Kilimanjaro Climb Survey, Part 1

Earlier this month, Ultimate Kilimanjaro posted a Kilimanjaro Climb Survey on the discussion forums of Lonely Planet, Summit Post and Trip Advisor.  The purpose of the survey was to collect data that could assist others who are considering climbing Kilimanjaro in their decision making.

The survey was a short 20 question, multiple choice survey, and that took people an average of just over 3 minutes to complete.  As of today, there were 49 respondents.  Below are the summarized results of the first 10 questions:

  • male climbers outnumbered female climbers by 2 to 1
  • 54% of climbers were between 31 and 40 years of age
  • 22% of climbers obtained a medical check prior to climbing
  • 80% of climbers obtained all recommended vaccinations, immunizations and medications
  • 67% of climbers obtained travel insurance
  • July was the most popular month for climbing Kilimanjaro
  • 45% chose 6 day routes; 31% chose 7 day routes; 10% chose 9 day routes
  • 45% climbed Machame; 20% climbed Marangu; 16% climbed Lemosho
  • Only 6% of climbers hiked to Kibo Crater
  • 84% of climbers reached Uhuru Point

The most surprising figure is that 84% of the respondents reached the summit, while it is widely cited that the overall summit success rate is about 50%.  However, there are a few possible explanations of the rather high success rate for survey respondents.  First, keep in mind that park statistics reflect that the Machame Route is slightly more popular than Marangu Route, but the respondents overwhelmingly chose Machame over Marangu (45% vs. 20%).  Also, only 10% did a 5 or less day climb.  The lack of respondents using Marangu and 5 or less day climbs would improve the survey’s summit success percentages tremendously.

A good percentage of people who attempt Kilimanjaro have absolutely no hiking, backpacking or high altitude experience.  But the respondents on the cited forums are typically serious backpackers, independent travelers and mountaineers, all of whom have an advantage on Kilimanjaro versus their less experienced counterparts.  Finally, respondents are also likely to be people who succeeded on the mountain and had a good time doing it.

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