Why should I climb with Team Kilimanjaro?
7.1 What is your summit success rate?
One of our partners publishes a success rate for us of 98% on their website but I have indicated to them that I do not believe this to be accurate. They are evidently too busy to adjust this, but I believe the actual figure is slightly lower.
We will never actually publish stats because doing so places a dangerous burden on a climber, and more dangerously still, on the guide. If a guide knows that his boss uses success rates as a marketing tool he will be apprehensive about returning from the mountain with anything less than a summit. Putting pressure on a guide to get his climbers to the summit by hook or by crook is understandably very dangerous as he will have to subvert his natural protective instincts to the demands of his office, which is obviously something that Team Kilimanjaro would never allow.
All that said, amongst climbers who have taken their training seriously and are mentally prepared for the rigours of Kili, we would expect at least 9 out of 10 to summit.
You shouldn’t necessarily, and I’m not being facetious. My job also requires that I aim to determine whether I think you’ll be happier with us or with someone else, as it is disappointing for both of us if it transpires that you were actually after something that we don’t even pretend to offer. Basically, we are fairly unique in that we are run by mountaineers (though so are African Environments and Alpine Ascents) and that we have configured our timings and movements and procedures to best ensure hydration, nutrition and rest and to best exploit the principles of safe and thorough acclimatisation in order to maximise the likelihood of your summitting safely and comfortably. But that said, there are perhaps two or three other groups that can legitimately make similar claims. Of the handful of companies however that have a serious attitude towards their expeditions and that approach an ascent of Kilimanjaro as a mountaineering expedition rather than a mere package trip and business opportunity, we are conspicuously the lowest priced. Again, the reason for this is that we have almost daily departures and correspondingly lower operating margins and can support our staff year round.
We do not mollycoddle our people and they do not see themselves at all as poor little pathetic exploited Africans, but on the contrary, most seem to have interesting and fulfilling family and social lives, all seem really proud to work with us, and I feel very privileged to have such a dedicated and loyal team of men. We have some tremendous talent in the team and yet an ethos of humility and humour, while maintaining a very serious and professional attitude about the things that can’t be played with. We do admittedly have a totally different attitude to Kilimanjaro and everything related to it, than all our 350 competitors and it might be the case that you simply do not identify with the ethos of what we represent. I never feel sincere pitching because it is so easy to say only what you strongly suspect that the prospective ‘client’ wants to hear, and so I would ask you to be so kind as to simply aim to derive as much as possible about us from our website –
Yes, but it wouldn’t be very objective of me to put you in touch with people that I know are only going to say nice things about us. If you Google ‘Team Kilimanjaro’ however you will have direct uncensored access to some feedback that is totally out of my control.