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.
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.
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 70% of trekkers on Mount Kilimanjaro suffer AMS and many don’t make the summit because of their conditions
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.
Prior to Jornet’s Kilimanjaro fastest ascent, the record was held by local Tanzanian guide and mountain runner Simon Mtuy who completed a round trip to Uhuru Peak (the summit of Kilimanjaro) in 9 hours, 21 minutes and 47 seconds.
All three runners used the Umbwe Route, the most direct summit assault passage, and returned via the Mweka route to the finishing point Mweka Gate.
Amazing footage of Jornet’s 2010 Kilimanjaro fastest ascent record can be see on this Youtube video.
The fastest Kilimanjaro ascent record for ladies was held by Zimbabwean, Debbie Bachmann, who reached the summit in 2011 in a record time of 11 hours, 51 minutes. This record has however been beaten many times now.
In 2017, Brazilian Fernanda Maciel smashed Anna-Marie Flammersfeld’s record by over an hour, recording an ascent time of 7 hours 8 minutes. Amazingly this was beaten again in February 2018 by Danish ultra-runner, Kristina Schou Madson who set an astounding record at 6 hours 52 minutes and 54 seconds.