Swiss-Ecuadorian speed runner to break own Kilimanjaro record

KARL Egloff, a dual Swiss-Ecuadorian national has set his sights in breaking his 2014 record of the fastest Mt Kilimanjaro Climb, in a week’s time.

The mountain sprinter currently holds the fastest ascent and descent of Africa’s rooftop having clocked 4 hours 56 minutes, breaking Kilian Jornet’s record of 5 hours 23 minutes set the previous year.

Like Kilian, Karl climbed from Umbwe Gate to Uhuru via the Western Breach, and descended at Mweka Gate.

After 4 minutes’ rest on the summit, he descended to the park gate in 1 hour 42 minutes.

His total ascent and descent time was therefore 6 hours 42 minutes.

Speaking here on Tuesday, Egloff who will sprint up and down Africa’s highest mountain on September 13, said he was looking forward to such a beyond human imagination adventure.

The sprinter made his feelings known to journalists of how excited he was of his dare devil mission as he begins his sprint from the treacherous Umbwe Gate all the way to Uhuru peak and descend on the same day at Mweka Gate which is elevated at 1640 meters.

“I’ve waited for years now and no one has come close to such a feat, it is my turn to do the honors,” boasted the speed runner.

Egloff didn’t however shy away from the daunting challenges he encountered eight years ago, which he said made him spend much time up and down the mountain.

“I had sore feet back then, soil filled up my shoes, and I also lost my way up,” recalled the Swiss-Ecuadorian.

On his part, Tanzanian Gaudence Lekule who still holds the record of being the only African who spent eight hours and 36 minutes running up and down the mountain, said he’ll climb Africa’s rooftop three days prior to Egloff’s challenge to mark routes for the much awaited record-breaking adventure.

“We already have a Safari outfit in place and we are expected to designate water points and other crucial coordinates,” explained Mr Lekule.

Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa at 5,895 meters, is trekked by thousands of people every year – some figures suggest that 35,000 people attempt the summit on a yearly basis.

On average, most trekkers take six days to ascend and a day to descend for a total trekking time of seven days.

The slow progress on Kilimanjaro is on account of the high altitude that can lead to severe and dangerous conditions like Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), and its deadly variants, cerebral and pulmonary edema.

However, many speed runners on Kilimanjaro acclimatise on Mount Meru before conquering Africa’s rooftop.

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