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Kilimanjaro Fastest Ascent: Swiss Sets New Record

Mark Whitman

Swiss veteran mountain guide, Karl Egloff, has broken the Mount Kilimanjaro fastest ascent and descent record, in a mind-blowing time of 6 hours, 42 minutes and 24 seconds.

The previous record was held by Spanish mountain runner, Kilian Jornet, who in 2010 managed to run to the top of Uhuru Peak and back down in 7 hours, 14 minutes.

Fastest Kilimanjaro Climbs Recorded

Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa at 5,895 meters, is trekked by thousands of people every year – some figures suggest that 35,000 people attempt the summit on a yearly basis. On average, most trekkers take 6 days to ascend and 1 day to descend for a total trekking time of 7 days.

All treks have guides to help with route planning and acclimatisation, as well as Kilimanjaro porters (sometimes up to 3 per climber) to help carry gear.

The slow progress on Kilimanjaro is on account of the high altitude that can lead to severe and dangerous conditions like Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), and its deadly variants, cerebral and pulmonary edema.

Acclimatisation to the altitude can only occur by taking a slow and steady ascent profile, drinking loads of fluids and limiting over-exertion.

Up to 50% of trekkers on Mount Kilimanjaro suffer AMS and many don’t make the summit because of their conditions

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But for Egloff, Jornet and other high altitude runners these symptoms are likely suppressed due to the speed, conditioning and their unique anatomical make-up.

Talking about his record, Egloff, said he carried very little equipment, staying as light as possible. He snacked on chocolates and water and energy drinks. The Swiss mountain runner was brought up in Ecuador where his mother is from, and has been climbing mountains for years.

Fastest time to climb Kilimanjaro

The fastest times recorded to climb Kilimanjaro, going up and down the mountain are: 

  • Karl Egloff (2014): 6 hours, 42 minutes and 24 seconds
  • Kilian Jornet (2010): 7 hours, 14 minutes
  • Simon Mtuy (2006): 9 hours, 21 minutes and 47 seconds

All three runners used the Umbwe Route, the most direct summit passage, and returned via the Mweka route to the finishing point Mweka Gate.

Many speed runners on Kilimanjaro acclimatise on Mount Meru before hiking Mt Kilimanjaro.

Kilian Jornet Kilimanjaro Speed Ascent

Amazing footage of Kilian Jornet’s 2010 Kilimanjaro fastest ascent record can be seen on this Youtube video.

Fastest Kilimanjaro Ascent by a Woman

The fastest Kilimanjaro ascent (only) records for women are: 

  • Kristina Schou Madson (2018): 6 hours 52 minutes and 54 seconds. Read about the Danish ultra-runners record here.
  • Brazilian Fernanda Maciel (2017): 7 hours 8 minutes
  • Anne-Marie Flammersfeld (2017): 8 hours and 32 minutes
  • Zimbabwean, Debbie Bachmann (2011): 11 hours, 51 minutes

Read more about Kilimanjaro speed ascents by women or see:

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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