Nov 302015


In 2009, Ultimate Kilimanjaro® participated in the making of the award winning documentary starring Kristen Kenny. During her stay in Africa she contracted malaria but was saved by a $7 hospital stay. She realized the need for malaria medicine for locals, who often do not have access to it and cannot pay for it. Kristen started Malaika for Life, a nonprofit organization that has since treated over 40,000 people for malaria.
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Oct 312014


What will kill you? If you live in the United States, it almost certainly won’t be Ebola. Although a Sierra Leone doctor in Nebraska and a Liberian visitor in Dallas have died of the disease, the odds favor death by almost every other alternative. A 2014 National Safety Council report uses mortality data and U.S. population statistics from 2010 to synthesize the likelihood of dying by various methods. Most likely, something far less exotic will get you. What are the odds of a person living in the United States dying from Ebola? 1 in 3,934,300, or 0.000002%. If you’re worried about contracting Ebola while visiting Tanzania, the chances of that occurring is also 0%.

Oct 202014

We receive many inquiries concerning Ebola, so we will repeat this: there is virtually zero chance of contracting Ebola while in Tanzania. There has never been a case of Ebola in Tanzania. The current outbreak in Western Africa is as far away from Tanzania as Europe, as the map shows, more than 3,300 miles.

In order to put our customers at ease, we will allow rescheduling your climb for up to a full year later, without any fees, if a confirmed case of Ebola occurs within Tanzania.

Book with confidence with Ultimate Kilimanjaro! 1924682_882262788452403_4905176723758053866_n

Dec 032011

Altitude sickness is the main cause of fatalities on Mount Kilimanjaro. Therefore, many operators have oxygen available to treat climbers who have developed moderate or severe altitude sickness.

Upon request, Ultimate Kilimanjaro will carry oxygen for emergency purposes only, to treat a stricken climber in conjunction with immediate descent.

However, there are some operators who advertise the use of  a “personal oxygen system” to assist climbers on Mount Kilimanjaro. Besides the fact that you would look more like a hospital patient than a mountain trekker, there are serious reasons why using oxygen in this manner is NOT advised.

When you develop symptoms of moderate or severe altitude sickness, it is not because the body is trying to make it unpleasant for you without merit.  It is because the body recognizes that you are unable to function at the current altitude, and does not want you to climb any higher. Your body is telling you– DESCEND NOW.  Not listening to the body is how most people get into trouble on the mountain.

By using supplemental oxygen, you have effectively stopped your body’s attempts at acclimatization by raising the oxygen content of the air you breathe. Using oxygen to climb ignores your body’s clear message to descend. And while your body was unable to acclimatize to the current altitude, you have made things even worse by climbing even higher. It is dangerous situation.

Lastly, what is point of climbing Kilimanjaro with supplemental oxygen? The difficulty of Kilimanjaro lies with its altitude. As a trek, it is not difficult by hiking standards, if you remove the challenge of high altitude.  I guess some people climb Kilimanjaro just to say they did it, regardless of the manner in which it was done. But it is not much of an achievement if you put the mountain at sea level.

The bottom line is that supplemental oxygen is potentially dangerous when used to climb higher, is wholly unnecessary on Kilimanjaro, and is against the spirit and challenge of climbing Kilimanjaro.

Nov 112011

Crater Camp is a campsite that is located near the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, around 18,800 feet above sea level. (Uhuru Peak is 19,345 feet above sea level.)  It is utilized by some climb operators during longer routes, usually via the Lemosho or Shira route.

The campsite sits in between Uhuru and the Furtwangler Glacier. Understandably, clients are intrigued at the opportunity to sleep next to the disappearing glacier.


We are occasionally asked whether we use Crater Camp on our routes.  We do so sparingly. Here’s why. Sleeping at such a high altitude is the most dangerous thing you can do on Mount Kilimanjaro. The previous night’s altitude is about 15,000-16,000 feet in elevation, whether you stayed at Arrow Glacier or Barafu. A gain of 3,000-4,000 feet is simply too much of an adjustment for most people. The result is that there is a high likelihood to be stricken by altitude sickness, especially during sleep.  And once that occurs, a evacuation from near the top of Kilimanjaro in the middle of the night, though possible, is a burdensome task.

It is far easier on the body to climb from 15,000-16,000 feet to the summit (19,345 feet), then descend down to Mweka (10,065 feet).  Clients who are affected by altitude sickness on the way up will usually recover very quickly as they descend.  That is a stark contrast to what would happen if they were required to sleep at almost 19,000 feet.

Because of the increased risk for both clients and staff to stay at Crater Camp, trips using Crater Camp are offered only by special request and are subject to approval by Ultimate Kilimanjaro.

Here is a review of Crater Camp by one of our customers:

May 152010

In a climbing group, it is common that one or two people turn around on the mountain due to altitude sickness, exhaustion or a variety of other matters.  We often get asked what happens to the rest of the trekking party – specifically, whether they must also discontinue their climb.  Absolutely not!

Each group will have a lead guide, a number of assistant guides depending on the party size, and lead porters – all of whom are able to escort climbers down.  Therefore, when a person cannot continue their ascent, one of the staff members will accompany this climber while the lead guide takes the group to the next destination.  The remaining party is unaffected and continues their climb as scheduled.summit

May 172009


Yes- the summit of Mount Meru is almost 15,000 feet high.  If you climb Meru, you can, with one day or no days in between, climb Kilimanjaro thereafter with a lower number of days (5 or 6) because you will have had exposure to approximately the highest altitude where you will camp on Kilimanjaro (Kibo Hut and Barafu are about 15,500 feet high).

However, do not be too aggressive on either trek.  To do Meru and a challenging Kilimanjaro climb back to back may put too much stress on your body.  And strenuous activity increases the likelihood of altitude sickness. So while the Meru/Kilimanjaro climb combination can increase the probability of summit success over a lengthy Kilimanjaro climb alone, it can also decrease it.  The success of this schedule depends on how strong of a hiker you are.


Nov 192008

On the latest video, Today show host Ann Curry reports that the team is about 50/50 on whether they will attempt to climb up the Western Breach tomorrow.  She noted that her original itinerary called for a climb to Crater Camp starting at 4:30AM tomorrow, and a summit bid on Friday.

Curry noted that they have a five person group, made up of members of her production team, who have experienced differing degrees of altitude sickness thus far.  They have decided that they will either all continue or all descend.  That being said, it’s almost certain they will NOT climb tomorrow.  The likelihood that one of the five members will have symptoms of altitude sickness in the early morning is high.  On the video, mountaineer Ed Viesturs warns Curry not to ascend if the team has any symptoms and to err on the side of caution, meaning to descend, rather than taking another rest day at Arrow Glacier.

The latest video of Ann on Kilimanjaro:


Sep 132008


Signs at the park gates offer words of caution for climbers.  Here’s what they say:


  1. Hikers attempting to reach the summit should be physically fit.
  2. If you have a sore throat, cold or breathing problems, do not go beyond 3,000 metres A.S.L.
  3. Children under 10 years of age are not allowed above 3,000 metres A.S.L.
  4. If you have heart or lung problems do not attempt the mountain at all without consulting your doctor.
  5. Allow plenty of time for the body to acclimatize slowly.