FASTEST ASCENT OF KILIMANJARO
5 Hours, 28 Minutes, 48 Seconds
A RACE AGAINST THE CLOCK UP KILIMANJARO
Burch established a new world record for the fastest ascent of one of the world’s most recognized mountains, Mt. Kilimanjaro, in Africa, by running the 34 kilometer route in 5 hours, 28 minutes, and 48 seconds, endured a vertical gain of almost 15,000ft, faced hypothermia, pulmonary edema, a blinding wind storm, pouring rain, sleet, and snow as he ran through 5 different ecosystems to reach the 19,340ft summit.
Burch trained for more than a year for this extreme challenge, and before setting the world record, he acclimatized on the mountain for 8 days by running laps around the crater rim at 18,500ft and jumping rope for extended periods of time on the summit. He then rested for several days and spent up to 5 hours daily meditating. Burch carried all his own gear, and used guides and Tanzanian Park Rangers for time verification issues only. “We congratulate Sean on running the fastest up the mountain,” stated the Chief Park Warden, who greeted Burch upon his descent to the National Park headquarters gate.
More than 22,000 people a year attempt to reach the highest peak in Africa, taking 5 to 10 days, with nearly half of those failing to reach the summit. Kilimanjaro is the highest freestanding mountain in the world and the only mountain where one treks through 5 ecosystems to reach the summit, beginning in a rainforest and ending in an alpine environment.
When asked how it felt to climb one of the world’s most famous mountains faster than anyone ever has, Burch commented, “When I got to the summit ridge I started sprinting to the sign as fast as I could, and by the time I reached the top, I immediately puked. So the feeling wasn’t celebratory. It’s now just starting to sink in on the accomplishment.”
Confirmation from the Tanzanian National Park Rangers was noted, and Guinness Book of Records researched and confirmed the ascent within the year, placing Burch in their book of records.
While in Tanzania, Burch worked in partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF)– Tanzania, to help promote their environmental education program and current cultural tourism project, which showcases the tradition and lifestyle of the Chagga tribe in the Nshara village on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. “The environment, global warming, and other conservation issues are of huge importance to me, and by working with the WWF we are taking action in our goal of ensuring that people can live in harmony with nature,” Burch said.