop to -25°C at night time.
  4. A lot of people fail to reach the summit due to altitude sickness.  Some estimates put the success rate as low as 45% but most put it somewhere over 66%.
  5. Smokers cope better with altitude sickness as their bodies are used to lower oxygen levels.
  6. One of the indications that you are acclimatising well to the high altitude is passing wind!
  7. Climbing Kilimanjaro involves passing through 4 climatic zones: Rainforest, Moorland, Alpine Desert and Arctic. 
  8. The final ascent to the summit is usually made at night by head torch, to ensure that there is enough time to descend again and so you can experience sunrise from the highest point in Africa.
  9. Kilimanjaro’s peak is permanently covered in snow but the ice cap has reduced by 82% since 1962 due to climate change 
  10. Above 5000m, the atmosphere is only 45% as effective at filtering out UV light as it is at sea level, so serious sun protection is needed.
  11. There are around 3-7 deaths each year on Kilimanjaro from Acute Mountain Sickness, falls and hyperthermia.
  12. Everest Base Camp is lower than the summit of Kilimanjaro.
  13. The first person to reach the summit was a German by the name of Hans Meyer in 1889.
  14. The first Person to reach the snow line on Kilimanjaro was Charles New, a British missionary, in 1861 who took with him a party of 13 porters, all of whom were completely naked.
  15. Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano.  The last volcanic activity happened 200 years ago, but the last major eruption was 360,000 years ago.

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