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Kilimanjaro vs. Everest – Comparing the Trekking Challenges

Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa and the highest freestanding mountain in the world, situated in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania. It rises to an elevation of 5,895 meters above sea level, with three volcanic cones: Shira, Mawenzi, and Kibo.

Mount Kilimanjaro lies within Kilimanjaro National Park, established in 1973 to protect the mountain and its surrounding areas. The main tourist activity in the park is mountain climbing, with approximately 30,000 people visiting Kilimanjaro National Park annually.

The glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro are estimated to be 11,700 years old, although they could drastically disappear by 2060, according to a study by the European Geosciences Union.

Mount Everest

Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world, rising to an elevation of 8,848.86 meters above sea level. It is located in the Mahalagur Himal sub-range of the Himalayas, with the China-Nepal border running across its summit.

Mount Everest was formed when India’s continental plate crashed into Asia, raising a huge mass of land upward and creating the world’s highest mountain. It is estimated that the mountain grows by 44 millimeters annually due to the continuous shifting of tectonic plates.

Is Hiking Kilimanjaro Harder than Everest?

Mount Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro are both among the world’s seven summits, and comparing the two is a bit complicated because each has its own advantages and disadvantages, which can be looked at below:

Mount Kilimanjaro:

  • Requires a night trek to the summit, which is harder than Mount Everest.
  • Summit night on Kilimanjaro starts at midnight and takes about 6 to 8 hours to reach the summit, with another 2-4 hours for the descent.
  • The hike to the summit is uncomfortable because there are only a few hours to rest, and you have to move through the darkness for several hours before reaching the peak in the morning.
  • Not harder than hiking Mount Everest because while hiking Kilimanjaro, tourists drive to several points to start the hike.
  • Unlike Mount Everest, Kilimanjaro makes you more prone to altitude sickness, making it harder to hike.
  • Lower average success rate (45%) compared to Mount Everest (90% success rate).
  • If not used to sleeping in a tent in the cold, it might be harder because only one route provides comfortable accommodation, while in other routes, you have to sleep in a tent every night.

Mount Everest:

  • All hikes are done during the daytime, and there is no need for a big climb on summit day.
  • Involves a 10 to 14-day trek to the base camp and takes approximately 39 to 40 days to reach the summit.
  • Hiking Mount Everest involves a slower ascent to altitude, reducing the risk of altitude sickness.
  • Hikes about 10 to 18 kilometers per day.
  • Trekkers sleep in comfortable accommodation.

The best way to make your climb to Mount Kilimanjaro easier is by choosing a longer route that gives your body enough time to acclimatize to altitude and also selecting an easier route that does not require you to be in excellent physical shape.


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