Taking on Kilimanjaro is a walk in the jungle— literally, figuratively, physically and financially.

To begin with, it’s a jungle where fly-by-night companies try to induce you with the lowest prices and hidden costs, but don’t pay their porters and have no medical support equipment or training. Kilimanjaro has become Tanzania’s cash cow so everyone vies for a piece of the action. Everyone is an expert because they want your business, but buyers beware.

kilimanjaro climbing success

Deciding to climb Kilimanjaro should be a well-researched carefully made decision. Consider the information sources as carefully as you choose your doctor or financial advisor. After all Kilimanjaro can kill you and at the very least put a dent in your finances while not providing the adventure you dreamed about.

Eddie Frank adventurer/businessman

That being said the jungle’s murky elements shouldn’t deter you. Climbing Kilimanjaro will be one of the greatest adventures and accomplishments of your life. Eddie Frank’s advice is grounded upon the 40 years he has trekked the mountain. He has guided groups up Kilimanjaro 52 times and knows the mountain as a guide as well as an adventure travel business man. You can join his email list and receive weekly advice; a no-bull A-Z primer that debunks the mountain’s myths and will help you decide who to climb with, which route to climb, when to go, how to plan and pay for it as well as how to get ready physically.

Guide to the Guides

Perhaps the most prescient piece of advice Eddie has pertains to choosing a company. “If you’re going into the wilderness, in a developing country, to extreme altitude, you want your guides to be experienced, trustworthy, reliable, and have the best safety training. Your guide should not only provide a great experience, but also be well versed in handling challenges if the ‘sh-t hits the fan’. And it does – when you least expect it. That’s where your guides’ experience counts – for everything,” Eddie writes.

There are thousands of agencies selling Kilimanjaro climbs but the lion’s share of the trips is low budget. There are just 200 mountain climbing companies registered with the Tanzanian authorities and just three of them are American owned. (Tusker is one). These are the companies with the highest level guides, food and equipment.

Eddie recommends climbing with an operator, not an agency, as the agencies don’t control of day to day decisions of your climb. The agencies contract out with local companies that may or likely may not have qualified guides and don’t medically monitor their clients daily. They often opt for the shortest route (Marangu 5 days) which has the lowest summit rate, as lots of climbers fail due to altitude sickness. Eddie recommends the Lemosho and Northern routes which are the least crowded and most scenic. These trips often are eight days or more, which gives your body more time to acclimatize to the altitude.

Group dynamics

The Guide to Kilimanjaro Success delves into how to sign up and when to go. April and November are the wettest while December to August is the best time to climb and combine it with a safari. Eddie is a frequent flier and tried many airlines and routes. He suggests flying Delta to Amsterdam and from there KLM directly to Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro International Airport.

Training days

The Guide to Kilimanjaro Success is no nonsense when it comes to training for the trek. Cardio and strength workouts need to be scheduled along with extended trail hikes. If all you do is hike on weekends it may not get you fully ready as Eddie stresses 60 minute cardio workouts and pumping iron to build muscle. On your hikes find the roughest terrain in your area and put a 15-25 pound day-pack on your back to simulate the Kili climb, Eddie recommends. Hiking consecutive days is also the key.

Am I worthy?

Fear of failure is the biggest reason many don’t opt for Kilimanjaro. By reading the Guide to Kilimanjaro Success you will know what’s involved and how to navigate the jungle. It may put you off, but it will give you the hard facts enabling you to pull the trigger and make the attempt. A successful summit is part you and part the company you choose. Take it seriously, have a great, successful climb and enjoy the jungle.

And the best part? The Guide to Kilimanjaro Success is FREE!


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