Track a Climber on Kilimanjaro
The vast majority of our climbers have loved ones back home who are concerned about their safety and happiness while away in Africa.
Tracking Your Loved Ones as They Climb
For family and friends of a climber it can be worrying to imagine them struggling against altitude, the elements, and objective risks associated with climbing a mountain, and to have no information or updates about how they are faring. It is with these concerns in mind that we have developed a system of live-time reporting – both with photos sent directly from the mountain, and with our GoogleMap tracking feature.
Choosing to Climb with Team Kilimanjaro
We understand that a very significant factor in the decision of many adventurers to climb Kilimanjaro with us is that we control everything directly ourselves, not relying on any middlemen or local tour operators to dilute the integrity of sometimes very sensitive and specific information as it passes down through the chain of command. Consequently, our climbers expect near-perfect communication between management and our staff on the ground on Kilimanjaro, and swift and ready access to information pertaining to all aspects to their booking. While we believe that the nature of Team Kilimanjaro’s operational structure affords us a very great advantage in this sense, we would however, like to caution climbers that they should please understand the limitations of the hardware that we use on Kilimanjaro, and – more significantly – the limitations of the cellular network provider to supply consistent signal across the mountain. With such concerns in mind, we would suggest that while climbers may rightly expect TK to enjoy the highest standards of communication realistically available, we regret that such are the objective limitations that lie outside our control, that climbers should certainly not base their decision to climb with us on the assumption that we will unfailingly be capable of providing photographs of their climb sent in live-time direct from the mountain on every day of their climb.
Cellphone Coverage on Kilimanjaro
Indeed, prospective climbers should please appreciate that while we have a very transparent blog site that ought to provide clear evidence of what our teams are able to achieve in terms of live reporting from the mountain from Kilimanjaro, nonetheless, the following factors may disappoint climbers that expect faultless and comprehensive photo reports:
- Currently, only around 20 of our top climb teams are equipped with iPhones and supplied with 2 x 5,000mAh mobile re-chargers. Those of our guides who have not been issued with iPhones will therefore only be able to send SMS reports
- There are several areas on the mountain which enjoy cellular coverage for voice calls but which lack adequate data packet saturation, necessary to send images of an average size of 50KB from Kilimanjaro. This means that on certain days on certain routes, it is entirely impossible to provide live photo reports
- Even in zones where we ordinarily enjoy adequate voice and data signal coverage, from time to time we encounter periods of as long as three consecutive days, in which cellular coverage is simply absent. We understand this to be attributable either to maintenance, system upgrades, hardware failure or damage, or power supply issues
- From time to time our guides may commit human errors, such as allowing their phone to become damaged or wet. Where such (rare) events occur, our guides will usually use the phone of one of their fellow team members to send SMS reports or will attempt to liaise with other iPhone-equipped TK groups on the mountain. This is often not possible, however
In short, we would ask climbers to please appreciate the fact that we aim to achieve an ongoing high standard of communication and reporting amongst our teams, and we believe that the service we provide in this regard is second to none that is elsewhere available. That said, we ask climbers to understand that the provision of such services is not to be understood to be an ‘inclusive’ component of the service we provide or in any way a contractual obligation on our parts. We hope therefore that friends and family will enjoy tracking their loved ones on Kilimanjaro, but assert unequivocally, that this facility should not be depended on and that this service should be expected to be intermittent and subject to many uncontrollable limitations, including those already described.
Following our Kilimanjaro Climbers on GoogleMaps
The mapping feature below allows those who are interested to track the movements of any climbers who are climbing with us (unless they have asked for their movements to remain unpublished). We very much hope that you enjoy using it.
To preserve the anonymity of people who do not necessarily want to be found (except by those they know), rather than using climbers’ names, we use a four digit code to identify a groups. Please contact us to ascertain the code of the group that you wish to track.
How to Use Our Kilimanjaro Climber Tracking Map
Once you have opened the tracking map in full on Google Maps:
1. Search the left hand column for the climb group that you wish to track.
Group names are derived from the first two letters of the first name and surname of the main correspondent that planned the climb with us on their group’s behalf. For example, John Smith and his three fellow climbers will be referred to as JOSM x 4. Click on the blue underlined title.
2. Use the Google Map zoom function pictured right.
Zoom in on the climbing group until you have the level of detail that you require.
3. The position of a climbing group is indicated by the icon representing two green coloured walkers.
Our climb coordinators receive SMS messages directly from the guide leading each trip. Bad weather and weak signal can prevent reception on same days. In this event, our coordinator will indicae that no message has been received, and will move the group’s icon to the location at which the group is expected to be.
4. If a viewer wishes to change the map view…
… so as to, for example, be able to study the shape of the ground and better understand the topography that the climbing group will be incorporating into their acclimatisation strategy, please toggle between ‘satellite’ and ‘terrain’ using the buttons at top right.
Note: on around 1 day in 2 or 3, poor signal prevents the sending of text messages from the mountain. Where this happens, ‘no news’ should be considered to be ‘good news’, as, if a medical emergency arises, we will be contacted via radio relay from one of the ranger’s huts and will post information advising friends and family to contact us directly for a more detailed report.