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climbing Mount Kilimanjaro summit

Kilimanjaro Trips

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.

Risk Management

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.

Tanzanian Guides

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.

Rental Programs

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.

Environmental Concerns

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.