Been up Kilimanjaro?

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Postby skwid » Fri Jul 14, 2006 10:33 am

Ebola was discovered on that mountain... so... if you start vomitting blood don't come back to colorado...
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Postby rob runkle » Fri Jul 14, 2006 12:38 pm

KILI Just Done It! <--- That was a T-shirt that I bought in Moshi; along the Nike theme of Just Do it! ... ili-AD.htm
and ... 005_FR.htm
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re: climbing Kili

Postby mtnmike » Tue Aug 15, 2006 11:07 am

Hi Aubrey -- I did Kilimanjaro earlier this year, back in January. Had a fantastic climb and didn't even get too bothered by the altitude on summit day. Here's the link to a trip report on my website:

I used Alpine Ascents as my outfitter ( and can't say enough good things about them. They took care of all the logistics, porters, travel arrangements in Tanzania, you name it. It was about $4400 for the trip (not including airfare), and in my opinion well worth it! I think you'll love it. Just make sure you use a reputable outfitter -- it really does make all the difference!

- Mike

"Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory." - Ed Viesturs
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late info on Kili

Postby sarahcatherine » Sun Oct 01, 2006 4:07 pm

I did it in August 2003 and had a blast. My perspective may be a bit different because I had been living in Kenya for 2 years, but I'll try to respond to your questions.

* I loved the food and there was plenty of it. Americans don't drink nearly enough tea while hiking.

* I probably can't speak to cost because I had residency in Kenya. I think I paid about $500 to guides/porters (we didn't use a company), including tips and we hitchhiked to and from Nairobi for free. I wouldn't want to pay less than that--$60/day is a reasonable wage but not great. Also, we chose guides who spoke only Swahili because they tend to be cheaper and more fun.

* Hiking distance varied from 9 to 30 km daily (so about 6 to 20 miles). We took 8 days because we wanted to hang out and enjoy it instead of moving the whole time.

* We took the Lemosho route and feel that was a good choice. It's longer and you have to have an armed guard for the first day (poachers & elephants are a risk), but it's rarely used, so everything was undisturbed. That route meets machame route part way up.

* There were some pit toilets but mostly not. We kind of did our own thing and didn't always stay in set camps.

* It was cold as hell the summit day and nights before and after. There was a night when we zipped two bags together and put three people in it for warmth. You wake up at 1 or 2 am to summit, so plan to hike when it may be below freezing.

* AMS varied dramatically among out group. I didn't feel anything, but I tend not to (and was living at 3500m at the time). Other people were violently sick the whole way. The same people who got sick on Kenya got sick on Kili.

* Things I wish I had brought? duct tape for my feet; a second option for footwear (I did Mt. Kenya in Chacos and it was great); earplugs (laying awake listening to people snore is really frustrating when you've got to get up and walk); more than one layer of wind-proof clothing (in that wind, *nothing* is wind proof); thermarest repair kit; you won't need crampons, but something like YakTraks would probably be helpful depending on the amount of snow/ice.

* What the outfitter provides varies, so your needs will vary. Definitely bring a daypack in addition to your big pack. You probably won't be portering your own stuff, but it's nice to have a small bag of things with you. We rented tents, they brought cookware but we brought everything else. We went food shopping with the guides/cooks so we chose our own food (we cooked for them a couple times just for fun and to show off our E. African cooking skills).

Oh, and Ebola was found at Mt. Elgon, on the Kenya/Uganda border, not on Kili, so no worries :)

I wouldn't worry about flying into Nairobi if you're comfortable with international travel. It's not bad if you don't get overwhelmed by chaos. Everyone speaks English, taxis are easy, etc. If that thought is scary, then go into Kili airport, but Nairobi will save you tons of $$. I've gotten flights for under $1000 from Denver.

When your guides give you the names for places/peaks, etc. always ask for the English translation. Some of it is hysterical and will give you some insight into the culture.
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Postby Sherpa Bob » Sun Oct 01, 2006 7:24 pm

My wife and I did Kili almost exactly 2 years ago. We went with Thomson Safaris ( Flew Northwest and KLM. Thompson has an office in Boston (Watertown, MA) and Tanzania.

Do yourself a favor and fly directly to Arusha.
Take the longest amount of time to go up Kili that you can afford. We did the 9 day Western Breach Route. You spend the last night, on the way up, basically camped on the top of the mountain (18,750'). Summit day is only 600' to climb. (We have heard that currently the Western Breach route is closed). Most other routes will get you up for a midnight start in order to summit (hopefully) at dawn. The success rate goes up as the number of days goes up. We wanted to summit and did not think that we would ever end up in Africa again (too many places in the world we would like to travel to!), a little extra money to increase our chances of success seemed like a very good idea. My wife enjoys taking photos and did not want to spend time climbing in the dark and miss photo opportunities.
Read trip reports from people that have done the climb, many talk about that last push for the summit as very cold and unpleasant in the dark.
Go with a reputable trip organizer.
We spent 1.5 days on Mt. Evans just before we left, camped at the lake and went to the top on each of the 2 days to read books and live at altitude, every little bit will help you later.
Do yourself a bigger favor and do a wildlife safari while you are there. That was an incredible experience!
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Postby ccunnin » Sun Oct 01, 2006 8:52 pm

I haven't had the pleasure of getting on top of 'ol Kili, but I'd love to some time in the near future. After reading each and every one of the postings in this section on Kili, I have to say that it is getting me pumped for it. Every one has been very precise in the details and the trip reports are great. When I finally get to climb her, I'm going to have a ton of references to look back on. Thanks everyone. Seriously.
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Postby MtHurd » Sun Oct 01, 2006 9:46 pm

I spent two weeks of vacation and did Kili 3 weeks after 911. About 3 of those days will be spent on getting there and back. I took British Air to Nairobe, then a bus to Arusha, Tanzania where we spent the night. It's about a 5 hour bus ride from Nairobe to Arusha. Arusha is a very nice town with part of it located in the rain forest that surrounds Mt. Meru. We chose to go through Nairobe instead of flying to Kilimanjaro because of the cost. Airline tickets were $1400 round trip from Dallas. Overall expect to spend about $3,000 if you tack on a 3 day safari which is what we did. If you only have one day to do a Safari, go to Ngorogoro Crater.

I am sure everyone else will cover what you need to know, but one thing you might keep in mind is the porters. They will be carrying your gear up the mountain but will be out of site. You won't see them until you are introduced to them at the end of the treck. Tip them in person rather than giving it to your guides to give to them as the money may not ever be given to them. They are very poor, work hard, and have ragged clothes. Tip them well. Any T-Shirts or old shoes you can part ways with after the trip will make them happy as well. They enjoy T-shirts and caps with American sports team logos on them.

The food isn't too bad and didn't make us sick, but peep into their kitchens at your own risk. :-) Bring along lots of dollar bills as they sell candy and Cokes along the way at the first two camps. We used the standard easy route up Kili, I forget what it was called. Kili is just a big giant mountain of scree, so the route in my opinion is pretty much about whether you like people or not. The standard route will have more people but will be more accomodating.

Our first camp at 9,000 ft. had restrooms but they were the squating type with just a hole and no toilet. The second camp at 12,300 ft. had actual toilets. They are pretty filthy though. You will be sleeping with strangers so if you wake easily, bring ear plugs if you don't want to hear snoring.

There will be people hassling you to buy things, carry your luggage (don't let them), etc...from the moment you step off the plane. If you want souveniers, they are probably the ones you want to buy from but just be forwarned, if you do everyone else will want to sell you something too. Stay away from the roadside gift shops. They are traps. You will just have to get used to them hassling you, they are poor and need money. It is a great cultural experience and really make you appreciate what we have here in America.
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Postby ketel1 » Mon Oct 02, 2006 10:18 am

My husband, I and 3 friends are going in February 2007. We fly through Amsterdam and on KLM. Our cost now, with high airfare, is at about $5500 per person BUT we are doing a 3 day safari and going to Zanzibar for 2-3 days of beach time after the climb. Airfare is expected to go down by the time we actually book. We plan to jump off on the return and stay in Amsterdam a few days, too.

Thanks for posting this, I keep learning more each time I read a TR.
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Postby Aubrey » Fri Oct 20, 2006 7:08 pm

ccunnin wrote:I haven't had the pleasure of getting on top of 'ol Kili, but I'd love to some time in the near future. After reading each and every one of the postings in this section on Kili, I have to say that it is getting me pumped for it. Every one has been very precise in the details and the trip reports are great. When I finally get to climb her, I'm going to have a ton of references to look back on. Thanks everyone. Seriously.
This is why I am on 14er'

You and me, both, ccunnin! :D

Yes, thanks, everyone, for all the replies. I haven't had a chance to PM you all in person, but just know that I'm reading all of these posts and I really appreciate the great feedback and TRs. Some very helpful information, which I'll be referring to intently before booking anything. Kili is still very much on the radar for September 2007.

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Postby CorduroyCalves » Sat Oct 21, 2006 9:48 am

FWIW, seems to have a lot of info. One thing that is worth noting is advice about booking a trip through outfitters in Africa instead of the US to save money. Seems to make sense. I'm hoping to make that trek in the (near) future as well, so this is a nice thread to read.
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Postby Kevin Baker » Sat Oct 21, 2006 1:45 pm


I just booked a trip to Kili with for late February. I did a lot of research and read alot of positive things about them. We are taking the less traveled Rongai route. Total cost with tips should end up being around $4,500, although I couldn't find a flight cheaper than $2K from Colorado. I would book through KLM via Amsterdam. Most of the other options I found route you through Nairobi via Ethiopian Airlines, a scary alternative!
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Postby jimlup » Sat Oct 21, 2006 2:42 pm

Kevin, I'm planning to book a similar trip about the same time in 2008 so thanks for your research - I'll follow your path and hopefully not have to check so many guiding outfits. I'm also looking into Alpine ascents package. Whoever I choose, I'm definitely interested in one of the less traveled ascent routes so your pick sounds like a good ticket.

Good luck and enjoy your trip and we will be looking forward to hearing your trip report! I know it adds significant expense but are you going on Safari in addition to your climb?

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