What Sets Us Apart
This route was pioneered by Mountain Madness founders Wes Krause and Scott Fischer in 1984, and is the most remote and scenic trail on the mountain.
Krause eventually moved to Tanzania and since the early 1980s has been overseeing Mountain Madness operations on Kilimanjaro. He has played a key role in the certification and training of our guides and providing seamless services for our groups. With Kilimanjaro being one of the most overcrowded mountains of the ever popular seven summits, it is satisfying to hike in beautiful mountain landscapes without having to share it with hundreds of people on the infamous “Coca-Cola route.” This system has proven itself time and again with our ups reaching the summit together, healthy, energized, and happy to be on the roof of Africa.
All of our Tanzanian trip leaders have been certified as Wilderness First Responders, the U.S. standard for professional mountain guides. We utilize a private toilet tent for each group minimizing the unsanitary conditions found with the commonly shared public toilets on the mountain.
All our guides have completed many training courses on subjects such as natural history, environmental conservation and wildlife. They W. Our Kilimanjaro Trip Leaders have also been trained as Wilderness First Responders in the United States or by the National Outdoor Leadership School in Kenya. Mountain Madness guides have a passion for Kilimanjaro and all of Tanzania. They truly love helping others experience the amazing beauty of their country.
Meeting the demands of your trip will be made easier with proper equipment. To help you with this, we’ve established a rental program to lessen your load traveling and minimize the need to buy extensive amounts of new gear. Call for details.
Fair Wages and Treatment
Mountain Madness offers the highest wages of any company operating on the Kilimanjaro and requires that everyone working on our climbs is properly outfitted and fed.
All the mountain staff in leadership positions are required to have first aid training and to have attended courses in high altitude physiology and mountain rescue. We also have a specialized program that trains guides and porters so they can perform their job on the mountain professionally and safely. More often than not these skills are used to save the lives of the staff and tourists that happen to be climbing the mountain simultaneously with other operators. Every spring and fall, during the tourist “low season” we offer additional courses and training programs to our guides, cooks, drivers and porters. Classes offered include high altitude physiology, first aid, ecology, tracking, and ornithology. We feel it is important to offer continuing opportunities for personal growth and career advancement to the Tanzanians that work for us.
Mountain Madness provides porters with quality mountain equipment appropriate for the harsh mountain weather, improving your both safety and comfort. A huge staff of Tanzanian guides, cooks and porters support western climbers so they can have an enjoyable and successful climbing experience.
To further this commitment, Mountain Madness has joined forces with the Himalayan Explorer’s Connection (HEC) Porter Project, which has developed guidelines for the proper treatment of porters including making sure porters have adequate gear and equipment, proper shelter arrangements, proper food, cooking equipment and water, proper medical care for sick or injured porters, insurance where available, acceptable weight limits on loads, and fair wages. The HEC Porter Project also educates the tourist population about acceptable standards of porter treatment, and encourages the reporting of abuse or mistreatment. The Tanzania office was opened in December, 2002, and has outfitted over 500 porters in the first climbing season alone. In addition, over 20 porters a day attend the English language, first aid, HIV/AIDS awareness, and empowerment classes that are offered free of charge through the Porter Project. Mountain Madness is proud to be involved in such an important program.
To watch a video about this click here.
Read about HEC Porter Guidelines.
On the Mountain:
The fragile tropical alpine environment of Kilimanjaro receives up to 27,000 visitors per year. Hauling trash off the mountain is costly because it requires hiring additional porters, which results in many expedition companies simply leaving their trash. And until recently, cooks and porters collected their cooking fuel from the mountain forest because cut-rate operators would not purchase stoves and kerosene and hire the porters to carry them.
A policy of requiring that each climbing operator haul their own trash off Kilimanjaro has been adopted by Tanzanian National Parks. To ensure this is done the Park Service actually weighs the trash when the trip leaves the mountain exit gates. And in 1999, all companies were required to provide stoves on climbs that are fueled with kerosene to help end the plunder of mountain forest
Mountain Madness Solution:
Mountain Madness not only ensures that it complies with all local regulations, but has been hauling trash off the mountain and providing porters with kerosene stoves since the beginning. We have been 100% committed to maintaining Kilimanjaro’s incredible scenery and health since 1984.
Environmental Concerns on Safari:
Dining in huge canvas mess tents, sleeping on a “proper” frame bed, having ice in your drink and being attended to by a small army of staff is all part of the “classic” luxury safari camping experience. It is also partly the cause of severe environmental degradation in Africa’s wild places that is caused by photographic tourism.
Mountain Madness’ Solution:
At Mountain Madness we have tried to find a balance between meeting your comfort needs in the wilderness while minimizing the impact on the environment. For starters we insist on packing our camp in Toyota pick-up trucks rather than the huge 7‑ton lorries that are typical of luxury safari camping. Smaller lighter pickups do not tear up the ground and do not leave deep ruts when it is wet.
In order to pack our camp in Pick-ups we have had to adjust the camp amenities slightly: we carry coolers of ice rather than a deep freeze, the tents are a classic “A” frame shape rather than wall tents, beds are lightweight imported camp cots with mattresses rather than wood frame beds, and the number of staff per person is slightly reduced.
Our toilets are “long drop” style and we provide a small bucket next to the toilet for the disposal of toilet paper. All organic matter goes in the “hole” and toilet paper is burned by the camp staff after you leave the tents. We have found that if the toilet paper goes in the dug hole, it quickly gets excavated by animals and is left scattered around the campsite. Many groups use these campsites throughout the year and we are doing our best to keep them clean for future users.
The areas we camp in are often very dry and remote, making water collection difficult and supply limited. We provide you with a shower everyday but encourage people to use just one bucket each for their showers. It is most effective to have a “Navy Shower”? get wet, turn off the faucet, and soap up. Then you can open it back up and enjoy the hot water.
These simple adjustments make all the difference, offering our clients a comfortable experience that is much more ecologically friendly.
Cultural Interaction Concerns
Cultural interaction between tourists and indigenous African peoples can be a valuable experience for everyone. However, too often it results in tourists poking cameras in the faces of locals while the locals grapple for money and gifts.
Mountain Madness’ Solution:
Mountain Madness has put a lot of thought and effort into creating meaningful interactions that are positive for everyone. We identify a local family or group with strong leadership who help us establish rules for interactions: no cameras, no begging or bartering. Everyone meets and is shown around the village and maybe shares a meal or a song or story. At the end of the visit the guide will usually ask if visitors can take pictures. We pay the village leaders a lump sum for this visit and encourage them to spend the money on projects that will benefit the entire group.
In all the village areas Mountain Madness visits we hire local guides, which is another important source of income for the villagers. We find that often the best way to interact with locals is to share an activity such as walking. For this reason, walking safaris are naturally cultural safaris as well.
We periodically review the effect that these visits are having on the village or family to ensure that the visits are acceptable to everyone and the overall experience is beneficial.
Because many of Mountain Madness’ visitors are interested in contributing to the welfare of Tanzania we have identified and developed some important projects that clients can visit and contribute to. All of these projects are grass roots and ongoing. Our current project is supporting a rural village school with over 600 students near the city of Arusha. Mountain Madness has delivered school supplies and has an ongoing commitment to supporting this small school. If you are interested in visiting and or contributing please let us know.