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Kilimanjaro self suppport option

Discussion area for peaks outside of the USA.
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Kilimanjaro self suppport option

Postby matpedw » Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:33 pm

Hi all,
I have a rotation in Same, Tanzania next Jan. and was looking into climbing Kilimanjaro beforehand. I have found plenty of tours ranging from reasonable priced to whoa!
I'm fairly experienced in the mountains and have most gear and good fitness. With this in mind I also found a "rent a guide" style option where you pay the guides salary and get the transportation but otherwise you're on your own except they will provide (not carry) a four season tent and guidance. It says we must provide the guide food or cooking fuel. This style trip is about $400 per person cheaper. I like that I won't have to worry about being grouped with a bunch of less than fit adventures who could possibly slow the whole group down.
My biggest concern is if I will need to travel with all my supplies of if I will be able to buy supplies in Tanzania and if the costs of these supplies would offset any savings. I'm particularly concerned with stove fuel. What type is even available?
I'm not opposed to having someone carry my food and other stuff and cook for me especially if it ends up costing the same in the end. If I go the more inclusive way I'm mostly concerned with having a group of companions of a decent moutaineering level. I know that sounds arrogant but I'm sure some of you would have or have had similar concerns
For those of you who have climbed Kili any ideas if my concerns are valid?

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Re: Kilimanjaro self suppport option

Postby Carl » Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:27 pm

Sounds interesting. I assume this also means your could set your own pace and round trip it in 2 days? If I can only get to Africa for 8 days I'd like to have time to enjoy other things than just the climb.

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Re: Kilimanjaro self suppport option

Postby peter303 » Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:05 pm

A number of the threads around 14ers say the longer trips- 6, 7 days- have better chance of success and avoiding altitude sickness turnback.
Even for highly experienced 14er hikers.

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Re: Kilimanjaro self suppport option

Postby scalba123 » Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:25 pm

I did the Machame route in late June/early July and the number of people who dealt with altitude issues was striking. Slow and steady is the best course...

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Re: Kilimanjaro self suppport option

Postby matpedw » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:20 pm

You still have to do at least a 5 day (coca cola) or 6 day (machame) trek. I know I'm not immune to alt sickness so I'm fine with that.

What did they do with those that got sick?? Say 5 out of 8 get sick. Does that mean no summit for the other 3? That's the kind of thing I'm concerned about.

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Re: Kilimanjaro self suppport option

Postby MountainHiker » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:57 pm

matpedw wrote:You still have to do at least a 5 day (coca cola) or 6 day (machame) trek. I know I'm not immune to alt sickness so I'm fine with that.

What did they do with those that got sick?? Say 5 out of 8 get sick. Does that mean no summit for the other 3? That's the kind of thing I'm concerned about.

We had four guides for seven clients on summit day. We all made it. If someone would have had to turn around they would have had someone to go down with while the others continued to the summit. The procession on all legs except for the summit included 21 porters and a cook in addition to the 4 guides. So a few clients not making it shouldn’t be the same risk to your summit the way they might be on another mountain.

As for 5 out of 8 getting sick - stay away from the Coca Cola route. If you do Machame, add the extra day. Then you are more likely with people who not only are acclimated, but realized what they needed to do to be acclimated.

http://www.summitpost.org/kilimanjaro-machame-route-7-day-utm/493811
Red, Rugged, and Rotten: The Elk Range - Borneman & Lampert

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Re: Kilimanjaro self suppport option

Postby Carl » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:44 pm

matpedw wrote:You still have to do at least a 5 day (coca cola) or 6 day (machame) trek.


Thanks for the response. I'll have to do some research to see what the options are for a 2 day trip.

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Re: Kilimanjaro self suppport option

Postby Trail Doc » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:28 am

I did KJ in 2009 via the Lemosho route. We took 10 days and had little problem with the altitude, but on summit day saw a number of not so well looking people headed down. $400 a person for support seems very reasonable and worth the money. I can carry my own food and tent (although 5 days of food for a reasonable summit shot would be a fair amount without the chance to reprovision or cache). The deal breaker you may not have considered is water. Our porters carried water to camp for us, which was never close (at Karanga camp, it was about half a mile and a few hundred feet down). If you schedule your agency carefully, I wouldn't worry about other people slowing you down. The three in my group were the only clients on our trek. That was by accident, but the guide agency didn't have a minimum group size.
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Re: Kilimanjaro self suppport option

Postby susanjoypaul » Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:19 am

I have *not* climbed Kilimanjaro, but the few (5?) times I've been above 17,000 feet, I've regularly seen folks heading down who were younger and more "fit" than me. Altitude sickness doesn't care how fit you are, unfortunately, and if this is your first time at higher altitudes I would urge you to take your time and avoid sickness.

I do agree that it sucks being grouped with other people, for a variety of reasons. I generally go alone - or with one or two other people - on any hike or climb. It seems that, the more people on any trip, the less chance of success. Your option sounds very appealing in that respect!

I would urge you to be aware of your porters' conditions - and tip them directly. See: Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project.

But your real question was this:

matpedw wrote:My biggest concern is if I will need to travel with all my supplies of if I will be able to buy supplies in Tanzania and if the costs of these supplies would offset any savings. I'm particularly concerned with stove fuel. What type is even available?

Like I said, I haven't climbed it, so I have no idea. But if you do choose this option, be sure to let us know how it goes. Kilimanjaro is definitely on my "list" for some time down the road.

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Re: Kilimanjaro self suppport option

Postby matpedw » Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:56 am

I didn't give much thought to carrying water. That may be a deal breaker on anything but the coca cola route.
Thank you for all the responses. I will take them all into consideration. Luckily I have some time to think things through.

Kilimanjaro Alpine Services http://www.climbkilimanjaro.eu/ is the organization I was refering to incase anybody searches this thread in the future

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Re: Kilimanjaro self suppport option

Postby scalba123 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:20 am

matpedw wrote:What did they do with those that got sick?? Say 5 out of 8 get sick. Does that mean no summit for the other 3? That's the kind of thing I'm concerned about.


I (of course) was the one person in our group who needed to be escorted down. The other six people in my group successfully reached the summit. One of the guides escorted me down halfway to our starting point that morning where we were met by someone from our camp. The guide went back up to our group while I was escorted the rest of the way by the new person.

In your example, I would imagine that the three individuals would continue on to the summit. These guide companies based their reputations on their success rates on getting people to the summit. Plus they have everything planned out where everyone gets acclimated to the altitude along with plenty of rest.

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Re: Kilimanjaro self suppport option

Postby lpyle » Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:22 am

I'm also planning a climb of Kili this year, in October. We are probably going with Zara for a guide service. It's my understanding that if someone needs to go down, most guide services will have a junior guide go down with them so that the others can continue. But you might want to check on this in advance. If you're concerned about cost, Zara has a "Clean Kilimanjaro" special in early October - if you help clean the mountain, you get a 15% discount on the Machame route.
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