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Ultimate Kilimanjaro

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Moshi, Tanzania
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About Ultimate Kilimanjaro
Ultimate Kilimanjaro® - The #1 Guide Service on Mount Kilimanjaro. For over a decade, we have provided the highest quality service at a reasonable cost. Our expert guides, quality standards and focus on safety have made us the top choice for thousands of happy customers from all over the world.
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Bill B wrote a review May 2020
1 contribution2 helpful votes
One of our party developed AMS, high altitude sickness on our summit day. He repeatedly asked to be taken down the mountain. Our guides refused. They forced him to continue on with the group. He almost died. We held a post trip meeting with Ultimate & learned their guides have
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Date of experience: February 2020
2 Helpful votes
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Response from UltimateKilimanjaro, Manager at Ultimate Kilimanjaro
Responded May 23, 2020
Our guides have extensive medical training. They take courses before becoming licensed by the park and receive continuing education from us. They conduct twice daily health checks using a pulse oximeter to monitor oxygen saturation and pulse rate. They administer the Lake Louise Scoring System (LLSS) to help determine whether someone has altitude sickness and their severity. They are certified Wilderness First Responders (WFR). They are also highly experienced in preventing, detecting and treating altitude sickness because they handle over 1,000 climbers per year. As a company, we have guided more than 10,000 people to the summit of Kilimanjaro. Our safety practices have never been questioned, until now, by five family members who were all part of single private climb where one member was evacuated after summiting. Bill's account of what happened on the mountain is contrary to what we found during our review. Dale, the person who was evacuated due to AMS did not "repeatedly ask to be taken down" nor was he "forced to continue." He also did not "almost die". Our findings are presented below. ---------------------- We conducted a thorough review of the events involving Dale on Mount Kilimanjaro after he and his family made serious accusations about the Ultimate Kilimanjaro team. In the process, we spoke to the guides who were part of his expedition, evaluated his daily health check logs, and reviewed the field notes, including incident logs and guide reports that are generated for every climb. Our findings were communicated to Dale and family. They are presented below so readers can form their own conclusions. 1. Our incident log from the trip stated that "All climbers believed that Dale should have been evacuated before the summit or stopped from attempting the summit." Dale accused the guides of not adhering to the Lake Louise Scoring System (LLSS) that would have prevented him from attempting the summit. The daily health check log showed Dale had few symptoms of altitude sickness in the days leading up to the summit. Despite Dale's suggestion that his LLSS records should have precluded a summit attempt, he only reported having "a little headache" and being "a little tired" - a total score of 2 on the LLSS. This does not qualify for even mild AMS on the LLSS, which requires a score of 3 to 5 for mild AMS. Additionally, Dale's daily health check contradicts his claim that he had been awake for 48 hours prior to the summit attempt. His LLSS questionnaire showed his self reported sleep rating as a "1" (OK, woke a few times) on the night before. The night of the summit attempt, Dale's oxygen saturation level was 86% and his pulse was 75 at Barafu (high camp), both of which are quite good. Many clients with similar readings go on to summit successfully and safely. CONCLUSION: There was no reason to prevent Dale from attempting the summit based on his reported condition and health check readings. 2. Dale stated that he was having "difficulty breathing" during the summit attempt. He stated that he told the guides that he thought he should head back down three times, but was encouraged by the guides to continue the ascent. It is common for nearly every client to experience symptoms of AMS during the ascent to the top and descent back to base camp. Difficulty breathing, or being short of breath, is a mild symptom of AMS and in it of itself does not mandate evacuation. "Difficulty breathing" would not have been regarded as an emergency but as a normal circumstance. He was encouraged to continue like the thousands of clients before him who also were physically challenged on the final ascent. If Dale was in serious condition, our guides were unaware based on his communication, health readings, and performance. Dale and his brothers took exception to the pace of the ascent. One brother claimed they were "almost jogging" and there were "no breaks" during the summit attempt. Our records, and common sense, disprove this. The trip log shows a seven hour time frame from high camp to the summit, which is average (6-8 hours is the typical range). It was not particularly fast or slow, which indicates that the whole group was performing OK. Furthermore, short breaks (5-10 minutes) are normally taken every hour. If conditions are cold and windy, like they were on this summit night, there may be fewer breaks or shorter breaks to prevent climbers from becoming cold. However, to claim there were no breaks at all for seven hours of trekking is absurd. CONCLUSION: On the way to the summit, Dale was not displaying or communicating severe signs of illness and therefore was not turned around. 3. Dale stated that when he arrived back at high camp, he was wheezing and could hardly stand. His oxygen saturation was at 71%. He was evacuated via stretcher off the mountain. Dale's condition had deteriorated during the descent. Contrary to Dale and his brother's account, our guides noted that Dale's oxygen level was 77% not 71% at high camp. Nevertheless, the protocol would have been the same with either reading, to get Dale to lower altitude as fast as possible. We apologized for the misinformation on our website, which previously stated that portable stretchers were carried on all routes. Our guides only carry portable stretchers on the Northern Circuit and Rongai routes as there are no wheeled stretchers, provided by the park, for long distances on these routes. On all other routes, our staff does not carry portable stretchers but relies on the wheeled stretchers located strategically throughout the park. Because Dale's climb was on the Lemosho route, our staff did not have a portable stretcher. Dale and the team had to walk to a location where wheeled stretchers were kept to begin evacuation. We have corrected this information on our website as a result of this incident. Helicopter evacuation on the mountain is conducted by a private company, Kilimanjaro Search and Rescue (KSAR). At the time of Dale's climb, the service was not operating for unknown reasons. We have no control over their business and do not guarantee that helicopter evacuation will always be available. 4. Third party doctors on the mountain administered high altitude medication twice, recommended oxygen, and said Dale needed to go to a hospital. It appears that a contributing factor to Dale and his family's belief that our guides were negligent was based upon advice received from husband and wife doctors encountered on the descent. However, we do not know who these doctors were and what the extent of their experience is in dealing with high altitude medicine. The administration of medication is contrary to the high altitude training that our guides receive. Our training advises against administering Diamox once a client is already descending. The use of oxygen is subjective as well and not always required, especially when an ill climber is visibly and objectively improving - as Dale was. One of Dale's brothers claimed it was the Ultimate Kilimanjaro guides' intention to remain at 13,000 feet for the night. This is completely inaccurate. All evacuations are assessed during the descent to determine whether the condition of the client improves at a lower altitude. If the client’s condition has improved, it is very possible that they may stop at Mweka Camp, which is at 10,000 ft. Dale's oxygen levels were checked at Millennium Camp (12,500 ft) and were at 85%. He had improved, but because he was still coughing, he was evacuated off the mountain and taken to hospital. At the hospital, Dale was examined and released. If it was a severe illness, Dale would have been admitted overnight. One of Dale's brothers stated that the fact that our team was assisted by porters from another operator during the evacuation was evidence of Ultimate Kilimanjaro's crew being "completely unprepared." This is incorrect. The evacuation was completed by one assistant guide, 8 of our porters and 2 porters from other companies. This is the compulsory procedure for stretcher evacuations which is monitored by the park rangers. The company who is undertaking the evacuation has to provide most of the porters, but we have to ensure that the group that is left on the mountain has enough staff to safely continue their climb. Other operators will therefore volunteer some of their porters to assist with the evacuation. This is regular procedure and in similar circumstances, we would be expected to lend porters to other operators for their evacuations. CONCLUSION: We have thoroughly reviewed this account with the guide team, other staff and directors. We did not find that the guides breached any of our safety procedures. We told Dale and his brother that we would work with them to file a travel insurance claim for the expenses that are covered in their policy. This includes hospital bills, extra hotel nights, and the lost days on the mountain. However, Dale and his family threatened to sue if we did not offer a refund for the whole trip (climb and safari) for entire party of seven members, including four people who were unaffected by Dale's evacuation, and another person who canceled her trip. One member boasted that he had already convinced another party not to book with us and they would "go out of their way" to spread negative reviews. Thereafter, we ceased communications with Dale and his family.
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Bella wrote a review May 2020
1 contribution3 helpful votes
Our group of 7 booked our trip with this company after reading their great website which contains comprehensive information and confidence boosting claims of high safety standards. We all paid our deposit for the climb and also booked a 3 day safari with them. Our first bump
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Date of experience: February 2020
3 Helpful votes
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Response from UltimateKilimanjaro, Manager at Ultimate Kilimanjaro
Responded May 21, 2020
We conducted a thorough review of the events involving Dale on Mount Kilimanjaro after he and his family made serious accusations about the Ultimate Kilimanjaro team. In the process, we spoke to the guides who were part of his expedition, evaluated his daily health check logs, and reviewed the field notes, including incident logs and guide reports that are generated for every climb. Our findings were communicated to Dale and family. They are presented below so readers can form their own conclusions. 1. Our incident log from the trip stated that "All climbers believed that Dale should have been evacuated before the summit or stopped from attempting the summit." Dale accused the guides of not adhering to the Lake Louise Scoring System (LLSS) that would have prevented him from attempting the summit. The daily health check log showed Dale had few symptoms of altitude sickness in the days leading up to the summit. Despite Dale's suggestion that his LLSS records should have precluded a summit attempt, he only reported having "a little headache" and being "a little tired" - a total score of 2 on the LLSS. This does not qualify for even mild AMS on the LLSS, which requires a score of 3 to 5 for mild AMS. Additionally, Dale's daily health check contradicts his claim that he had been awake for 48 hours prior to the summit attempt. His LLSS questionnaire showed his self reported sleep rating as a "1" (OK, woke a few times) on the night before. The night of the summit attempt, Dale's oxygen saturation level was 86% and his pulse was 75 at Barafu (high camp), both of which are quite good. Many clients with similar readings go on to summit successfully and safely. CONCLUSION: There was no reason to prevent Dale from attempting the summit based on his reported condition and health check readings. 2. Dale stated that he was having "difficulty breathing" during the summit attempt. He stated that he told the guides that he thought he should head back down three times, but was encouraged by the guides to continue the ascent. It is common for nearly every client to experience symptoms of AMS during the ascent to the top and descent back to base camp. Difficulty breathing, or being short of breath, is a mild symptom of AMS and in it of itself does not mandate evacuation. "Difficulty breathing" would not have been regarded as an emergency but as a normal circumstance. He was encouraged to continue like the thousands of clients before him who also were physically challenged on the final ascent. If Dale was in serious condition, our guides were unaware based on his communication, health readings, and performance. Dale and his brothers took exception to the pace of the ascent. One brother claimed they were "almost jogging" and there were "no breaks" during the summit attempt. Our records, and common sense, disprove this. The trip log shows a seven hour time frame from high camp to the summit, which is average (6-8 hours is the typical range). It was not particularly fast or slow, which indicates that the whole group was performing OK. Furthermore, short breaks (5-10 minutes) are normally taken every hour. If conditions are cold and windy, like they were on this summit night, there may be fewer breaks or shorter breaks to prevent climbers from becoming cold. However, to claim there were no breaks at all for seven hours of trekking is absurd. CONCLUSION: On the way to the summit, Dale was not displaying or communicating severe signs of illness and therefore was not turned around. 3. Dale stated that when he arrived back at high camp, he was wheezing and could hardly stand. His oxygen saturation was at 71%. He was evacuated via stretcher off the mountain. Dale's condition had deteriorated during the descent. Contrary to Dale and his brother's account, our guides noted that Dale's oxygen level was 77% not 71% at high camp. Nevertheless, the protocol would have been the same with either reading, to get Dale to lower altitude as fast as possible. We apologized for the misinformation on our website, which previously stated that portable stretchers were carried on all routes. Our guides only carry portable stretchers on the Northern Circuit and Rongai routes as there are no wheeled stretchers, provided by the park, for long distances on these routes. On all other routes, our staff does not carry portable stretchers but relies on the wheeled stretchers located strategically throughout the park. Because Dale's climb was on the Lemosho route, our staff did not have a portable stretcher. Dale and the team had to walk to a location where wheeled stretchers were kept to begin evacuation. We have corrected this information on our website as a result of this incident. Helicopter evacuation on the mountain is conducted by a private company, Kilimanjaro Search and Rescue (KSAR). At the time of Dale's climb, the service was not operating for unknown reasons. We have no control over their business and do not guarantee that helicopter evacuation will always be available. 4. Third party doctors on the mountain administered high altitude medication twice, recommended oxygen, and said Dale needed to go to a hospital. It appears that a contributing factor to Dale and his family's belief that our guides were negligent was based upon advice received from husband and wife doctors encountered on the descent. However, we do not know who these doctors were and what the extent of their experience is in dealing with high altitude medicine. The administration of medication is contrary to the high altitude training that our guides receive. Our training advises against administering Diamox once a client is already descending. The use of oxygen is subjective as well and not always required, especially when an ill climber is visibly and objectively improving - as Dale was. One of Dale's brothers claimed it was the Ultimate Kilimanjaro guides' intention to remain at 13,000 feet for the night. This is completely inaccurate. All evacuations are assessed during the descent to determine whether the condition of the client improves at a lower altitude. If the client’s condition has improved, it is very possible that they may stop at Mweka Camp, which is at 10,000 ft. Dale's oxygen levels were checked at Millennium Camp (12,500 ft) and were at 85%. He had improved, but because he was still coughing, he was evacuated off the mountain and taken to hospital. At the hospital, Dale was examined and released. If it was a severe illness, Dale would have been admitted overnight. One of Dale's brothers stated that the fact that our team was assisted by porters from another operator during the evacuation was evidence of Ultimate Kilimanjaro's crew being "completely unprepared." This is incorrect. The evacuation was completed by one assistant guide, 8 of our porters and 2 porters from other companies. This is the compulsory procedure for stretcher evacuations which is monitored by the park rangers. The company who is undertaking the evacuation has to provide most of the porters, but we have to ensure that the group that is left on the mountain has enough staff to safely continue their climb. Other operators will therefore volunteer some of their porters to assist with the evacuation. This is regular procedure and in similar circumstances, we would be expected to lend porters to other operators for their evacuations. CONCLUSION: We have thoroughly reviewed this account with the guide team, other staff and directors. We did not find that the guides breached any of our safety procedures. We told Dale and his brother that we would work with them to file a travel insurance claim for the expenses that are covered in their policy. This includes hospital bills, extra hotel nights, and the lost days on the mountain. However, Dale and his family threatened to sue if we did not offer a refund for the whole trip (climb and safari) for entire party, including the four members who were unaffected by Dale's evacuation. One member boasted that he had already convinced another party not to book with us and would "go out of their way" to spread negative reviews. Thereafter, we ceased communications with Dale and his family.
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davepbRollinsville wrote a review May 2020
Rollinsville2 contributions8 helpful votes
One member of our team got pulmonary edema on summit day. Our guides displayed a complete lack of knowledge of altitude sickness, and had we listened to them this member's condition would have been much more serious. It was two medical doctors from another team who intervened
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Date of experience: February 2020
4 Helpful votes
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Response from UltimateKilimanjaro, Manager at Ultimate Kilimanjaro
Responded May 21, 2020
We conducted a thorough review of the events involving Dale on Mount Kilimanjaro after he and his family made serious accusations about the Ultimate Kilimanjaro team. In the process, we spoke to the guides who were part of his expedition, evaluated his daily health check logs, and reviewed the field notes, including incident logs and guide reports that are generated for every climb. Our findings were communicated to Dale and family. They are presented below so readers can form their own conclusions. 1. Our incident log from the trip stated that "All climbers believed that Dale should have been evacuated before the summit or stopped from attempting the summit." Dale accused the guides of not adhering to the Lake Louise Scoring System (LLSS) that would have prevented him from attempting the summit. The daily health check log showed Dale had few symptoms of altitude sickness in the days leading up to the summit. Despite Dale's suggestion that his LLSS records should have precluded a summit attempt, he only reported having "a little headache" and being "a little tired" - a total score of 2 on the LLSS. This does not qualify for even mild AMS on the LLSS, which requires a score of 3 to 5 for mild AMS. Additionally, Dale's daily health check contradicts his claim that he had been awake for 48 hours prior to the summit attempt. His LLSS questionnaire showed his self reported sleep rating as a "1" (OK, woke a few times) on the night before. The night of the summit attempt, Dale's oxygen saturation level was 86% and his pulse was 75 at Barafu (high camp), both of which are quite good. Many clients with similar readings go on to summit successfully and safely. CONCLUSION: There was no reason to prevent Dale from attempting the summit based on his reported condition and health check readings. 2. Dale stated that he was having "difficulty breathing" during the summit attempt. He stated that he told the guides that he thought he should head back down three times, but was encouraged by the guides to continue the ascent. It is common for nearly every client to experience symptoms of AMS during the ascent to the top and descent back to base camp. Difficulty breathing, or being short of breath, is a mild symptom of AMS and in it of itself does not mandate evacuation. "Difficulty breathing" would not have been regarded as an emergency but as a normal circumstance. He was encouraged to continue like the thousands of clients before him who also were physically challenged on the final ascent. If Dale was in serious condition, our guides were unaware based on his communication, health readings, and performance. Dale and his brothers took exception to the pace of the ascent. One brother claimed they were "almost jogging" and there were "no breaks" during the summit attempt. Our records, and common sense, disprove this. The trip log shows a seven hour time frame from high camp to the summit, which is average (6-8 hours is the typical range). It was not particularly fast or slow, which indicates that the whole group was performing OK. Furthermore, short breaks (5-10 minutes) are normally taken every hour. If conditions are cold and windy, like they were on this summit night, there may be fewer breaks or shorter breaks to prevent climbers from becoming cold. However, to claim there were no breaks at all for seven hours of trekking is absurd. CONCLUSION: On the way to the summit, Dale was not displaying or communicating severe signs of illness and therefore was not turned around. 3. Dale stated that when he arrived back at high camp, he was wheezing and could hardly stand. His oxygen saturation was at 71%. He was evacuated via stretcher off the mountain. Dale's condition had deteriorated during the descent. Contrary to Dale and his brother's account, our guides noted that Dale's oxygen level was 77% not 71% at high camp. Nevertheless, the protocol would have been the same with either reading, to get Dale to lower altitude as fast as possible. We apologized for the misinformation on our website, which previously stated that portable stretchers were carried on all routes. Our guides only carry portable stretchers on the Northern Circuit and Rongai routes as there are no wheeled stretchers, provided by the park, for long distances on these routes. On all other routes, our staff does not carry portable stretchers but relies on the wheeled stretchers located strategically throughout the park. Because Dale's climb was on the Lemosho route, our staff did not have a portable stretcher. Dale and the team had to walk to a location where wheeled stretchers were kept to begin evacuation. We have corrected this information on our website as a result of this incident. Helicopter evacuation on the mountain is conducted by a private company, Kilimanjaro Search and Rescue (KSAR). At the time of Dale's climb, the service was not operating for unknown reasons. We have no control over their business and do not guarantee that helicopter evacuation will always be available. 4. Third party doctors on the mountain administered high altitude medication twice, recommended oxygen, and said Dale needed to go to a hospital. It appears that a contributing factor to Dale and his family's belief that our guides were negligent was based upon advice received from husband and wife doctors encountered on the descent. However, we do not know who these doctors were and what the extent of their experience is in dealing with high altitude medicine. The administration of medication is contrary to the high altitude training that our guides receive. Our training advises against administering Diamox once a client is already descending. The use of oxygen is subjective as well and not always required, especially when an ill climber is visibly and objectively improving - as Dale was. One of Dale's brothers claimed it was the Ultimate Kilimanjaro guides' intention to remain at 13,000 feet for the night. This is completely inaccurate. All evacuations are assessed during the descent to determine whether the condition of the client improves at a lower altitude. If the client’s condition has improved, it is very possible that they may stop at Mweka Camp, which is at 10,000 ft. Dale's oxygen levels were checked at Millennium Camp (12,500 ft) and were at 85%. He had improved, but because he was still coughing, he was evacuated off the mountain and taken to hospital. At the hospital, Dale was examined and released. If it was a severe illness, Dale would have been admitted overnight. One of Dale's brothers stated that the fact that our team was assisted by porters from another operator during the evacuation was evidence of Ultimate Kilimanjaro's crew being "completely unprepared." This is incorrect. The evacuation was completed by one assistant guide, 8 of our porters and 2 porters from other companies. This is the compulsory procedure for stretcher evacuations which is monitored by the park rangers. The company who is undertaking the evacuation has to provide most of the porters, but we have to ensure that the group that is left on the mountain has enough staff to safely continue their climb. Other operators will therefore volunteer some of their porters to assist with the evacuation. This is regular procedure and in similar circumstances, we would be expected to lend porters to other operators for their evacuations. CONCLUSION: We have thoroughly reviewed this account with the guide team, other staff and directors. We did not find that the guides breached any of our safety procedures. We told Dale and his brother that we would work with them to file a travel insurance claim for the expenses that are covered in their policy. This includes hospital bills, extra hotel nights, and the lost days on the mountain. However, Dale and his family threatened to sue if we did not offer a refund for the whole trip (climb and safari) for entire party, including the four members who were unaffected by Dale's evacuation. One member boasted that he had already convinced another party not to book with us and would "go out of their way" to spread negative reviews. Thereafter, we ceased communications with Dale and his family.
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Dale B wrote a review May 2020
New York City, New York44 contributions19 helpful votes
Ultimate Kilimanjaro's safety protocols were seriously lacking on our trip. They stated they carried a portable stretcher and that helicopter evacuations were available - when, in fact, neither were true. When one of our group members got extremely ill with High Altitude
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Date of experience: February 2020
4 Helpful votes
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Response from UltimateKilimanjaro, Manager at Ultimate Kilimanjaro
Responded May 21, 2020
We conducted a thorough review of the events involving Dale on Mount Kilimanjaro after he and his family made serious accusations about the Ultimate Kilimanjaro team. In the process, we spoke to the guides who were part of his expedition, evaluated his daily health check logs, and reviewed the field notes, including incident logs and guide reports that are generated for every climb. Our findings were communicated to Dale and family. They are presented below so readers can form their own conclusions. 1. Our incident log from the trip stated that "All climbers believed that Dale should have been evacuated before the summit or stopped from attempting the summit." Dale accused the guides of not adhering to the Lake Louise Scoring System (LLSS) that would have prevented him from attempting the summit. The daily health check log showed Dale had few symptoms of altitude sickness in the days leading up to the summit. Despite Dale's suggestion that his LLSS records should have precluded a summit attempt, he only reported having "a little headache" and being "a little tired" - a total score of 2 on the LLSS. This does not qualify for even mild AMS on the LLSS, which requires a score of 3 to 5 for mild AMS. Additionally, Dale's daily health check contradicts his claim that he had been awake for 48 hours prior to the summit attempt. His LLSS questionnaire showed his self reported sleep rating as a "1" (OK, woke a few times) on the night before. The night of the summit attempt, Dale's oxygen saturation level was 86% and his pulse was 75 at Barafu (high camp), both of which are quite good. Many clients with similar readings go on to summit successfully and safely. CONCLUSION: There was no reason to prevent Dale from attempting the summit based on his reported condition and health check readings. 2. Dale stated that he was having "difficulty breathing" during the summit attempt. He stated that he told the guides that he thought he should head back down three times, but was encouraged by the guides to continue the ascent. It is common for nearly every client to experience symptoms of AMS during the ascent to the top and descent back to base camp. Difficulty breathing, or being short of breath, is a mild symptom of AMS and in it of itself does not mandate evacuation. "Difficulty breathing" would not have been regarded as an emergency but as a normal circumstance. He was encouraged to continue like the thousands of clients before him who also were physically challenged on the final ascent. If Dale was in serious condition, our guides were unaware based on his communication, health readings, and performance. Dale and his brothers took exception to the pace of the ascent. One brother claimed they were "almost jogging" and there were "no breaks" during the summit attempt. Our records, and common sense, disprove this. The trip log shows a seven hour time frame from high camp to the summit, which is average (6-8 hours is the typical range). It was not particularly fast or slow, which indicates that the whole group was performing OK. Furthermore, short breaks (5-10 minutes) are normally taken every hour. If conditions are cold and windy, like they were on this summit night, there may be fewer breaks or shorter breaks to prevent climbers from becoming cold. However, to claim there were no breaks at all for seven hours of trekking is absurd. CONCLUSION: On the way to the summit, Dale was not displaying or communicating severe signs of illness and therefore was not turned around. 3. Dale stated that when he arrived back at high camp, he was wheezing and could hardly stand. His oxygen saturation was at 71%. He was evacuated via stretcher off the mountain. Dale's condition had deteriorated during the descent. Contrary to Dale and his brother's account, our guides noted that Dale's oxygen level was 77% not 71% at high camp. Nevertheless, the protocol would have been the same with either reading, to get Dale to lower altitude as fast as possible. We apologized for the misinformation on our website, which previously stated that portable stretchers were carried on all routes. Our guides only carry portable stretchers on the Northern Circuit and Rongai routes as there are no wheeled stretchers, provided by the park, for long distances on these routes. On all other routes, our staff does not carry portable stretchers but relies on the wheeled stretchers located strategically throughout the park. Because Dale's climb was on the Lemosho route, our staff did not have a portable stretcher. Dale and the team had to walk to a location where wheeled stretchers were kept to begin evacuation. We have corrected this information on our website as a result of this incident. Helicopter evacuation on the mountain is conducted by a private company, Kilimanjaro Search and Rescue (KSAR). At the time of Dale's climb, the service was not operating for unknown reasons. We have no control over their business and do not guarantee that helicopter evacuation will always be available. 4. Third party doctors on the mountain administered high altitude medication twice, recommended oxygen, and said Dale needed to go to a hospital. It appears that a contributing factor to Dale and his family's belief that our guides were negligent was based upon advice received from husband and wife doctors encountered on the descent. However, we do not know who these doctors were and what the extent of their experience is in dealing with high altitude medicine. The administration of medication is contrary to the high altitude training that our guides receive. Our training advises against administering Diamox once a client is already descending. The use of oxygen is subjective as well and not always required, especially when an ill climber is visibly and objectively improving - as Dale was. One of Dale's brothers claimed it was the Ultimate Kilimanjaro guides' intention to remain at 13,000 feet for the night. This is completely inaccurate. All evacuations are assessed during the descent to determine whether the condition of the client improves at a lower altitude. If the client’s condition has improved, it is very possible that they may stop at Mweka Camp, which is at 10,000 ft. Dale's oxygen levels were checked at Millennium Camp (12,500 ft) and were at 85%. He had improved, but because he was still coughing, he was evacuated off the mountain and taken to hospital. At the hospital, Dale was examined and released. If it was a severe illness, Dale would have been admitted overnight. One of Dale's brothers stated that the fact that our team was assisted by porters from another operator during the evacuation was evidence of Ultimate Kilimanjaro's crew being "completely unprepared." This is incorrect. The evacuation was completed by one assistant guide, 8 of our porters and 2 porters from other companies. This is the compulsory procedure for stretcher evacuations which is monitored by the park rangers. The company who is undertaking the evacuation has to provide most of the porters, but we have to ensure that the group that is left on the mountain has enough staff to safely continue their climb. Other operators will therefore volunteer some of their porters to assist with the evacuation. This is regular procedure and in similar circumstances, we would be expected to lend porters to other operators for their evacuations. CONCLUSION: We have thoroughly reviewed this account with the guide team, other staff and directors. We did not find that the guides breached any of our safety procedures. We told Dale and his brother that we would work with them to file a travel insurance claim for the expenses that are covered in their policy. This includes hospital bills, extra hotel nights, and the lost days on the mountain. However, Dale and his family threatened to sue if we did not offer a refund for the whole trip (climb and safari) for entire party, including the four members who were unaffected by Dale's evacuation. One member boasted that he had already convinced another party not to book with us and would "go out of their way" to spread negative reviews. Thereafter, we ceased communications with Dale and his family.
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Steve N wrote a review Mar 2020
3 contributions
Hard to imagine a better experience climbing Kilimanjaro than the one our group had with Ultimate Kilimanjaro! Wow, what an amazing adventure! After a great deal of research, I selected Ultimate Kilimanjaro for my Kili trek and everything was perfect. This was an incredible
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Date of experience: February 2020
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