“Kilimanjaro is a snow-covered mountain 19,710 feet high, and is said to be the highest mountain in Africa. Its western summit is called the Masai 'Ngaje Ngai', the House of God.” So begins Ernest Hemingway’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro, one of the many stories that have helped cement the legend of this beguiling mountain - and make it one of the most popular of the Seven Summits.
What the adventure involves
Hemingway might have helped build Kilimanjaro’s reputation, but he got a couple of key things wrong. The mountain is slightly shorter than his 1936 short story claimed - just 19,340 feet, or 5,895m. And although he paints it as a place of death, and a dangerous peak, it is actually one of the safest - and most frequently climbed - of the Seven Summits.
Snow and ice cover the peak, despite the mountain’s equatorial location, but don’t present a serious impediment to climbing it. Meanwhile, the gently sloping slopes mean that, although a high level of fitness is essential, no technical climbing skill is needed. For many people, this is the first of the Seven Summits they tackle, and it makes an excellent warm-up peak for more rigorous challenges later in a climbing career.