Dangerous Kilimanjaro Success Rates

Daniel and Lisa Dorr enjoying tea on Machame trail

"Polepole" Take your time on Kilimanjaro. Rushing to the summit can be dangerous.

Recently an outfitter put out a press release about their 95% success rate in getting clients to the summit.  I have to say, my initial reaction was not positive.  When outfitters promote a success rate as the biggest reason to book with them people start getting summit fever and stop thinking about what's really important, safety! I took a mountaineering course on Mt. Shasta in the past with Sierra Wilderness Seminars and our guide and instructor Stephan made it very clear, our #1 priority was to get down safely.  "The summit is back at the parking lot." he kept reminding us.  Even the greatest American mountaineers of all time, Ed Viesturs, focuses on safety with his own mantra.   “Reaching the summit is optional. Getting down is mandatory.” So when evaluating a potential outfitter, the first thing to look into is safety.  How many porters will be with you? How well trained is our guide?  What kind of safety equipment do they bring?  How many days is the climb? In the end, one of the reasons this particular outfitter has such a high success rate is because they take several extra days to make sure clients acclimate properly before attempting the summit.  With so many other outfitters trying to rush clients up and down, it's refreshing to see an outfitter taking their time.    As they say in Tanzania, "polepole,"  Go slowly.   Enjoy the adventure of a lifetime.  Even if you add a few extra days, it will all fly by very quickly.
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