I enjoyed this trip very much-everything went very smoothly. The details in the trip information-how much cash to bring and the gear list really helped. John's leadership style works very well for this trip. He encouraged some independent thinking and decision making while keeping us all operating within very safe boundaries and moving along toward the goals of the trip. The information he gave and the anecdotes he passed on were fantastic. The lead local guides (Safi and the other folks from BIG) were also super easy to talk to and full of amazing information. They really helped us stay motivated on summit day! Everything was excellent-better than expected! The food was incredible. Our cook (Hudson) needs to write a cook book. I'd buy one in a heartbeat. - 2013 Climber
Why Climb Kilimanjaro with Alpine Ascents?
Alpine Ascents on Kilimanjaro
Ascending Kilimanjaro with a mountain climbing organization and a professional mountain guide will greatly improve your chances of success. In addition to the recent recognition in Outside Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, and Travel & Leisure, our Kilimanjaro expedition was selected by Men's Journal and has been highlighted in the New York Times, MSNBC.com and Businessweek.
Some of the keys to our continued success:
Lead Guide: We are one of the only outfitters to send an international mountain guide with medical training on each expedition. All of our guides are well versed in high-altitude medicine and are WFR (Wilderness First Responder) or EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) certified.
Knowledge: Alpine Ascents has been guiding on Kilimanjaro for more than 20 years.
Expertise: Alpine Ascents is continually a resource for media and the press on Kilimanjaro related articles.
Success: Alpine Ascents has likely the highest success rate of any guide service, with about 90% summit success over the past 20 years.
Safety: We carry oxygen, a med kit, a satellite phone and local communications equipment on each expedition. After 20-plus years, we have a superb safety record; you are traveling with medically trained mountain guides who have assisted climbers the world over (as opposed to the one-time training most African guides receive). Our guides are all WFR certified (rare for local guides).
Local staff: We offer separate handpicked African staff for the climb and safari. With a full team of climbers, we can have a staff of more than 50 guides, assistants, porters and cooks, as well as with five to six senior guides and our Alpine Ascents guide.
Climber to guide ratio: Along with our lead guide (an Alpine Ascents professional) we employ local guides and generally have a 3:1 climber-to-guide ratio and often add senior staff to summit day, bringing us to 2:1 (or near that).
Preparation: Alpine Ascents puts together a comprehensive gear list with our on-staff gear manager in our Seattle office.
Food: We offer carefully planned, highly nutritious meals, prepared by trained chefs on the mountain and in the safari lodges. We are happy to give you an outline of our menu plan.
Cybercasts: Regular updates are posted to our website so friends and families can follow the expeditions.
Camps: Outstanding tent locations on the mountain (it's one of the most frequent kudos we receive).
Dining and toilet tents: We use high-quality dining tents and provide toilet tents with a commode at each of our camps.
Recognized leadership: We are noted as the top trip among guide services in national magazines and climbing books.
Seven-day climb: We offer a full seven days on our climb for acclimatization (and ultimately higher summit success).
Safari: Our safari includes three national parks: Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti. We also fly back (weather permitting) on the last day, greatly reducing the return trip.
Quality: We lodge in the finest hotels, and travel privately by Land Cruisers.
Experience: More than 2,000 people have climbed Kilimanjaro with Alpine Ascents.
Quality: Superlatives like "five-star," "luxurious," and "incredible" are often used to by our climbers to describe our Kilimanjaro climbing experience.
We are proud partners of the Kilimanjaro Porters Program http://www.kiliporters.org/
As part of this project we can guarantee that our porters are paid among the highest wages. This fosters our relationship with the local Tanzanian community and assists local schools.
Most Alpine Ascents trips are via the Machame Route which has distinct advantages over such routes as the Umbwe (very steep, fast and low summit success) or the Western Breach (crater rim camp leaves one very susceptible to altitude sickness). The Machame is not nearly as busy as the Marangu and affords and very pristine experience for the Kilimanjaro climber.
At Alpine Ascents, we look for the route that will give us the most interesting wilderness experience, best acclimatization, and all-around enjoyment and beauty for our climbers. For those who may wish to climb another route, we are happy to arrange private climbs.
- It is a less traveled route. Most of the 15,000 yearly attempts on the mountain are made by the more direct Marangu and similar routes. The challenge and isolation of the Machame Route results in a more pristine wilderness experience.
- Other routes, (Arrow, Western Breach, Shira Plateau) differ only on the lower part of the mountain and all eventually - at the halfway point, if not sooner - join the Western Breach, Mweke or Machame.
- The Machame Route has well maintained trails, contributing to a more environmentally friendly route and far less time in the mud.
- It offers a safer and more comfortable acclimatization schedule than other routes. The majority of Kilimanjaro climbs are attempted on other routes, using a five or six day itinerary, resulting in an overall success rate of only 40%. The Alpine Ascents approach on the Machame Route offers an ideal seven-day schedule, and our success rate is over 90%!
- We spend five nights between 10,000 feet and 15,000 feet before attempting the summit, which has contributed to our amazing summit success.
- Our High Camp is at just under 16,000 ft., in a private area where only a few groups are allowed to camp because we carry special, environmental toilets. This gives us a nice, moderately challenging, seven-hour summit climb that allows for better rests at the lower altitude.
- The Arrow Glacier/Western Breach Route is beautiful, but we do not guide this route because of the rock-fall hazard on the approach to high camp (18,500 ft.) that has caused accidents in the past. While sleeping on the crater rim can be a unique experience, it can lower the summit-success rate because of attempting to sleep so high (only an hour away from the summit) defies the mountaineering credo of "Climb High, Sleep Low." The Umbwe route can be a good choice very strong, experienced climbers but is a steeper and shorter route to the summit.
- The Machame Route is the most ecologically diverse route on the mountain. Our exceptional camp selection exposes climbers to the area's remote and pristine environment via no less than five distinct ecological zones.
Alpine Ascents does not offer the Umbwe and Western Breach routes for the following reasons.
The Umbwe route is very steep and not suitable for many levels of climbers. The Umbwe has more limited camps, and does not offer the climb high/sleep low options of the Machame route and therefore is not nearly as good for acclimatizing - one of the most critical components of a successful Kilimanjaro climb.
We consider the Western Breach route an unsafe climb. On the climb from Arrow Glacier into the crater, climbers are exposed to significant rockfall hazards. In the past there was sufficient snowfall to cover the loose rock, mitigating rockfall danger. Currently Kilimanjaro receives little snowfall, and what does fall typically melts away fairly quickly.
Our Guiding Team
Alpine Ascents is known worldwide for the unparalleled quality of our guide staff, and we send one of our world-class guides on every Kilimanjaro departure. Recent Kili guides include Todd Burleson, Eric Murphy, John Hauf, Ben Jones, and Don and Sarah Carpenter. While many other outfitters are little more than a "one-man show," our trips are led by professional mountaineers with great flexibility in guide staff, as well as full-time office support, logistics, and access and information for other great climbs around the world.
Perhaps the most underestimated of the Seven Summits, Kilimanjaro at 19,340 ft., is an extreme high-altitude climb. Your greatest chance of a successful summit is climbing with an experienced mountaineer and an organization that specializes in mountaineering. Our small team of guides ranks among the world's best climbers and has assisted climbers in reaching technical and non-technical summits around the world. Not only do such experienced guides increase your chances of standing on top, but do so in a healthy and safe manner. Alpine Ascents has the finest safety record in the industry. African experts and Himalayan veterans, our guides are familiar with the problems associated with altitude and are skilled at helping you maintain good physical health.
Our entrance into the African wilds begins on the less-traveled Machame route. Climbing this route is of great importance for those wishing to fully experience Africa's vast wilderness. This highly unique path affords climbers excellent exposure to the area's remote and pristine environment. The climb takes us through rapidly changing environments while unveiling stunning views of east Africa's mountains and plains. Our success rate over the past twenty years is one of the highest in the industry.
The Kilimanjaro climb is physically and mentally demanding. Most organizations attempt to complete the climb in six days or less, while Alpine Ascents spends seven days on the mountain. This allows climbers to properly rest, acclimatize and maximize their chances to reach the summit. To promote full exploration of the region, we use porters to carry gear and food. For our teams of 15 climbers, we employ 60 to 65 Tanzanian staffers, including well-trained and experienced African guides, assistant guides, camp managers, cooks, tent crew, and toilet crew. We overnight in high-quality tents, while healthy meals including fresh food, fruits and vegetables are prepared by our cook staff. (Options are available for vegetarians or those with specific dietary needs/preferences).
Success on Kilimanjaro
We have been guiding Kilimanjaro for over 20 years with a true summit success rate of more than 90% while touting one of the highest success and safety records in the industry.
We were just named one of the Top 40 Adventure Tour Outfitters in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine, which highlighted our Kilimanjaro Trip. We are proud to be the only climbing company chosen!
Alpine Ascents provides family and friends the opportunity to follow our climbs as they proceed. Utilizing state-of-the-art technology, we receive regular audio dispatches from the climbers and post them on our website. Not only does one feel the excitement of watching a team as it moves up the mountain, the archived cybercasts provide an excellent resource and learning tool when researching expeditions. Enjoy the show!
Alpine Ascents has a full gear department ready to assist with your climbing questions and preparations.
We have a full-time gear staff and a retail store. All Alpine Ascents climbers receive a discount on each purchase in our gear store.