How Fast Can You Climb Kilimanjaro?

It typically takes five to nine days to climb Kilimanjaro using one of the estabished routes. The summit success rate is highly correlated to the number of days, with the longer routes having higher success rates. The main reason is that more days spent on Kilimanjaro allows more time for gradual acclimatization to the low oxygen atmostphere.

You may have read stories of people climbing Kilimanjaro in a matter of hours instead of days.

How is this possible?

The athletes who attempt these feats are completely acclimatized to the elevation of the entire mountain prior to the attempt. They camp at high altitudes until they are fully acclimated to the thin oxygen levels. This is the only way to avoid acute mountain sickness when attempting speed records. In other words, speed records cannot be broken by an elite athlete who has not pre-acclimatized.

So for the average person, the shortest route one can realistically complete is the 5 day Marangu route.

Fastest Kilimanjaro Ascents

Here are some of the amazing world record holders on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Fastest Summit (2014) – Karl Egloff of Switzerland climbed to the peak in just 4 hours 56 minutes. He also holds the record for the fastest ascent and descent, completing the round trip in 6 hours 42 minutes (achieved during the same record breaking summit).

Fastest Summit by a Female (2018) – Kristina Schou Madsen of Denmark made it to the summit in 6 hours 52 minutes.

Fastest Unaided Ascent and Descent (2006) – Simon Mtuy of Tanzania carried his own food, water and clothing to complete the round trip in 9 hours 19 minutes.