Mountain Safety on Team Kilimanjaro climbs
5.1 The Royal Geographical Society say you should spend 10 days climbing Kilimanjaro. Is 6 or 7 days safe?
You should remember that for many years the RGS denied even the existence of snow on Kilimanjaro because snow at such a location was obviously scientifically impossible. What is impossible is to watch thousands of climbers successfully and safely reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro every year with total disregard for the RGS’s 300 metres a day and 2 consecutive nights at the same elevation every third day rule, without facing the unavoidable conclusion that they are simply wrong.
5.2 I’m concerned about health and safety at high altitude…
You’re only as safe as your guide’s ability to anticipate the onset of your succumbing to a critical altitude-
5.3 I’m wondering whether to opt for the crater night and crater excursion…
We like to make very clear at the outset that with regards to the dangers associated with high altitude, there is a small but significant risk of developing severe AMS or pulmonary or cerebral oedema, amongst those overnighting in the crater. In order to best minimise this risk we summit first prior to sleeping in the crater, thereby ensuring that we observe an imperative principle of acclimatisation, ‘climb high, sleep low’, at this critical altitude. You should also be aware that amongst those requesting to spend a night in the crater; around 20% change their minds while on the mountain after consulting with the guide and agreeing that they have failed to obtain a sufficiently safe level of acclimatisation for this option. You would need to be aware of all of these considerations before moving ahead with a crater excursion request.
I certainly would not want to dissuade you from a climb that included a crater excursion as this is arguably the greatest experience to be had on Kilimanjaro; I only wish for you to be properly informed of some of the implications of this option.