So everyone knows that Mount Kilimanjaro, first conquered by Hans Meyer in 1889, is a really, really big mountain in Africa, and it takes a few days to climb. But taking a second to appreciate the beast shows how colossal it actually is and a task that should be respected and never underestimated… there’s a reason it’s on many people’s bucket lists after all! So let’s take a look into the Herculean Mountain that Richard & Jason will tackle in August of this year. Here are four eye-opening facts that you may not know about Mount Kilimanjaro:
Kilimanjaro: the big one
Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest free standing mountain on planet Earth… just let that sink in… measuring in at 19,341ft it is nearly how high your plane would reach on a short haul flight,
Here’s a fact within a fact that you can impress your mates with: the name ‘Kilimanjaro’ is believed to be from a mix of the Swahili word Kilima, meaning “mountain,” and the KiChagga (local Tanzanian vernacular) word Njaro, loosely translated as “whiteness.” Another, less impressive interpretation is that Kilimanjaro is the European pronunciation of a KiChagga phrase meaning “we failed to climb it.”
Volcanoes: the sleeping mistress
Kilimanjaro has three volcanoes: Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira. Whilst Mawenzi & Shira are extinct, Kibo (the highest peak which Richard & Jason will scale) is merely dormant, meaning there’s a possibility it could erupt. Saying that however, with the last eruption being approximately 360,000 years ago, it’s probably as likely as Richard & Jason moonwalking their way back down the mountain. On the flip side, some might argue it’s overdue an eruption… just saying…
Whatever the weather
As Richard & Jason learnt on their first warm up expedition (most of the way) up Mount Snowdon, the weather can be crippling. They’re going to love Mount Kilimanjaro, as it supports 5 different ecosystems: rainforest, heath, moorland, alpine desert and glaciers. Effectively, climbing Kilimanjaro will take them through every type of weather, to the extreme… character building!
The makers and breakers
Roughly 30,000 people attempt the exhilarating climb of Mount Kilimanjaro every year. On average, of those: 30,000 climbers 2/3 make it to the peak, and 7 die. I sense your incredulity. Despite it being a relatively safe climb, the main causes of death, and failure to reach the top, are altitude-related issues or harsh weather near the peak. It can stoop to below -18°C up there and oxygen levels are almost halved.
Symptoms of altitude sickness include nausea, exhaustion and swelling – which can occur as early as half way up the mountain. They probably won’t need me to tell them, but for Richard & Jason to avoid this it’s very important to pace themselves and acclimatise!
As these facts show (this blog would be a thesis if we were exhaustive with facts), Richard & Jason have their work well and truly cut out for them. Specific factors like the weather, wildlife the guys will encounter, hygiene (or lack thereof) etc will all be explored in more detail in our future blogs that run bi-monthly leading up to the climb – so stay tuned!
Don’t forget if you’d like to support the guys and donate to the British Heart Foundation, which is what this whole thing is about, simply text GOSR89 and the amount you’d wish to donate (e.g. GOSR89 £5) to 70070 or click the ‘Sponsor Me’ button below.