Torn between hiking Mont Blanc vs Kilimanjaro? Perhaps you've completed one and are contemplating tackling the other, or you're simply curious about how they compare.
This article will take you through all you need to know about these two mountains, including difficulty, preparation and the best times to climb.
And, when you're ready to embark on your summit quest, Skyhook's got you covered. We offer guided expeditions to summit both Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, led by experienced local guides.
Mont Blanc vs Kilimanjaro Overview
Mont Blanc, or Monte Bianco, which quite literally means "White Mountain," proudly claims its position as the highest peak in Western Europe.
At an elevation of 4,808 metres, this magnificent alpine giant is synonymous with pristine snowfields, dramatic glaciers, and rocky summits that are nothing short of breathtaking.
Shared by France and Italy, Mont Blanc's location makes it a compelling destination. With its alpine charm and proximity to Europe's bustling cities, Mont Blanc has been a magnet for European mountaineers seeking a taste of high-altitude adventure without travelling too far.
Kilimanjaro is Africa's crown jewel at 5,895 metres. It’s the tallest mountain on the African continent, as well as the largest free-standing mountain in the world (check out more Kilimanjaro facts).
Kilimanjaro offers a unique proposition for mountaineers. It is a non-technical climb and is typically considered the easiest of the Seven Summits. This accessibility attracts a diverse array of trekkers and adventurers, making Kilimanjaro one of the most sought-after summits in the world.
The allure of Kilimanjaro isn't just about the altitude; it's also about the sheer contrast between its high-altitude glaciers and the surrounding savannah teeming with wildlife. After your trek, going on safari in the nearby national parks is a great addition.
Difficulty and Accessibility
Mountains offer an exhilarating adventure, but let's not kid ourselves; they come with challenges. Here is what our two options today present
With an elevation of 4,808 metres, Mont Blanc's high-altitude environment packs a punch.
While Mont Blanc's climbing difficulty depends on your fitness and experience, come prepared for steep, rocky terrain and the ever-present threat of changing weather conditions. Technical mountaineering skills are often essential, as crevasses and ice walls pose a formidable challenge.
To reach Mont Blanc, you'll find yourself nestled in the heart of Europe, and getting to the Alps is a relatively straightforward affair. Major cities like Geneva, Milan, and Chamonix serve as gateways.
Kilimanjaro presents a more accessible option for those who don’t have mountaineering or alpine climbing experience under their belt. While Kilimanjaro is not a technically demanding to climb, the altitude makes it difficult and potentially dangerous. Prepare for prolonged exposure to high altitudes, steep ascents, and various climates as you move through different ecological zones. Feeling the effects of altitude sickness can and does happen to trekkers.
Access to Kilimanjaro is more off the beaten path than Mont Blanc, especially considering the mountain’s East African location. Kilimanjaro International Airport is usually your touchdown point to the country, with the nearby towns of Moshi and Arusha serving as entry points to the park.
Best Time to Climb
The best time to climb Mont Blanc is during summer (July to September). This is when the weather is most stable, and the risk of avalanches and crevasses is low.
The best time to hike Mount Kilimanjaro is January to March and June to October. These are the dry months in Tanzania, which offer the most comfortable trekking conditions. Regarding Kilimanjaro weather, April to May and November to December are rainy seasons that make a more interesting bid for the summit. During these months, it's best to hike the Rongai route.
Requirements for Climbing Mont Blanc vs Kilimanjaro
At Mont Blanc, you'll need a climbing permit and register with the local authorities. Costs vary but expect to shell out a few quid for the privilege.
The process involves providing details of your intended route and dates, usually through online applications or at local tourist offices. Keep in mind that regulations are subject to change, so stay updated.
In Tanzania, the land of Kilimanjaro, you'll need to purchase a trekking permit and other related hiking fees. Kilimanjaro climbing costs depend on the route you choose for your climb.
2. Gear and Equipment
In the European Alps, Mont Blanc's high-altitude demands mean you must kit yourself out appropriately. Your Tour du Mont Blanc gear list includes quality mountaineering boots with crampons and ice axes. Dress warmly with multiple layers, as the weather can be unpredictable.
Kilimanjaro is a non-technical climb, meaning you don't need any technical gear like ice axes or crampons. You'll still need robust trekking boots, layered clothing for varying climates, and a trusty daypack. Insulation is your friend at high altitudes. Here's what to pack for Kilimanjaro.
3. Physical Preparation
You'll need to be in good physical shape to climb either mountain, which means training in advance. Here are 12 training exercises that apply to both mountains.
You want to focus on cardiovascular fitness, leg strength, and endurance. Hill sprints, stair workouts, and long hikes will also help, as will core strength and flexibility exercises – they'll help you navigate those tricky spots and carry your backpack with ease.
Acclimatisation is crucial in Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro. Spend a few days at higher altitudes to allow your body to adjust. Avoid the temptation to rush up.
Our itineraries are designed to ascend slowly, with built-in rest days. Drink water and watch out for any signs of altitude sickness, including headaches, nausea, and dizziness.
5. Safety Precautions
Listen to your guide and communicate any discomfort while climbing either mountain. The mountain terrain can be treacherous, so ensure you're well-versed in using your gear.
Stay updated on weather conditions and have an emergency plan and travel insurance cover. In an emergency, local mountain rescue teams are available for assistance.