More details from a climber who is clearly concerned about the status of
deaths this year:
I was on the summit of
Kilimanjaro on the Monday night of the 20th February. I witnessed that an
American died that night, but on Stella Point. According to my climbing
partner he was quite young.
We heard other reports later
that a second person had died that night- maybe this was the 60 year old
American tourist who died near Gilman Point ? If so, two people died that
night, not one.
On the day following our
ascent we also witnessed three stretcher rescues- people being taken off the
mountain presumably through altitude sickness.
I think this is a very
serious matter- nothing is more final than death. Does anyone really know how
many people die on Kilimanjaro each year ?
We heard that 7-10 porters
die of hyperthermia each year. Our porters had holes in their tents that let
the rain through. They wore flimsy non-technical clothing. Not all of them had
sleeping bags- some had only been given blankets. We found out that our
porters were only paid 3 to 5 US dollars per day, yet we paid good money for
the trip and our company was also advising a "tip" of 7 US dollars per day.
Surely this is wrong ! Where is the money going?- certainly not to the
We were also told that on our
route (Rongai) there is no possibility of rescue. The rescue teams only
operate from the main routes. We were never told this before our trip. There
is no helicopter rescue at all from anywhere on the mountain.
People set off for
Kilimanjaro on charity raising trips, life time challenges etc. It is "sold"
as a walkable freestanding mountain. It attracts people from all walks of
life. People maybe don't realise how severe the conditions can be, especially
as the wind chill hits on the summit ridge. People need to know that
Kilimanjaro is a dangerous mountain. Like I said before, I wonder if anyone
really knows the total fatalities each year ? How can anyone find out ?
Our trip was "successful" as
we reached the summit. We count ourselves lucky that we got back safely. Ian
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