Fastest ascent of Kilimanjaro
In September 2010 Spanish mountain runner Kilian Jornet, aged just 22, ran to the 5895m summit in 5 hours 23 minutes and 50 seconds, thereby beating by a minute the ascent-only record of Kazakh runner Andrew Puchinin, set the previous year.
Fastest ascent and descent
That’s not the end of the story, however, for Kilian then trotted back down to base camp in a total time of 7 hours 14 minutes – a record that stood for four years until August 2014, when Swiss-Ecuadorian Karl Egloff completed a run up the Umbwe Route and descent via Mweka in just 6 hours, 56 minutes and 24 seconds.
Fastest ascent and descent (unaided)
A previous holder of the record for the fastest ascent and descent, Simon Mtuy (Tanzania), still holds one record, for on the 22 February 2006 he climbed from Umbwe Gate to the summit and back in 9 hours 19 minutes. In doing so, he achieved the fastest ever unaided ascent and descent (by unaided, they mean that he carried his own food, water and clothing). This despite suffering from a nasty bout of diarrhoea, as well as taking a three-minute break at the top to video himself, plus two further breaks to vomit!
I should also mention that Simon, who runs the Summit Expeditions and Nomadic Experience trekking agency in Moshi, was there to greet Kilian as he finished his record-breaking feat (and took the record from Simon) – proving he is a gentleman as well as an extraordinary athlete!
Fastest ascent (female) – and descent
On 27 July 2015 Anne-Marie Flammersfeld, a 37-year-old German currently living in St. Moritz , Switzerland, set a new record for the fastest ascent and descent by a woman on Kilimanjaro, climbing to the summit via the Umbwe Route in a time of 8h32min. She then turned round and made it back to Mweka gate for a total time on the mountain of 12h58min.
Nor was this the only impressive feat by Anne-Marie, a Sports Scientist with her own company. The climb was part of her attempt to conquer the 7 highest volcanic summits in the world by setting off from the lowest point in that country and getting to the highest point without any ‘mechanical’ help. So, for example, in Tanzania Anna-Marie, accompanied by her two friends Giuseppe and Alessio, set off from the coast at Tanga and cycled for four days to reach Mount Kilimanjaro. They then climbed Umbwe in four days as preparation for her record attempt two days later.
Ms Flammersfeld’s feats on Africa’s highest mountain beat the previous record holder, Britain’s Becky Shuttleworth, who on 20 September 2014 reached the summit of Kilimanjaro in just 11h34min.
Youngest person to reach the summit
On 21 January 2008 Keats Boyd from Los Angeles successfully hauled his seven-year-old body up to the summit of Africa’s highest mountain – and in doing so became the youngest person ever to reach the top of Kilimanjaro.
An impressive feat, not least because in breaking the record Keats must also have broken all sorts of rules, including the one that says you have to be at least ten to climb Kili!
The youngest person to climb Kilimanjaro who was above the minimum age was Jordan Romero of Big Bear Lake, California, who achieved the summit on the 23 July 2006 at the tender age of 10 years and 11 days.
Oldest person to reach the summit
Perhaps surprisingly, this is the record that has changed hands most frequently over the past few years. Russian octagenarian Angela Vorobeva set the current record on October 29th 2015 after taking the popular Machame Route to the top. Her age at the time she reached the summit was an amazing 86 years, 267 days. (Impressive, but it’s fair to say that it’s not the toughest challenge that Ms Vorobeva has faced, having survived of the Siege of Leningrad in 1944!)
Her achievement caps a period in which the record has been broken several times. In August 2015, Anne Lorimor, of Arizona climbed in August 2015 with her neice and nephew to the summit aged 85. A few months before that, on 2nd October 2014, Robert Wheeler, from the USA, reached the summit after five days of trekking aged 85 years 201 days. His climb thus trumped Martin and Esther Kafer, from Vancouver, who reached the summit in September 2012 aged 85 and 84 respectively. Esther was just a year older than Bernice Buum, who reached the summit aged 83 in September 2010; while Martin’s achievement pipped those of farmer Richard Byerley from Washington, USA, who in October 2011 reached the summit of Africa’s highest mountain at the ripe old age of 84 years and 71 days – and who in turn had eclipsed British grandad George Solt, a retired professor from Olney, Buckinghamshire, who the previous summer had summited at the age of 82.
And now we have Angela, who at 86 years and 267 days is definitely the oldest person to climb Kilimanjaro….maybe. For there is still the mysterious Valtee Daniel, a Frenchman whom I only read about once while researching the first edition of our guidebook way back in 2001, and whom I have never heard anything else about since. Mr Daniel’s climb has never been recognised by the Guinness Book of Records, who insist that any record attempt is verified by independent witnesses and must be filmed, photographed and meticulously documented in a log book. So for the moment, we’ll have to say that Angela is ‘officially’ the oldest person to reach the summit.