Five-Year-Old Climbs Kilimanjaro and Breaks World Record

Five-Year-Old Climbs Kilimanjaro and Breaks World Record

We always have many clients asking us which ages can climb Kilimanjaro. In general, 10 is the legal age to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

The record for the youngest person to climb Kilimanjaro is currently held by Ognjen Živković, who was just 5 years old at the time of his climb. He achieved this feat by following the Machame route and completed the journey in six days.

On August 6th 2023 at 06:30 AM, Ognjen reached the summit of Kilimanjaro, making him the youngest person to ever do so.

Special permits can be made for younger children who want to climb the mountain as long as they have support from their parents or legal guardians. These permits have to be applied for ahead of time from the Kilimanjaro National Park Authorities.

So, even though 10 years old is usually the minimum age, younger kids can still climb!

Ognjen made the climb with guides, assistant guides, porters, and a chef just like every other climber who goes up the mountain. He also climbed with his dad, Zoran Zivkovic.

Zoran has over 20 years of mountaineering experience and passed on this passion to Ognjen where they got the idea to climb Kilimanjaro together.

Ognjen is from Serbia, but he and his family currently live in Germany. His mom was not able to climb with him because she stayed at home caring for Ognjen’s younger sibling.

Before Ognjen made his successful summit, the world record for the youngest person to summit Kilimanjaro was Coalton Tanner. He was 6 years old at the time of summiting.

How Did a 5-Year-Old Get to Climb Kilimanjaro?

As mentioned before, permits can be obtained for kids younger than 10 who want to climb Kilimanjaro. Not all permits are approved though.

The child has to show that they have extensive climbing or hiking experience as well as the mental ability to handle such a feat.

They also need to receive written permission from their parents saying they are allowed to climb Kilimanjaro. One of the parents also has to climb the mountain with the child which means they also need to be physically and mentally fit.

How Did Ognjen Train to Climb Kilimanjaro?

As with all climbers, children are recommended to train and physically prepare for the climb. Ognjen and his dad trained for over a year by doing several different climbs and hikes. They mostly trained in the Bavarian Alps and in different places in Norway.

Ognjen started hiking and climbing when he was just three years old but he still had to do many different training experiences to ensure he was prepared for Kilimanjaro.

It also helps that Zoran, his dad, is a doctor. He was able to ensure Ognjen had the proper training and that he wasn’t experiencing any altitude sickness.

In fact, his dad got an altitude tent for him which is specially designed to mimic sleeping in low oxygen conditions. Ognjen slept in this tent before the climb so his body could adjust more easily to the altitude differences that climbers experience on Kilimanjaro.


What Route Did Ognjen Climb?

Ognjen and his dad climbed Kilimanjaro via the Machame route and they did it in 6 days. The Machame route is one of the most popular routes up the mountain because it allows people to acclimatize easily.

It also has beautiful scenery and allows people to have many different scenic views as they reach the summit.


Ognjen and His Kilimanjaro Crew

If you’re preparing to climb Kilimanjaro, you have probably read many things online about the porters who will help you up and down the mountain.

Porters are the backbone of every climbing crew because they carry all the heavy equipment like tents and duffel bags.

When it comes to climbing with children, the guides and porters on Kilimanjaro need to be extra attentive. While most climbers have to carry their own small daypack, the porters and Ognjen’s dad helped him with his backpack for most of the climb so that he didn’t have any extra weight on his shoulders.

During the descent after summiting, one of the porters also carried Ognjen through several sections of the trail because it was very muddy and they didn’t want him to slip and get injured.

With all routes and climbs, the guides and porters can make or break your experience. Climbing Kilimanjaro has highly trained and Wilderness First Responder guides and assistant guides to ensure you get the help you need to reach the Kilimanjaro summit Uhuru Peak.

We also strive to treat our Kilimanjaro porters ethically and ensure they are properly cared for and paid, unlike many other companies that climb the mountain.

We have people of all ages climb with us! We have children and people even older than 70 who successfully summit with Climbing Kilimanjaro.

No matter your age, we would love to have you climb with us! Contact Climbing Kilimanjaro to start planning your hike