This review is designed for anyone who has made the decision to climb Kilimanjaro but has not yet chosen a guide company.
Let me start off by saying you should definitely find out if your guide company carries bottled oxygen on the climbs and if the guides perform daily health checks on you during the climb.
Think that stuff doesn't matter? Think you would never need any medical assistance on the mountain? Think again.
I recently went on a 9 day climb of Kilimanjaro with Ultimate Kilimanjaro and found out the hard way that altitude sickness truly can strike anyone at any time regardless of fitness level or previous experience at altitude. I had read that prior to my trip but I honestly didn't think it could happen to me.
A brief background on me, I am 31 year old male who regularly hikes 7-10 mile trails that feature large changes in elevation in rocky terrain and I go the the gym 4 days per week for at least one hour each session.
I have climbed three 14ers in Colorado and have been above 10,000 feet while hiking and snowboarding at least 50 times in my life. I had never felt any symptoms of altitude sickness during any of those previous trips to altitude.
Hiking and camping are two of my favorite things to do so I am very familiar with being out on the trail and sleeping in tents.
Starting on day 4, the guides had been watching me very closely because I started to score poorly on my daily health checks. However, something severe hit me on day 5 of my Kili climb that required the guides to give me bottled oxygen and take me down the mountain. I am still not sure exactly what happened to me but I am certain without the quick diagnosis and response from my Ultimate Kilimanjaro guides that I very well could have gone into a coma or worse.
So please stop and ask yourself, if altitude sickness hits you on Kili, do you really want to be with a guide company that hasn't been monitoring your health and doesn't have bottled oxygen? A few hours can mean the difference between living and dying.
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