Kibo Summit of Kilimanjaro
|Elevation||5,895 m (19,341 ft)|
|Prominence||5,885 m (19,308 ft)
|Location||Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania|
|Topo map||Kilimanjaro map and guide by Wielochowski|
|Last eruption||Between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago|
Mount Kilimanjaro //, with its three volcanic cones, Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira, is a dormant volcanic mountain in Tanzania. It is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world at 5,895 metres (19,341 ft) above sea level.
Kilimanjaro is a large stratovolcano and is composed of three distinct volcanic cones: Kibo, the highest; Mawenzi at 5,149 metres (16,893 ft); and Shira, the shortest at 4,005 metres (13,140 ft). Uhuru Peak is the highest summit on Kibo's crater rim. Tanzania National Parks, a governmental agency, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization list the height of Uhuru Peak as 5,895 m (19,341 ft). That height is based on a British Ordnance Survey in 1952. Since then, the height has been measured as 5,892 metres (19,331 ft) in 1999, 5,891 metres (19,327 ft) in 2008, and 5,888 metres (19,318 ft) in 2014.
Mawenzi and Shira are extinct, while Kibo is dormant and could erupt again. The last major eruption has been dated to between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago. Kibo has gas-emitting fumaroles in its crater.
Several collapses and landslides have occurred on Kibo before, one creating the area known as the Western Breach.
The origin of the name "Kilimanjaro" is not precisely known, but a number of theories exist. European explorers had adopted the name by 1860 and reported that "Kilimanjaro" was the mountain's Kiswahili name. But according to the 1907 edition of The Nuttall Encyclopædia, the name of the mountain was "Kilima-Njaro".
Johann Ludwig Krapf wrote in 1860 that Swahilis along the coast called the mountain "Kilimanjaro". Although he did not support his claim, he claimed that "Kilimanjaro" meant either "mountain of greatness" or "mountain of caravans". Under the latter meaning, "Kilima" meant "mountain" and "Jaro" possibly meant "caravans".
Jim Thompson claimed in 1885, although he also did not support his claim,
The term Kilima-Njaro has generally been understood to mean the Mountain (Kilima) of Greatness (Njaro). This is probably as good a derivation as any other, though not improbably it may mean the "White" mountain, as I believe the term "Njaro" has in former times been used to denote whiteness, and though this application of the word is now obsolete on the coast, it is still heard among some of the interior tribes. Either translation is equally applicable.... By the Wa-chaga[,] the mountain is not known under one name, the two masses which form it being respectively named Kibo and Kimawenzi.
"Njaro" is an ancient Kiswahili word for "shining". Similarly, Krapf wrote that a chief of the Wakamba people, whom he visited in 1849, "had been to Jagga and had seen the Kima jaJeu, mountain of whiteness, the name given by the Wakamba to Kilimanjaro...." More correctly in the Kikamba language, this would be Kiima Kyeu, and this possible derivation has been popular with several investigators.
Others have assumed that "Kilima" is Kiswahili for "mountain". The problem with this assumption is that "Kilima" actually means "hill" and is, therefore, the diminutive of "Mlima", the proper Kiswahili word for mountain. However, "[i]t is ... possible ... that an early European visitor, whose knowledge of [Kiswahili] was not extensive, changed mlima to kilima by analogy with the two Chagga names; Kibo and Kimawenzi."
A different approach is to assume that the "Kileman" part of Kilimanjaro comes from the Kichagga "kileme", which means "which defeats", or "kilelema", which means "which has become difficult or impossible". The "Jaro" part would "then be derived from njaare, a bird, or, according to other informants, a leopard, or, possibly from jyaro a caravan."
According to one [Wachagga] informant, the old men tell the story that long ago the Wachagga, having seen the snowy dome, decided to go up to investigate; naturally, they did not get very far. Hence the name: kilemanjaare, or kilemanyaro, or possibly kilelemanjaare etc.- "which defeats," or which is impossible for, the bird, the leopard, or the caravan. This is attractive as being entirely made up of [Wachagga] elements based on an imaginable situation, but the fact remains that the name Kilimanjaro is not, and apparently never has been, current among the Wachagga as the name of the mountain. Is this then only, as other Wachagga suggest, a latter-day attempt to find a [Wachagga] explanation when pressed to do so by a foreign enquirer? Is it perhaps arguable that the early porters from the coast hearing the Wachagga say kilemanjaare or kilemajyaro, meaning simply that it was impossible to climb the mountain, imagined this to be the name of the mountain, and associated it with their own kilima? Did they then report to the European leaders of the expedition that the name of the mountain was, their version of the Kichagga, which, further assimilated by the European hearer, finally became standardised as Kilimanjaro?
On 6 October 1889, Hans Meyer reached the highest summit on the crater ridge of Kibo. He named it "Kaiser-Wilhelm-Spitze" ("Kaiser Wilhelm peak"). That name apparently was used until Tanzania was formed in 1964, when the summit was renamed "Uhuru", meaning "Freedom Peak" in Kiswahili.
In 1861, the German officer Baron Karl Klaus von der Decken made a first attempt to climb Kibo but "got no farther than 8,200 feet (2,500 m) owing to the inclemency of the weather." In 1862, von der Decken tried a second time together with Otto Kersten. They reached a height of 14,000 feet (4,300 m).
In June 1887, the Hungarian Count Sámuel Teleki and Austrian Lieutenant Ludwig von Höhnel made an attempt to climb the mountain. Approaching from the saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo, Höhnel stopped at 4,950 meters (16,240 ft), but Teleki pushed through until he reached the snow at 5,300 meters (17,400 ft).
Later in 1887 during his first attempt to climb Kilimanjaro, the German geology professor Hans Meyer reached the lower edge of the ice cap on Kibo, where he was forced to turn back because he lacked the equipment needed to handle the ice.:page 81 The following year, Meyer planned another attempt with Oscar Baumann, a cartographer, but the mission was aborted after the pair were held hostage and ransomed during the Abushiri Revolt.:page 82
In the autumn of 1888, the American naturalist Dr. Abbott and the German explorer Otto Ehrenfried Ehlers approached the summit from the northwest. While Abbott turned back earlier, Ehlers at first claimed to have reach the summit rim but, after severe criticism of that claim, later withdrew it.
In 1889, Meyer returned to Kilimanjaro with Austrian mountaineer Ludwig Purtscheller for a third attempt.:page 82 The success of this attempt was based on the establishment of several campsites with food supplies so that multiple attempts at the top could be made without having to descend too far.:page 82 Meyer and Purtscheller pushed to near the crater rim on October 3 but turned around exhausted from hacking footsteps in the icy slope.:page 82 Three days later, on Purtscheller's fortieth birthday, they reached the highest summit on the southern rim of the crater.:page 82 They were the first to confirm that Kibo has a crater.:page 82 After descending to the saddle between Kibo and Mawenzi, Meyer and Purtscheller attempted to climb the more technically challenging Mawenzi but could reach only the top of Klute Peak, a subsidiary peak, before retreating due to illness.:page 84 On October 18, they reascended Kibo to enter and study the crater, cresting the rim at Hans Meyers Notch.:page 84 In total, Meyer and Purtscheller spent 16 days above 15,000 feet (4,600 m) during their expedition.:page 84
The first ascent of the highest summit of Mawenzi was made on 29 July 1912, by the German climbers Edward Oehler and Fritz Klute, who christened it Hans Meyer Peak. Oehler and Klute went on to make the third-ever ascent of Kibo, via the Drygalski Glacier, and descended via the Western Breach.:page 85
In 1989, the organizing committee of the 100-year celebration of the first ascent decided to award posthumous certificates to the African porter-guides who had accompanied Meyer and Purtscheller. One person in pictures or documents of the 1889 expedition was thought to match a living inhabitant of Marangu, Yohani Kinyala Lauwo. Lauwo did not know his own age. Nor did he remember Meyer or Purtscheller, but he remembered joining a Kilimanjaro expedition involving a Dutch doctor who lived near the mountain and that he did not get to wear shoes during the climb. Lauwo claimed that he had climbed the mountain three times before the beginning of World War I. The committee concluded that he had been a member of Meyer's team and therefore must have been born around 1871. Lauwo died on 10 May 1996 and is now sometimes suggested as co-first-ascendant of Kilimanjaro.
A map of the Kibo cone on Mount Kilimanjaro was published by the British government's Directorate of Overseas Surveys in 1964 based on aerial photography conducted in 1962 (Subset of Kilimanjaro, East Africa (Tanganyika) Series Y742, Sheet 56/2, D.O.S. 422 1964, Edition 1, Scale 1:50,000).
Tourist mapping was first published by the Ordnance Survey in England in 1989 based on the original DOS mapping (1:100,000, 100 ft intervals, DOS 522). EWP[who?] produced a map with tourist information in 1990 (1:75,000, 100 meter contour intervals, inset maps of Kibo and Mawenzi on 1:20,000 and 1:30,000 scales respectively and 50 meter contour interval). In the last few years, numerous other maps have become available of various qualities. 3D route maps are also available online.
There are seven official trekking routes by which to ascend and descend Mount Kilimanjaro: Lemosho, Machame, Marangu, Mweka, Rongai, Shira, and Umbwe. Of all the routes, Machame is considered the most scenic, albeit steeper, route. It can be done in six or seven days. The Rongai is the easiest and least scenic of all camping routes. The Marangu is also relatively easy, but this route tends to be very busy, the ascent and descent routes are the same, and accommodation is in shared huts with all other climbers.
People who wish to trek to the summit of Kilimanjaro are advised to undertake appropriate research and ensure that they are both properly equipped and physically capable. Though the climb is technically not as challenging as when climbing the high peaks of the Himalayas or Andes, the high elevation, low temperature, and occasional high winds make this a difficult and dangerous trek. Acclimatisation is essential, and even the most experienced trekkers suffer some degree of altitude sickness. Kilimanjaro summit is well above the altitude at which high altitude pulmonary edema or high altitude cerebral edema can occur. All trekkers will suffer considerable discomfort, typically shortage of breath, hypothermia, and headaches.
Trekkers fall on steep portions of the mountain, and rock slides have killed trekkers. For this reason, the route via the Arrow Glacier was closed for several years, reopening in December 2007.
Memorial recognizing Hans Meyer as the first European to "conquer" Kilimanjaro
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (November 2014)|
Being an Afromontane sky island, Kilimanjaro has an enormous biodiversity while low in endemic species. However endemics include the giant groundsels in the bunchgrass tussock grasslands, and other flora adapted to living in alpine plant conditions.
Kilimanjaro rises approximately 4,877 metres (16,001 ft) from its base in the plains near Moshi. Kibo is capped by an almost symmetrical cone with scarps rising 180 meters (590 ft) to 200 meters (660 ft) on the south side. These scarps define a 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi) wide caldera. Within this caldera is the Reusch Crater, which the Tanganyika government in 1954 named after Gustav Otto Richard Reusch upon his climbing the mountain for the 25th time (out of 65 attempts during his lifetime). The Ash Pit, 350 metres (1,150 ft) deep, lies within the crater.
A continuous ice cap covering approximately 400 square kilometres (150 sq mi) down to an elevation of 3,200 metres (10,500 ft) covered Kilimanjaro during the maximum of the last period of glaciation in the Pleistocene, extending across the summits of Kibo and Mawenzi.
In the late 1880s, the summit of Kibo was completely covered by an ice cap covering about 20 square kilometres (7.7 sq mi) with outlet glaciers cascading down the western and southern slopes, and except for the inner cone, the entire caldera was buried. Glacier ice also flowed through the Western Breach.
An examination of ice cores taken from Kilimanjaro's northern ice field indicates that the glaciers there have a basal age of 11,700 years. Those glaciers survived a widespread drought during a three century period beginning around 2,200 BC.
The slope glaciers retreated rapidly between 1912 and 1953, in response to a sudden shift in climate at the end of the 19th century that made them "drastically out of equilibrium", and more slowly thereafter. Their continuing demise indicates they are still out of equilibrium in response to a constant change in climate over the last 100 years.
In contrast to the persistent slope glaciers, the glaciers on Kilimanjaro's crater plateau have appeared and disappeared repeatedly during the Holocene, with each cycle lasting a few hundred years. It appears that decreasing specific humidity instead of temperature changes has caused the shrinkage of the plateau glaciers since the late 19th century. No statistically significant warming at the elevation of those glaciers occurred between 1948 and 2005. Although air temperatures at that elevation are always below freezing, solar radiation causes melting on their vertical faces. "There is no pathway for the plateau glaciers other than to continuously retreat once their vertical margins are exposed to solar radiation."
Almost 85 percent of the ice cover on Kilimanjaro disappeared from October 1912 to June 2011, with coverage decreasing from 11.40 square kilometres (4.40 sq mi) to 1.76 square kilometres (0.68 sq mi). From 1912 to 1953, there was about a 1.1 percent average annual loss. The average annual loss for 1953 to 1989 was 1.4 percent while the loss rate for 1989 to 2007 was 2.5 percent. Of the ice cover still present in 2000, almost 40 percent had disappeared by 2011. The glaciers are thinning in addition to losing areal coverage. While the current shrinking and thinning of Kilimanjaro's ice fields appears to be unique within its almost twelve millennium history, it is contemporaneous with widespread glacier retreat in mid-to-low latitudes across the globe. At the current rate, most of the ice on Kilimanjaro will disappear by 2040 and "it is highly unlikely that any ice body will remain after 2060".
A complete disappearance of the ice would be of only "negligible importance" to the water budget of the area around the mountain. The forests of Kilimanjaro, far below the ice fields, "are [the] essential water reservoirs for the local and regional populations".
In popular culture
- Arrow Glacier
- Balletto Glacier
- Barranco Glacier
- Chaga people
- Credner Glacier
- Drygalski Glacier (Tanzania)
- Furtwängler Glacier
- Great Penck Glacier
- List of volcanoes in Tanzania
- Little Penck Glacier
- Northern Ice Field (Mount Kilimanjaro)
- Rebmann Glacier
- The Snows of Kilimanjaro
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- 3D Maps
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