Only one climber—Hans Meyer—got to be the first to officially summit Kilimanjaro. Since then, however, many others have left their mark on the mountain. Whether they’re doing it younger, older, faster, or under extreme conditions, these record-holders are definitely amongst the most noteworthy Kilimanjaro summiteers in the mountain’s history:
Fastest Ascent/Descent: This is a hotly-contested record, and every few months, someone tries to steal the title. Since 2010, however, it’s been held by Spanish climber and mountain runner, Kilian Jornet Burgada. Just 22 years old at the time, Burgada managed to reach the summit in a mere 5 hours, 23 minutes, and 50 seconds.
But he didn’t stop there: Burgada immediately turned around and ran back down the mountain, earning himself another title that day, the fastest ascent/descent of the mountain, a feat he managed in a mere 7 hours and 14 minutes.
Fastest Unaided Ascent/Descent: Running to the top in just over five hours is pretty incredible, but getting up and down the mountain in less than a day without anyone to help with your gear is another level of difficulty.
The current record-holder for unaided ascent/descent is a Tanzanian climber, Simon Mtuy. He managed to get up and back again in just 9 hours, 21 minutes, and 47 seconds…and he even spent a few minutes capturing a video of himself at the top!
Oldest Summiteer: Though the “official” record holder (according to Guinness) is Richard Byerley, who summited at 84 years and 71 days old in 2011, there are several others who could lay claim to the title. The oldest was a Frenchman, Valtee Daniel, who was allegedly 87 years old when he reached the summit! Unfortunately, his climb wasn’t independently verified.
Youngest Summiteer: Technically, no one under the age of 10 is supposed to attempt a Kili trek. Many have, however, the best-known being 7-year-old Keats Boyd, who summited in 2008.
Since then, however, other, younger climbers have allegedly reached the top. The youngest of all, Bran Rees-Evans (whose mother, Rebecca Rees-Evans, held the record for fastest female ascent from 2005-2011), was apparently just 5 years, 136 days old the day he reached Uhuru Peak!
Most Summits: If you allowed the Kilimanjaro guides and porters to compete in this category, the record might top 700 climbs (many Thomson guides have over 250 summits, and some have many more)!
If you limit it to folks who don’t work on Kili, though, the record is likely still held by one of Kili’s earliest enthusiasts, Richard Reusch. It’s believed that he achieved between 50 and 75 summits in his lifetime!
Fastest Summit…on Crutches: Believe it or not, this is a Guinness-verified record! The climber was a Brit, John Sandford Hart, and he reached the top in a (comparatively) swift 4 days, 20 hours, and 30 minutes!
Most Impressive Kili Climber: There have been dozens of inspiring summits, by climbers working for a cause, fighting disabilities or disease, or working under serious limitations (self-imposed or otherwise).
But if we had to choose the most impressive summiteer, it would go to someone…whose name we don’t actually know. That’s because that someone is, in fact, a dog.
Discovered by hikers, the dog seems to actually be living on Uhuru Peak (an impressive feat, as anyone who’s braved the summit temperatures can attest!).
The most amazing part?
Presumably he made it up there without a guide…OR a porter team.