Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Kilimanjaro is a mountain in northeastern Tanzania. It includes the highest peak in Africa. Although believed to be extinct by many, this volcano is very much active. Fumaroles emit gas in the crater on the main summit of Kibo. Scientists in 2003 concluded that molten lava is just 400 metres below the summit crater. Although new activity is not expected, there are fears the volcano may collapse causing a major eruption similar to Mount St. Helens. Several collapses and landslides have occurred on Kibo in the past, one creating the area known as the western breach.
The highest point is Uhuru Peak on the volcano Kibo, 5,895 metres. It is therefore considered one of the Seven Summits. The summit was first scaled and climbed by the German Hans Meyer and Austrian Ludwig Purtscheller in 1889.
Two other peaks are also extinct volcanoes: Mawensi (5,149 metres), the third highest peak in Africa (after Mount Kenya) and Shira (3,962 m). An ascent of Mawensi requires rock climbing and/or snow/ice climbing skills.
The climb to Uhuru Peak is considered to be a relatively straightforward endeavour, however ample time must still be provided for proper acclimatization to prevent altitude sickness. The three easiest routes, Marangu, Rongai and Machame can be climbed by a person of good health, and require no mountaineering experience. Other routes such as the Polish Glacier and the Western Breach are much more technical in nature. Annually, approximately 15,000 people attempt to climb the mountain, of whom 40% reach the summit.
Due to the an equatorial location as well as huge height, climbers can experience most every climate type on earth during the journey to the top. Although there is no recorded history of eruptions, local legend speaks of activity around 170 years ago.
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