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Can Anyone Climb Mount Kilimanjaro – Incredible Summit Stories

Mark Whitman

The short answer to the question: Can anyone climb Mount Kilimanjaro? is obviously no.

If you are super young or ridiculously old you will unlikely be able to cope with what Kilimanjaro throws at you. Equally, if you are obese or severely disabled you can probably write Kilimanjaro off your bucket-list.

For the average person though, being able to successfully climb and summit Kilimanjaro is definitely attainable. You don’t need to be particularly fit (indeed being too fit can be detrimental) and you do not need any technical climbing skills.

Children over the age of 10 can legally have a go, as can older generations in their 60s and 70s!

All you need is determination and the will to get to the summit.

The real challenge with climbing Kilimanjaro is the altitude and the rate of ascent.

Standing at 5,895 meters (19,341 feet), Kilimanjaro is firmly classified as an extreme altitude mountain trek. At high altitudes the body is susceptible to a condition called Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) or altitude sickness.

As many as 50% of people who climb Kilimanjaro suffer from AMS symptoms, often mild and moderate variants. However, more severe complications such as High Altitude Cerebral Edema and High Altitude Pulmonary Edema are also possible on Kilimanjaro, and can be fatal.

The onset of AMS symptoms is not directly correlated to factors of age, gender, fitness level etc.

We do know though, that the rate of ascent is a major contributing factor, particularly on Kilimanjaro where the ascent profile is fast.

To increase your chances of success you should apply these four principles:

  • Longer routes provide more time to properly acclimatize and therefore success rates are higher. Seven day routes are our preferred option for trekkers
  • Routes that offer a climb high, sleep low acclimatisation day are preferable – the Machame and Lemosho route provides the best climb high, sleep low opportunity
  • Go slowly through-out your trek. Do not over-exert yourself. Conserve energy at all times. You will hear your porters say ‘Pole Pole’, this means Slow, Slow in Swahili. Listen to them
  • Drink loads of fluids (2.5-4 liters of water a day)

Follow these tips and you should be fine!

Can anyone climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

We said earlier that not everyone can climb Mount Kilimanjaro, which is true; however, there have been some incredible feats over the years that are worth mentioning.

Here are three:

Armless and Legless Kyle Manyard Climbs Kilimanjaro

Kyle Maynard was born with a condition called congenital amputation – he has no arms and legs.

Despite his condition, Kyle has never let his disability stop him. In 2012 he crawled unassisted to the top of Kilimanjaro using the most technically challenging and steep route called the Western Breach.

Watch this Kyle Maynard Kilimanjaro documentary and be amazed. He is an inspiration for all able-bodied people and illustrates that so much of life is dependent on one’s attitude. His spirit for life is infectious!

He has also recently announced that he is going to attempt the highest mountain in South America, Mount Aconcagua, next year (2015)! Standing at 22,840 feet this will be an incredible achievement.

Esther and Martin Kafer summit Kilimanjaro, aged 84 and 85 respectively

In late 2012 Canadian couple Esther and Martin Kafer, aged 84 and 85 years respectively became the oldest people to summit Kilimanjaro.

The couple have been married since 1953 and have climbed mountains all over the world.


Fastest ascent by mountain speed runner Kilian Jornet

Kilian Jornet, an ultra mountain runner from Spain smashed all speed records on Kilimanjaro when he ran from Umbwe Gate at 5,250 feet all the way to Uhuru Peak at 19,341 feet in 5 hours, 23 minutes; 9 minutes faster than the previous record which was held by Italian runner, Bruno Brunod.

He then ran back down the mountain, descending 13,960 feet to Mweka Gate to complete the round trip in an amazing 7 hours, 14 minutes. This crushed the previous record held by Tanzanian runner Simon Mtuy who had completed the round trip in 8 hours, 27 minutes.

Update: Amazingly, Jornet’s record was beaten in August 2014 by Swiss mountain runner, Karl Egloff, who ran to the summit and back down in an incredible 6 hours, 42 minutes. Read about his incredible record here – Kilimanjaro Fastest Ascent.

Watch this amazing Kilian Jornet Kilimanjaro documentary that shows the runner dealing with the effects of altitude at the top of the mountain and the rapid descent that he manages to achieve! (note: keep in mind that most people take 7 days to ascend and descend, and are usually buggered by the time they get back to the trail-head!)


Are you concerned about your ability to climb Kilimanjaro? Leave us a comment below and we will respond within 24hrs. If you found this article useful and interesting please share on Facebook or Twitter using the share buttons below. Or better still if you have a blog where you sharing your Kilimanjaro adventure please link to us.

You can also find a complete Kilimanjaro gear packing list here.

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Mark Whitman

Hi, I'm Mark! Welcome to Climb Kilimanjaro Guide - the Web's No.1 Trekking Guide to Mount Kilimanjaro. This site is your one stop shop for everything Kilimanjaro. To date over 5 million people have visited Climb Kilimanjaro Guide, many of which have gone on to summit Kili! I hope you find all the answers you are looking for, but if you have any questions don't hesitate to drop a comment below!

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    1. Hi Tom, quite a few people in their 70s and some in their 80s tackle Kili every year. I would seek professional medical advice to ensure your dad gets clearance from a doctor first. If you do decide to do the trek I would recommend taking one of the longer routes – 7-day Machame or 9-dy Lemosho, which provide more time for acclimatisation. Hope this helps!

  1. Hi,
    I have an opportunity to climb Kilimanjaro for charity next summer. I am obese, but have lost a large amount of weight in the past and believe I can push myself to be ready for next summer but will still be obese regardless. I noticed in this article it says if you are obese then go ahead and write this one off the bucket list-
    What would it take to physically prepare oneself for Kilimanjaro? Is for medical reasons that you imply it’s not doable for obese climbers or is it because of the level of commitment required? If the latter, what sort of training would you recommend? Do you think I should/could try? Would I be laughed off the mountain before even reaching the base camp? How intense is the bouldering part of the climb? Literally any other advice would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Ashley,
      Great to hear that you are looking to take on the Kili challenge. In general I would first seek medical advice on your suitability to climb Kilimanjaro before committing. That being said, with the right determination and training I believe most people can climb Kilimanjaro. Here is a story of an obese lady who climbed Kili earlier this year: https://www.climbkilimanjaroguide.com/overweight-climbing-kilimanjaro/
      For training advice see here: https://www.climbkilimanjaroguide.com/training-to-climb-kilimanjaro/
      All the best!

      1. Hi Ashley, I lost 27kg to climb Kili and was still 120kg (5’10) when I climbef and successfully summit ex last July. Its mind over matter, you can’t really train for altitude but you can get miles and height under your belt before hand.
        The support from your team is the most important part in getting you there safely, well feed & watered and a good altitude profile with training climbs.
        Go for it and be awesome!

  2. hey guys! my family and I (my dad, my brother and I ) were thinking of climbing it sometime next summer (July 2016). I’ll be 15 years and my brother 18. we haven’t had any climbing experience, but are EXTREMELY determined and passionate to do it. We’re all of average weight and plan on getting fit over the next 8 months. the problem is we don’t know which route to take, and what procedure to follow to sign up for the trek.

  3. Hi,

    My fiance suffers from mild asthma.

    He is very fit though as he goes to the gym three times a week and plays basketball weekly. He is also taking up swimming again.

    If we decide to climb mount kilimanjaro, he plans on training with the altitude training mask.

    Do you think, with all of this in mind, he should be ok to climb Africa’s tallest free-standing mountain?

    Many thanks in advance,


    1. Hi Mariam, Thanks for getting in touch. You can find more information about climbing Kilimanjaro with asthma here: https://www.climbkilimanjaroguide.com/climb-kilimanjaro-asthma-good-bad-idea/. It sounds as if your husband has his asthma well under control so he should be fine, but I recommend seeking medical advise from a qualified practitioner before signing up for the climb. In terms of altitude masks, there is no evidence that suggests they help with acclimatisation. They may help with stressing the body more during training which could strengthen the cardiovascular system and help with fitness / stamina on the climb. Altitude masks are generally used athletes to train for higher altitude events. These events are usually below 3,000m though. On Kili you will be going to well over 5,000m so apart from putting yourself at that altitude during your training, it is unlikely that a mask will help simulate that environment or assist in any pre-acclimatisation. To read about acclimatisation on Kilimanjaro see here: https://www.climbkilimanjaroguide.com/acclimatization-kilimanjaro/

  4. I am female, 77 years old, 120 lbs , above active for my age.
    wanting to climb the 7 day Machame trip.
    Started 5x a week walking up 180 stairs- can do, but really out out breath.
    Recently got medical cardio ok.
    Can do level 3 on treadmill. 7 Min 39 sec.
    Will continue training until trip in Sept.

    I want to enjoy this challenging trip, but not f its above my level.

    is this within reasonable fittness to enjoy this trip ??

    1. Hi Rikki, As you know Kilimanjaro is a big undertaking even for young and very fit people, however, there are a number of people in there 70s and even a handful in their 80s who summit Kilimanjaro every year. In terms of route, I think you are on the right track with the 7 day Machame – it provides good acclimatisation and has in my opinion the easier approach via Stella Point to the summit. The most challenging parts for you are going to be the Barranco Wall (https://www.climbkilimanjaroguide.com/barranco-wall-mt-kilimanjaro/) and of course summit night, which is very long and very challenging because of the altitude. From what you have said about your fitness level I would say you have some way to go, you should be able to do 30-40 minutes on the treadmill at a decent pace and not feel too out of breath. I suggest doing some real hill walking / hiking in preparation for Kili. Each day you will be walking 5-8 hours, much more on summit night so getting your boots on and going walking over the weekends is great preparation. Beyond that, Kili is as much mental as it is physical. A positive attitude can go a long way. For inspiration see this: https://www.climbkilimanjaroguide.com/angela-vorobeva-become-the-oldest-woman-to-climb-kilimanjaro/. I wish you all the best and be safe!

  5. Hi there, I am hoping to finally attempt kili this year. I’ve been using the mountain local to me to prepare, however it has occurred to me I may not be able to as I have hereditary spherocytosis, and wondered if this would predispose me to altitude sickness?

    1. Hi Janine, thanks for getting in touch. Unfortunately we don’t have the medical expertise to advise you on your condition. I recommend seeing a medical practitioner to get an expert opinion. Best regards!

  6. Hi Guys
    I am thinking of giving Kilimanjaro a go. I have a paralysed right leg and walk long distances with crutches. Possible? What’s the best route?

    1. Hi Matt, Thanks for getting in touch. It is indeed possible but will be a serious undertaking. There have been some incredible summits over the past few years though, see: https://www.climbkilimanjaroguide.com/aaron-phipps-kilimanjaro/ and https://www.climbkilimanjaroguide.com/shaun-gash-kilimanjaro/ and https://www.climbkilimanjaroguide.com/swedish-man-with-disability-scales-the-roof-of-africa/. I would recommend the Machame route, which isn’t as long as some of the other options, but does provide enough time for proper acclimatisation. The main challenge for you, apart from summit night and the trek in general (ha!), will be the Barranco Wall – see https://www.climbkilimanjaroguide.com/barranco-wall-mt-kilimanjaro/
      Hope this helps and provides some inspiration. I definitely think you could do it.

  7. Hi,
    Am planing to go up Kilimanjaro in a couple of weeks but the closer I get to the date the more questions I ask myself.
    In 2010 I suffered a severe Brain Injury. Am lucky to still be here and in relatively good condition. I have since my illness often spent time at around 4’000 meters altitude (sometimes a week or two). A bit tiring but ok. I also went to Tibet and two times took a route in a train or in a car at 5’500 meters altitude. A bit tiring also, but ok.
    How big is the difference in feelings between 4’000 meters altitude and Kilimanjaro Summit ?
    Many thanks in advance and best regards,

    1. Hi Kevin, The way people respond to altitude changes is so variable that it is very difficult to predict how you will do. As a rule of thumb, I would recommend taking one of the longer routes, like the 8 day Lemosho or 9 day Northern Circuit to give yourself as much time to properly acclimatise. The altitude variation from 4,000m to the summit (5,895m), is considerable! The summit push generally begins at 4,600m, and you will spend on average 10 hours above this altitude (ascending to the summit and returning to base camp). Key is to monitor your progress closely by taking spot oxymeter readings. The fact that you have spent some time at altitude without experiencing AMS is a positive sign, but AMS can strike even the most experienced high altitude trekkers and mountaineers. I wish you the best of luck with the trek. Please note: this information should not be construed as medical advice, it is purely educational. I recommend you consult a qualified medical practitioner for professional advice.

  8. I am 57 in very good shape. Weight lifter and light cardio.
    For past 2 years my routines are 1-1/2 hrs long.
    5 to 6 days per week.
    2 years ago I was 35lb overweight.
    I have bad knees. I have not had knee replacement surgery. It is not to that point yet, but I imagine someday. Squats and stair climber with no pain.
    But Long hikes in the past bother my knees. Recently started taking glucosamine and condroiden and after 2 months noticed pain has ceased and can now walk long distances with no pain. Very noticeable because for quite a few years I’ve had pain during long hikes. This could also be the result of my continues exercise and my new lighter weight.
    With my exercise routine I continue to get stronger. Lifting heavier weights and cardio has become a breeze. I could push myself much more with the cardio. I do continue to increase weights on all of my routines.
    My brother in law, sister in law and niece have just moved to Moshi. I plan on visiting next year and the Kilimanjaro trek looks amazing. Just nervous about my knees.
    Rick S.

    1. Hi Rick, Kili does take a beating to ones knees, especially on the descent. Sounds like you are making good strides though with your training so continue strengthening up your joints and hardening off your muscles and Kili should be in your sights! I would definitely use a pair of good trekking poles if you decide to trek Kilimanjaro. All the best!

  9. I am 17 years old, and female. Is that a suitable age to climb? I will climb with my 28 year old cousin, but need to convince my parents!

    1. Hi Meg, Many teenagers climb Kilimanjaro every year, so at 17 you should be absolutely fine. The minimum at is 12. Obviously you are still a minor though so you will need to seek approval from your parents and potentially your GP. Hope this helps!

  10. Ok, so some of the most terrifying snakes (puff adders and mamba come to mind) in the world are in Tanzania. What are the odds of encountering any of these during the various treks at lower rain forrest sections? Is there particular trail that would minimize rain forrest encounter?

  11. hi
    am thinking of climbing kili with my wife for her 50th birthday next july,
    we are both of average fitness, we walk quite a lot but live in suffolk where its very flat … we both very determined people and want to make it to the top…
    just very concerned about AMS and the more i read then the more it puts me off, we were hoping to do a 4 or 5 day safari as soon as we come down and poss 3 days on zanzibar but dont want to end up so ill that it ruins the rest of our time in tanzania, any advice ? thank you

    1. Hi Trev, unfortunately AMS is a risk on Kilimanjaro and part and parcel of the experience. I recommend following the guidance on the site – see acclimatisation section. Most people are generally fine on Kilimanjaro, but mild symptoms of altitude sickness are however common. Make sure to choose a respectable company – use our recommendation service. As for doing a safari / Zanzibar after the climb you don’t need to worry about latent effects of altitude sickness as they generally subside as soon as you descend. All the best!

  12. Hi, my husband and I have just started talking about climbing Kili and going in safari in 2017 so still have so much research to do but my first concern is I have a fear of heights! I have no problems at the Grand Canyon and could easily do the rim to rim hike but doing Half Dome or Angels Landing in Zion are out of the question due to the fear of falling. How are the trails on Kili with regards to plunge to your death view and is there any particular route to avoid? Thanks!

    1. Hi Angie, there are no big exposures on Kilimanjaro. There are a few steep sections, but I wouldn’t say they give death fall sensations. The southern routes, like the Machame and the Lemosho, go over the Barranco Wall (see: https://www.climbkilimanjaroguide.com/barranco-wall-mt-kilimanjaro/), which is a 257m scramble with a few minor exposures, but nothing too scary. It looks a lot more ominous than it actually is once you are on it. If you want to skip the Barranco wall you will have to do one of the Northern routes, like the Rongai or Northern Circuit. Or the Marangu from the South East. All the best.

  13. I climbed Kili last August via 7 day Lemosho route – so it is incredible impressive that someone can do it in 7 hours. It is not that strenuous a hike if you have good fitness and used to hiking – 2 – 3k vertical feet/4-5 hours total in a day. Trails are in good shape and really no difficult scrambling at all except a short section on Barranco wall. Day 2 is a long day (17 km) with good vertical change in elevation as well as summit night/following day.

    It really comes down I think to how you react to altitude (which you won’t know until you are there if you have never been at altitude before). I struggled quite a bit on day three (Lava tower) and summit night with altitude sickness and fever (extremely severe hangover symptons). I made it but was feeling so poorly all I wanted to do was get off the mountain. I felt fine once I got back down to the low camp (3100M). Lost over 10 lbs during the week.

    I few comments from my expereince
    1) I am a light sleeper and had issues with noise at the camping areas a few nights. Guides/porters causing this, not hikers. Suggest having headphones for phone and relaxing music with charged battery packs.
    2) I think doing an 8 day trek if you have time would help. Would cut the hike on day 2 in half and slow down the ascent.
    3) Lemosho is a nice route on first two days in forest but takes two hour (very bumpy) drive to get to trail head. It links up with Machame for final days.

  14. Hi,

    I’m 26 female and am keen to set myself a physical and mental challenge for myself…
    However I have no high altitude experience and am working on my fitness levels and weight loss.
    I live in Cornwall so the moors are on my doorstep which is very helpful for getting out on.

    I basically ask do you think kili is to big for a first goal?

    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Georgie, Yeah, I totally recommend Kili. For many climbers Kilimanjaro is their first high altitude multi-day trek. As long as you are fit and mentally prepared then I’m sure you will have a blast. All the best!

  15. Hello. I read your article with great interest. I am a 50 yr old and just got back from the Everest Base Camp trekking with my husband. We think we could survive Kili but we usually trekked just us (with guide and porter) because I am very slow and like to take my own pace and trekking with big groups intimidates me as I feel I need to keep up with the others…..although I feel safer to trek in larger groups.
    Can you recommend good / respectable companies / agents to do Kili?

  16. Hi, I am a relatively fit 52 year old and have started training for Kilimanjaro next year. 20 years ago I had an Aneurysm and I have two metal clips in my head. Would I still b able to do the climb?

    1. Hi Nada, Unfortunately I are not able to answer medical questions. I recommend you consult your doctor. All the best!

  17. I’ll be attempting Kili about 2 weeks from now. I’ve been training since about March/April for this trek. I think I should be in fairly good shape for the trek but I’m concerned about summit day and my endurance. It’s just hard to know if the training is enough or not….I bike, walk, run & strength train. My goal now, 2 weeks out, is not to get hurt or overdo any training.

    I just came back from Japan last week and we made it to the summit of Mt. Fuji. I didn’t have any issues and honestly, even though Mt. Fuji is basically all switchbacks up the mountain, I wasn’t out of breath at all going up. I don’t know if that means I’m fairly good to go for Kili. I’ve been to Everest Base Camp, Patagonia, Machu Picchu, etc. For some reason I’m pretty freaked out about the summit day for Kili and maybe just need some reassurance that I can do it! Thanks for the article.

    1. Hi Stephanie, You can do it!! Don’t worry too much about it. Enjoy the hike, the amazing scenery and the company of fellow trekkers. Once summit day arrives take one step at a time. Listen to your body and keep you mind positive. All the best!

  18. I am a c2/c3 incomplete quad, which means I am limited in function all areas below level of injury.
    I have been injured 10 years and I have remained relatively fit dispite function issues, road a tricycle across US, 3129 miles a few years ago. I use forearm crutches, walk slowly, have little balance, but love challenges. Any chance?

  19. I am 69 and fit enough. I would just love to climb Kilimanjaro as a challenge on my 70th birthday. What would you advise? Only worried about altitude? Heard ultimate kilimanjaro is the best? What do you suggest I do? I live in South Africa. Would love to meet people in my age who did it…

    1. Hi Marie-Claude, thanks for getting in touch. My advice is: GO FOR IT! There are many people in there late 60s and 70s who climb Kilimanjaro every year. With the right preparation and determination you will be just fine. Feel free to use our tour recommendation service to find an operator: https://www.climbkilimanjaroguide.com/go/

  20. Do you have to secure a permit to climb it and can you attempt to run/trek it alone? I do realize this would be an incredible feat…which Kilian made look easy. I’m an ultra-runner always looking for a challenge;)

    1. Hi Konan, unfortunately you do need to secure a permit to climb Kilimanjaro. These cost upwards of $1000 depending on how many days / camps you stay at. The fastest commercial route is 5 days. To pull off a Kilian feat you will need to work with the park authorities and a willing tour operator. You will definitely want to pre-acclimatise on Meru, or perhaps climb Kilimanjaro the week before you attempt a speed ascent. Hope this helps!

  21. I’ve had climbing Kilimanjaro on my bucket list from some time.. maybe 2018 will be the year I finally tick it off? I’ve been reading a bit about the climb, some sources say there’s a guestbook at the top that most climbers sign to prove they reached the summit – do you guys know if that’s true?

    1. Hi Daniel, there are guestbooks / log books that are signed at each camp, but I’m not aware of any guestbook at the summit. Your name and whether you summited will be entered into a log book at one of the exit gates when you leave the park.

  22. Hi. May I know how intense is the trek to the summit of Kilimanjaro like as compared to perhaps an Everest Base Camp trek in 11 days or a 3 days trek to the summit of Mt Rinjani?

    Trying to gasuge the difficulty of this trek based on my past experience. Thank you!

    1. Hi Kendrick, in terms of difficulty I would say Kilimanjaro is more challenging than EBC. The trek is a lot shorter and therefore gains altitude a lot faster than EBC. This makes it a proper challenge from an altitude perspective with higher risk of altitude sickness. The summit push is also a lot more challenging, lasting around 10-12 hours from base camp to the summit and back to the lower camp. On a scale of 10, with Kilimanjaro being 10, I would say EBC is an 8. Hope this helps!

  23. I would like to climb Kilimanjaro, however, I am worried about Acute Mountains Sickness. The sickest I have ever been was my first day in Cusco, Peru before I started a 3 day hike of the Inca trail. I was fine during the hike but always had a headache.

  24. I have a bad lower back, but otherwise am in good shape. I have a few pinched nerves which stiffens up my back and legs. Do you think I’d struggle on the climb because of this?

    1. Hi Zach, I recommend consulting a doctor, but in terms of the Kilimanjaro hike, your back will need to withstand 7-8 days of trekking (summit day is an epic long hike – like 12-14 hours – with a big descent that can take a beating on your joints). You will also be camping the whole way which is not particularly comfortable. You may want to do a few short multi-day hikes with camping before committing to Kilimanjaro, so that you can test how your back holds up. All the the best!

  25. top of bucket list – climb kilimanjaro.. i am 76 years old (young?) only recently i have joined a gym –
    treadmill, orbitrek & bike for now. health wise i have 3 stents inserted in my arteries and i amfine. i do a lot of strenuous actlivities and will further increase my training. in india i climber +- 4500m
    in himalaya foothills . physically i am not in great shape but my determination will get me there..
    what do you think. climbing himalaya was in 2011 and i was not breathing well. since the stents
    i seem to be ok.

    1. Hi Ramesh, anything is possible but given your age and medical condition I would definitely consult a doctor for the all clear. Hope you get it, as it is a fantastic adventure!

    1. Yes, I would consult your doctor to get clearance and if you get the all clear then you should inform your tour operator of your condition / any precautions / requirements, so they can assess whether they can take you as well. All the best!

  26. I am about 10 days away from leaving for Kilimanjaro and my knee has been giving me problems. Pain and clicking. Is it still safe to make the climb?

    1. Hi Karen, it’s very difficult for me to reliably assess you. I would consult a doctor for advice. If you feel that you will be able to walk for 6-8 hours, 7 days straight over tough terrain then you should be fine.

  27. I am concerned I will not be able to based off of my fitness. I am most likely above average fitness but the problem is that I do live in Florida so the altitude might have a bigger effect. I have spent time on mountains just not one that tall. What do you think?

    1. Hi Leigh, I recommend the 7 day Machame or 8 day Lemosho as the best routes for acclimatisation. If you don’t want to camp then you could look at the 6 day Marangu as this comes with hut accomodation. Summit success rates tend to be lower on this route though. All the best!

  28. Hey guys.
    I’m a 1.87m 107kg bloke from Norway. The main exercise i have gotten the last year’s are my 4ish km daily walks and other bike trips around Oslo. If I where to head to Kili this July, and did a few jogging and hiking trips until then, should I be fine for the trip?

    What other preparation would you recommend?
    Also, what are the success rate among your clients?

    All the best, Glenn

  29. Hi Mark! My dad and I would like to climb Kilimanjaro before he turns 70 in 4 years time. He is in relatively good shape and runs a marathon at least once a year but is not used to trekking, I myself am used to trekking in various terrain and but not more than 1200 m. I think the climb is doable for the both of us, but I ofcourse worry about altitude sickness. I have looked into the different routes and I like the thought of the Rongai the best but as far as I’ve understood it dosen’t offer good options of “sleeping low”, but then I’m thinking of maybe doing it with an extra day or two. What are your thoughts on that?
    I think it is no rush for either of us to reach the top as fast as possible, but rather make it as enjoyable as possible and improving our chances of not getting sick 🙂

    1. Hi Sofie, the 7 day Rongai is a pretty good route and does build in extra time to acclimatise. It also has a climb high, sleep low profile – unlike the 6 day variation. Alternatively, the 7 day Machame or 8 day Lemosho are great options. Sounds like you are planning a great adventure with your dad. I’m sure you will have a blast!

  30. Hey Mark, great article.

    I went with my 2 friends, one of them was a first-timer. Both of them were pretty fit, but they encountered severe AMS and was puking for 3 days straight every single meal.

    This was even though we did the Lemosho 7 day route. My detailed account of it can be seen here:

    My belief was that almost everyone can go to Kilimanjaro. I was surprised that my really fit friends had such severe AMS, it could happen to anyone. I think the long flight and going straight to Morum Picnic site was a factor.

  31. I enjoy your articles. I don’t see any reference to Umbwe as a suggested route. My son and I signed up for this route based on a recommendation of a friend. is this route considerably tougher than the other routes? any thing to be concerned about? thank you

    1. Hi Mark, Here are details on the Umbwe route: https://www.climbkilimanjaroguide.com/umbwe-route/. The route is considered a little more challenging in terms of acclimatisation as it doesn’t have a great climb high, sleep low profile and is more direct the meandering routes like the Machame and Lemosho. This means that the probability of altitude sickness is higher on the Umbwe route. Make sure to follow basic practice acclimatisation tips here and I’m sure you will have a blast with your son. https://www.climbkilimanjaroguide.com/acclimatization-kilimanjaro/

  32. Hi Mark, really great reading. I’m planning to do Kilimanjaro in December and now I’m little bit worried because you said it’s not recommended to obese people. I am 180cm (6ft) and 129kg (20 stones), but did so many trekkings and hikings (even marathon once) and can find myself in really good condition (also no health issues). It’s more that I’m determined than I’m in good shaped. I’m planning to lose some weight by December, but just to ask are obese people more affected in some way?

    I went on Machu Picchu last December and did very long walks (got onto Montana, for example). I was affected by altitude sickness but I think I would be able to handle that again. Also I went to 5k height in Bolivia and I’m still alive 🙂

  33. Hello there ,iv been thinking and researching about climbing Kilimanjaro,I’m just concerned as I’m a smoker and willing to give up to achieve it ,but was wondering if anyone else has done this and managed to get to the top ,would hate to go through with all the planning and money ,and not be able to make it to the top ,any advice would be great or from past experiences,many thanks

    1. Hi Lee, I’ve seen many a smoker reach the top of Kilimanjaro. It may be a good idea to use Kili as the impetus to quit though. All the best!

  34. Hello. I will be 50 in January and we are planning this hike for February. I will be training for this hike beginning next week. My question and concern is the altitude sickness. I am one that gets VERY sick with any type of motion sickness. Even just sitting in the back seat of a car. We are planning the long way up to hopefully lessen any sickness. Do people still get sick with the long hike up and what are their worst symptoms? Thanks in advance!

  35. I’m a student from the UK and 4 long years of ‘study’ have greatly reduced my physical prowess, however I still cycle, swim and run regularly and complete small peaks with easy in the UK such as Snowden and Ben Nevis. Could I just rock up and do the climb (walk).

    1. Hi Kyle, in short, yes. As long as you have a decent level of fitness you can just “rock up” and trek Kilimanjaro. That being said, it is definitely worthwhile getting in as much training beforehand. Cheers!

  36. Hi Mark,
    Thank you for an informative (& encouraging)website.
    I am considering joining a group to raise funds for charity. The plan is to ascend along Machame trail (7 day trip).
    But… I do not have any trekking experience & the website is listing the trip as demanding! I have a reasonable level of fitness for a 51 year old (tennis singles 3 hours per week & pilates once a week).
    Should I attempt the trek????
    Many thanks for your honest opinion

    1. Hi Weng, Kilimanjaro is definitely classified as a demanding trek. The high altitude combined with 7 tough days of trekking and a summit push that lasts 10-14 hours (up and down) makes Kilimanjaro a real challenge. That being said, almost anyone can climb Kilimanjaro. You need a positive attitude, serious mental determination (think like a marathon runner) and a good level of fitness. If you have these traits then I would say go for it!

  37. I’ve never done any climbing. I’m 50 and don’t really exercise even though I look fit. I would like to get to the top. How long does it take to get down?

    1. Hi Denise, the descent is completed in 1.5 days, with most of the descent happening directly after summiting. You drop from the summit, 5,895, all the way back down to around 3,000m.

  38. I would like to do Kilimanjaro. I will be 69 in 2019. I go to the gym 5 times a week training just for Kili. BUT I cant find insurance. Any help Im UK

  39. I need a quote and need to find out more about Mt Kilimanjaro climb probably on 2019 or 2020.
    I am not very fit and scared of heights if I’m in a cliff and can see the sides. But I have few mountain climbs and did a major climb in the Philippines. Thanks!

  40. Turning 60 years old with plantar fasciitis and knee pain thinking of hiking to summit but have my concerns. How much training is required and concerned about altitude. What is your opinion?

  41. Hi a mate of mine want to climb Kili. my concern is that he had one of his kidneys removed in June 2018 and he wants to attempt to do kili in about 2 weeks time

    1. Hi a mate of mine want to climb Kili. my concern is that he had one of his kidneys removed in June 2018 and he wants to attempt to do kili in about 2 weeks time. would it be advisable for him to do such a trip

  42. Hi, the one question I always have to ask about any hike has to do with ledges. I love to hike and love long, difficult hikes but, my “handicap” has always been ledges, not so much heights themselves really. For example Angel’s landing in Zion gives me extreme dizziness and being on narrow paths on mountainsides are similar. Are there any narrow ledges on the side of the mountain that would give someone with height issues difficulty? Thanks!

    1. Sounds like Kilimanjaro will be just fine for you. Obviously, there’s no telling how your body will cope with the altitude. But the Lemosho is a good route for acclimatisation so the odds are in your favour.

  43. Myself and my Husband have been considering climbing Kilimanjaro for many years now and are thinking of giving it a go after Hiking the Inca trail last year. Our main concern is that my Husband really suffers from the cold even in the UK particularly in his hands and feet. Do you have any tips on how he could overcome this as it is the main factor putting us off attempting the trek.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Dawn, Unfortunately, cold is a major factor on Kilimanjaro. About 4,500m the temperatures at night and in the early morning is pretty, especially if the wind chill is high. The altitude doesn’t help either as the body directs blood away from the extremities first in its natural attempt to protect the critical organs. To protect the extremities I would recommend your husband take really warm gloves / mitts, which he uses in conjunction with merino wool inner gloves and hand warmers. In terms of the feet I recommend thick thermal socks from Smartwool along with foot warmers. And for the head, a warm beanie and polar micro fleece neck scarf. Apart from that, good layered clothing and a warm sleeping bag are a must. Check out our detailed packing list for details: https://www.climbkilimanjaroguide.com/kilimanjaro-kit-list/
      Hope that helps!

  44. Hi, me and my husband are booked onto a trip to climb Kilimanjaro in September this year. I am 30 years old, BMI is where it should be, but I am not the fittest as I’ve never done much exercise. I do have concerns about my climb as I worry I’m not fit enough. Will I be ok?

  45. I had a brain tumour successfully removed in 2015, would the altitude exert undue pressure on my brain?

  46. My friend has rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, osteo arthritis, displaziar. She really wants to climb for charity. Will this stop her from trying

    1. Hi Danielle, unfortunately I’m not qualified to answer that question. I recommend your friend consults her doctor for advice. If she is able to hike 7 days in a row for 5-10 hours a day, then she should be able to climb Kilimanjaro. All the best!

  47. I am 34 and going to killi soon. The more i read about killi, the more i worry. Can i get to the summit? I hike about 8 to 10 miles a week on my days off. Takes me about 4 to 5 hours to hike the 8 to 10 miles.But there are no mountains where i live. Its flat.im 170 pounds. What do you think?

    1. Hi Ashley, Kilimanjaro is a big undertaking but you sound fit and healthy. If you acclimatise well I’m sure you will make it to the top – one step at a time!

  48. I am 67 male with high blood pressure, determine but in good shape. The only question, is having high blood pressure a dis qualifier. I control it with medication.

  49. Hello. I have my climb planned from 1st to 8th July this year. I am 29 years old and I will be 30 exactly on the day I reach the summit. Although I am positive about doing this, there is something in my mind which has been bothering me. I easily lose my breath when working out or when I run or when I hike uphill fast.. my heart rate goes up really fast when i start hiking uphill.. i never miss my annual physicals and if something was wrong with the way i breath i would have known by now..so i am not sure why i lose my breath so easy when working out..should I be fine with the fact that the pace of this trek is slow or do I need to worry that it’s uphill and that i might lose my breath quick and frequently?

    1. Hi Divya, breathlessness is a common symptom of going to high altitude, as your respiratory and cardiovascular system has to work harder to get oxygen. Going to high altitude will therefore likely exacerbate your pre-existing disposition to breathlessness. A slow approach with proper acclimatisation is key. If you are properly acclimatised you should be just fine, but I recommend consulting your doctor to see whether there is any obvious reason for your breathlessness, and get there advice on going to high altitude. Hope this helps.

  50. I had a serious accident 10 years ago and 30% of my right lung was removed, I am fully recovered and active today. Will I be able to summit Kilimanjaro? Thank you

    1. Hi Sean, Unfortunately I’m not qualified to answer that question. I recommend consulting your doctor to see if there are any high altitude risks given your specific condition. All the best!

  51. My wife and I are in early 60’s. We are reasonably fit and not overweight. We hiked 6-13 hours in Iceland last year and were interested in a nine day Kilimanjaro ascent. We get mild altitude when we are at 9k for a few day but alleviated with diamox. Hopes we might be fit enough to do Kilimanjaro

  52. I’m going the Lemosha route next month over 5 days, I’m a fit 63 year old
    and I keep seeing videos about success with more days.
    My friend and I will be taking Diamox,
    We’re booked with Trekking Hero who claims to have a high success rate of summitting, but I chose 5 days , hoping it’s not a mistake!

    1. Hi Monica, unfortunately the 5 day routes have relatively low summit success rates. There are no set statistics on this but I would guess around 65-70%. This is because of the rapid ascent not facilitating acclimatisation. If you can change your itinerary to a longer route I would. It will cost more but your chances of summiting increase and they are safer. All the best!

  53. Hi
    I am type 1 diabetic. Fairly newly- I was diagnosed last October. I am dealing with it as best as I can every day. BUT I am a very determined person and would love to be able to complete this climb. Will I be able to climb safely?

    1. Hi Jessica, I believe it is possible, but it will very much be up to whether a tour operator will take you. It’s best disclosing your condition with operators and seeing if they would take you. All the best!

  54. Hello I’m due to climb Kilimanjaro in Feb. I’m a gym goer and do lots of cycling. I have a high VO2 max score. However, I’m just wondering what I can do to ensure I am fully prepared. I’m 37 and male.
    I’m particularly concerned about being ready for the altitude.


    1. Hi Joe, unfortunately there is little training you can do for altitude apart fromn going to altitude. The body naturally acclimatises to altitude so the key on Kilimanjaro is to give yourself enough time when ascending. That means taking a long route (i.e. more days, like the 7 or 8 day routes that have built in acclimsation days), and hiking slowly (not rushing up the mountain). Hope this helps!

  55. Hi there! My boyfriend and I are young (28) and healthy. We are not athletes and bikeundefinedrun casually, usually running 5ks a couple times per week. We will be in Tanzania in a couple months for my boyfriend's work and are considering Kili. We live in the Netherlands which is very flat so have no opportunity to do much hiking beforehand, and we aren't comfortable going into the gyms during COVID. When we travel, however, we are pretty good hikers but haven't done multi-day hikes and haven't been in high altitude – most recently did an 18 mile day hike in 2000m mountains. Do you think it's feasible for us to hike Kili with very little hiking experience? Are there ways you recommend training given the lack of hiking areas and gyms around? We're nervous about even committing to doing Kili but are healthy so hope it will be ok. Thank you!

    1. Hi Sophie, yes, you can definitely hike Kilimanjaro, even if you have little or no experience of high altitude multi-day hiking. Both you and your boyfriend sound physically fit so the real challenge will be the altitude, and unfortunately this is not something you can prepare for (apart from doing a pre-acclimatisation hike beforehand – like hiking Mount Meru). To give yourself the best chance of summiting and avoiding altitude sickness make sure to choose a longer route (7 and 8 day options), and make sure you go slowly when you hike each day. All the best!

  56. I have sleep apnea and wont have my CPAP machine with me on the Kilimanjaro climb. Does that make the attempt a bad idea? Are there things people with Apnea can do? Thanks, Vikas

    1. Hi Vikas, I’m unfortunately not qualified to answer that question. I recommend consulting a doctor for advice. All the best!

  57. I got HACE on the way to Everest Base Camp 7 years ago. Because I was a slow hiker the guides unfortunately rushed me up the mountain. I managed to hike back down to the Himalayan Rescue Foundation hospital, where I was taken by helicopter to Kathmandu. I developed deafness (later resolved) and a few other issues. I'm now 65 and in good health.
    Can I climb Kili if I find a guide who will take me up at my own pace with plenty of acclimitazation? Thanks!

    1. Hi Evvie, sounds like you went through quite an ordeal in Nepal. In terms of Kilimanjaro, the route profiles and camps are very well regulated. There are a number of route options that are longer – I like the 7-day Machame or Lemosho. The latter can be extended to an 8-day option. In terms of altitude sickness, the incidence of AMS on Kilimanjaro is relatively high. However, compared to hikes in the Himalaya, like EBC, the route profile is a lot steeper, which means you can drop in altitude very quickly on Kilimanjaro. In a few hours, you can drop 2,500m. This means that if serious conditions arise – like HAPE or HACE – one can get lower much quicker than in Nepal. It also means that a heli-vac on Kili is almost unheard of. As for finding a guiding company that can go at your own pace, this can be a little tricky. Your best option is to book a private climb (not an open group), and a longer route profile like the 8-day Lemosho. Hope this helps!

  58. Hi! I’m interested in climbing mt. Kilimanjaro but have never climbed a mountain in my life before. I’m a 24 year old female who has no major health conditions. I work out moderately but am concerned if this is something I’d be able to handle? Any advice?

  59. I sleep with a CPAP (I'm supposed to anyway and admit to skipping it a lot) which setting is at 12. I want to ensure that I have a chance to summit. I'm 54 years old and really want to climb before I get "too old". I am interested in the Lomosho route due to the longer time to climb and chance to acclimate better.

  60. Hi, I would like to climb Kilimanjaro but I suffer from dry eyes. I have to put eye drops in every four hours and a lot of them (I use a whole bottle in 1-2 days!). I can do this on the go so that’s not a problem and I know the climate can make your eyes drier – I’m not worried about that as it’s something I can put up with. What I’m worried about is my eye drops freezing as I understand it’s -25 degrees near the top. Do you know how I can prevent this? I’ll probably only have 1 or 2 bottles left when I get near the top. Do you think if I keep them under my clothes my body heat will stop the liquid from freezing? Thanks.

    1. The temperature very rarely reaches -25 degrees. Sub-zero is common but no much more below that. To avoid liquid freezing I recommend keeping them on your person under your jacket or wrapped in a sock.

  61. hi, i would love to climb as a challenge to myself. I broke the bottom of my spine 2 years (my coccyx) and since then i have had lots of pain in the area and my lower back. Iv now had my coccyx removed and unfortunately the operation was unsuccessful. I have pain all the time but increased pain sitting, and carrying heavy things. I was wondering if you would advise against it and also if the trek involves carrying tents etc?

    1. Hi Hannah, sorry to hear that. In terms of Kili, there is very little carrying of gear – porters do all the carrying. You will just need to carry a light daypack. The hike though is pretty demanding. If you’re able to hike 6-8 hours a day for 7-8 day on a trot, then I would say you can do it.

  62. I'm 75 – fairly fit, a little overweight – and in mid-knee replacement. (one done, one to go) my ambition is to return to casual walking (which I have been unable to do for some years. I like the sound of trekking up Kilimanjaro. Do you think it's pie-in-the-sky?

    1. Hi Tim, not necessarily pie in the sky, but a huge ask! I’ve done Kili twice, once in my twenties and again in my thirties – both times my knees took a battering coming down the slopes of Kili. I would see how you feel after you’ve recovered from the knee replacements. Take a few long day hikes in the mountains near you, ideally ones where you ascend and descend a lot (i.e. not contour paths). This will give you a good sense on whether Kili is even an option. All the best!

  63. Hi! i am out of shape but can walk 5 miles with no issues. 10% incline on a treadmill at 2mph for 45 – 1 hr is not an issue but i get winded easily with much steeper inclines or speeds. I have not had time to do any type of training due to a previous health issue and wondering what are the chances i could still make the machame route ascent with no further training

    1. Hi Ernie, I think you will struggle. Most of the Kili hike you are on your feet for 5-7 hours a day hiking over tough terrain at altitude. If you have time to get into better shape I’m sure you can go for it, but from what you have said I would say you need to get fitter first.

  64. Hi. I’m booked to climb Mt Kilimanjaro via the Machame Route starting 24 July. I have been training for months and recently fell on a training hike and broke my right wrist (my dominant hand). My lower arm is in a cast. I can’t carry or lift anything in that hand, so can’t use a hiking pole or use that hand to help me climb. Should I cancel my trek? I don’t want to put myself at risk or be a liability for my group.

    1. Hi Helen, I think it’s possible to hike Kili via the Machame with your arm in a cast, although Barancco wall will be challenging and you may need a guide/porter to help you scramble over some of the steeper sections. It’s difficult for me to give you a definitive yes or no, but if you think it’s going to cause too many challenges on an already challenging hike, it might be prudent to reschhedule.

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