On August 13, 2014, Swiss mountain runner Karl Egloff ran to the 5895m summit in 4 hours and 56 minutes. In doing so, he beat Spanish runner Kilian Jornet’s 2010’s record for the fastest ascent. Read more about Karl Egloff’s Kilimanjaro speed record here >>
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That’s not the end of the story, however. For Karl then trotted back down to the gate in a total time of 6 hours 42 minutes and 24 seconds. You can watch Karl’s record-breaking run by clicking on this link to Karl Egloff’s world-record climb.
Fastest ascent and descent (unaided)
The previous holder of the record for the fastest ascent and descent, Simon Mtuy (Tanzania), still holds one record. 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, we mean that he carried all his own food, water and clothing.)
This despite suffering from a nasty bout of diarrhoea. He also took 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, is a gentleman as well as an extraordinary athlete. For he was there to greet Kilian in 2010 as he finished his record-breaking feat. Even though Kilian had taken the record from Simon!
Fastest ascent (female) – and descent
Danish athlete Kristina Schou Madsen reached the summit of Kilimanjaro via the Mweka Route in a speedy 6 hours, 52 minutes and 54 seconds. (Mweka is normally a descent-only route, but has the advantage of being a very direct path to the top. Which is why, we guess, Kristina took that path.) Kristina set the time on February 23rd, 2018. Follow this link to read more about Kristina Schou Madsen’s record Kilimanjaro climb >>
Youngest person to reach the summit
Though other websites have chosen to recognise Ognen Živković’s as the youngest person to climb Kilimanjaro, due to significant doubts about his expedition, we have chosen not to do so.
On 6 August 2023 five-year-oldOgnjen Živkovićfrom Serbia took seven days to complete his trek, taking the Machame Route to the summit. He thus appeared to have become the youngest person to climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro.
Unfortunately, several eyewitnesses got in touch with us, independently, and before I’d even written about his climb, to tell me of the disturbing sight they’d seen near the summit of Kili of a young child being carried down the slopes, semi-conscious, on the back of a porter.
As any mountaineer will tell you, to successfully climb a mountain you need to a) do it under your own steam; and b) climb both up and down.
As a result, Coaltan Tanner, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, remains the record holder for the youngest person to climb Kilimanjaro.
Coaltan reached the summit of Kilimanjaro on 22 October 2018, aged just 6 years, 1 month and 4 days. In doing so, he broke one of the most enduring (and disputed) records on the mountain by becoming the youngest person ever to reach the summit unaided.
(By unaided, we mean that Coaltan was not carried at any time during the trek and walked the entire way from gate to summit.)
The following year, Ashleen Mandrik, from near Brighton, climbed to the summit aged just six. That climb has yet to be ratified by the Guinness Book of World Records, however. Showing a refreshing lack of interest in having a record-breaking child, her mum, Victoria, did not contact them until after they had completed the climb. Thus it is currently uncertain whether Ashleen will be officially recognised as the youngest female ever to climb to the summit.
The youngest person – or, rather – people to climb Kilimanjaro and who were above the minimum age were the Loynd twins, Alex and Alan, who achieved the summit on the 24 June 2019 on their tenth birthday.
Oldest person to reach the summit
Perhaps surprisingly, this is the record that has changed hands most frequently over the past few years. In July 2019 Anne Lorimor, from Phoenix, Arizona, reached the summit aged 89. This was not Anne’s first successful climb to Uhuru Peak. Four years earlier, in August 2015, aged 85, she had climbed with her niece and nephew to the summit. You can read more about Anne Lorimor’s record-breaking Kili climb here >>
Back then, Anne’s climb had earned her the record for the oldest woman to reach the top. But on October 29th of that year, Russian octagenarian Angela Vorobeva took the popular Machame Route to the top aged 86 years, 267 days. (Impressive, but it’s fair to say that it’s not the toughest challenge that Ms Vorobeva has faced. She survived the Siege of Leningrad in 1944!).
Ms Vorobeva held the title of the oldest person to climb to the top until July 20th 2017. In that year Dr Fred Distelhorst, a retired orthodontist from Vail, Colorado, reached the summit at the age of 88. Fred held the record for two years until Anne launched her latest record-breaking expedition.
Even prior to 2015, the record had changed hands frequently. 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.