Things learned climbing Kilimanjaro for the 24th time
1). You need 8 days or more climbing Kilimanjaro
With more experience than most people climbing Kilimanjaro. I was convinced before but, climbing Kilimanjaro over 8 days or more is the only way to approach this mountain. Having 8 days on the mountain you are giving yourself the safest and best chance at making it safely to the top and back down again. If you come physically strong and prepared you lower the risk to yourself and others.
2). More acclimatization at in the critical phase
I watched as people on 5,6 and 7 day climbs really struggled more than they needed to. I saw a lot of people arriving into Barafu camp 4,650m at 6pm after a long 8 hour hike from Baranco camp 3,900m and then get 4 hours rest before the long 12/14 hour summit attempt.
Stupid, stupid, stupid. I am getting tired of seeing such ignorance and disrespect for the mountain and altitude. People need to start taking the challenge seriously.
3). No respect for the mountain or extreme altitude
I witnessed so many people so utter under prepared for the challenge, guides pulling people up the mountain and shocking treatment of porters.
Paying less is lowering the standard of service, local people’s lives and not helping the situation on the mountain.
4). Security team is needed for our clients
We have to have 3 security people watching our tents the whole time as we have other team’s porters trying to get into our tents on a couple of occasions. Cheap operators take on porters they do not know, don’t pay them correctly and they have to resort to stealing from others teams and their own clients.
5). You have to train hard and come prepared
We had 9 clients on this trip I was leading, each person will tell their own story about going to high and extreme altitude. We had a 67 year old with a double hip replacement make the summit. He was an avid hiker and really had no problem on our 8 day schedule as he had the physical conditioning needed for the challenge. 8 out of 9 people made the summit. The one person who did not make it really didn’t have the physical conditioning and enough training to be successful.