Kilimanjaro Climb Success Rates: How Many People Reach the Summit? Climbing Kilimanjaro is an once-in-a-lifetime adventure for many people. However, not all climbers reach the summit of this largest mountain in Africa, and to reach the summit, you need to know your possibilities of actually reaching the peak and which routes provide you with the best opportunity.
Kilimanjaro Success Rate for Summit is 66% on average. These statistics come from the nearly 30,000 climbers that try to reach the Mountain’s peak each year. There are six paths available for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, each with a different success rate.
The success rate of a climb up Mount Kilimanjaro depends not only on the routes’ suitability and acclimatization profiles but also on the climber’s experience, level of physical and mental fitness, use of high-quality equipment, and supervision from knowledgeable guides.
KILIMANJARO SUMMITING SUCCESS RATE BY ROUTE
MACHAME ROUTE SUCCESS RATE
Most climbers ascend Kilimanjaro via the Machame route, which is used by about 50% of all hikers. The route offers beautiful geography and scenery, and it can be done in 6 or 7 days. Because of this, both the 6- and 7-day routes have excellent climb high, sleep low profiles, and high summit success rates, especially for climbers who take the extra day to acclimate.
According to our conversations with numerous top tour guides, the average summit success rate for the seven-day Machame trek is above 85%, compared to 73% for the six-day trek.
RONGAI ROUTE SUCCESS RATE
The only route that departs from the mountain’s northern side is the Rongai route. It is available on a 6- and 7-day schedule, the same as the Machame. However, the Machame route has an excellent climb-high, sleep-low profile, whereas the Rongai route does not, which may make this route more challenging. As the six-day option is challenging, spending an extra day on the mountain becomes even more beneficial.
According to our preferred tour companies, the 7-day schedule has an 85% success rate at reaching the peak, compared to a 70% success rate for the 6-day approach.
LEMOSHO ROUTE SUCCESS RATE
The Lemosho Route, which is perhaps our personal favorite, is quickly rising to the top of Kilimanjaro’s most popular routes. On day four, the Lemosho path joins the busier Machame route. The Lemosho route is a stunning and isolated trip that approaches the peak from the south-west.
Although it is often performed over the course of 7 or 8 days, some operators offer it as a 6-day trip in an effort to cut costs. The route offers excellent acclimatization and a really nice high-altitude climb and low-profile sleep despite starting at a higher altitude than other routes.
The success rate for the Lemosho route is strong; it typically ranges between 90% and 85% for the 8-day and 7-day options, respectively. The success rate for the less common 6-day option is about 75%.
NORTHERN CIRCUIT SUCCESS RATE
This is the mountain’s newest path, which circles the mountain by traveling via all of its northern slopes. The Northern Circuit, which takes 9 days, is also the longest trip. With an average summit success rate of over 95%, it is the safest and most effective route up Kilimanjaro due to its length. This is likely your best option if you have the time and want to avoid the more popular routes.
MARANGU ROUTE SUCCESS RATE
The Marangu Path is the most well-known and historic ascent of Kilimanjaro. Because it is the quickest path and offers hut accommodations the entire way up, it is very popular. It is frequently regarded as the “easiest” trekking path to the summit, but nearly every statistic on summit success rates contradicts this, showing that the rates are by far the lowest of any other route—frequently below 60%!
The primary factor for this is, of course, the route’s popularity as a short 5-day climb, which prevents climbers from getting the required acclimatization. Local tour guides choose the Marangu Route because it has a rapid turnaround and doesn’t require camping equipment.
If you want to follow the Marangu route, we advise selecting the 6-day itinerary because it has a considerably higher rate of summit success than the 5-day option.
HOW TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF KILIMANJARO SUMMIT SUCCESS?
While we cannot claim with certainty which operator has the highest summit success rates, we can state with certainty that a patient, steady ascent provides climbers the best chance of success. Spending more time on the mountain significantly increases your chances of summiting. Your body has more time to adjust and acclimatize to the altitude the longer you leave it on the mountain. In essence, your chances of succeeding increase the farther you walk.
For instance, you might increase your chances of summiting Mount Kilimanjaro by acclimatizing on Mt. Meru first. The profile of the trip is also crucial, and all competent guides will suggest routes with a high climb and low sleep. To give your body the chance it needs to acclimate, this entails hiking to the higher areas during the day and sleeping on the lower sections.
OFFICIAL KILIMANJARO SUCCESS RATE STATISTICS
There are no official statistics on Kilimanjaro climbs and summit success rates other than dated and inaccurate data from the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority.
The figures provided by the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority were first released in the early 2000s, and they heavily favor short 5-day treks, which have declined in popularity in recent years as travelers have grown more aware of the dangers of altitude sickness on these short routes. The summit success rate data released by the Kilimanjaro National Park is provided below.
Please note that these statistics are outdated, and summit success rates now are certainly higher due to improved route profiles and a plateau in the number of hikers choosing 5-day journeys. The overall success rate on Kilimanjaro is 65%.
- On 5-day routes, the success rate is just 27% (Marangu, Umbwe).
- On 6-day routes, the success rate is 44% (Machame, Marangu, and Rongai).
- On 7-day routes, the success rate is 64% (Machame, Lemosho, and Rongai).
- On 8-day routes, the success rate is 85%. (Lemosho, Northern Circuit)
UNDERSTANDING KILIMANJARO SUCCESS RATE THROUGH RECENT STUDIES
According to a study by Wilderness and Environmental Medicine titled “Determinants of Summiting Success and Acute Mountain Sickness on Mt. Kilimanjaro (5895m),” the average Kilimanjaro Success rate is 61%, and more than 77% of climbers had acute mountain sickness (AMS).
- In addition, the study found that acetazolamide users had a lower risk of developing altitude sickness (AMS) and higher summit rates than those who did not take the medication.
- Climbers who spent an extra day acclimatizing, in addition to using acetazolamide, had a better probability of avoiding AMS symptoms than climbers who didn’t spend an extra day acclimatizing.