We Offer Two Routes on Kilimanjaro
The Machame Route – Our bread and butter climb over the last 30 years. Travels through five distinct ecosystems in 7 days. This is the classic climb of Kilimanjaro with Alpine Ascents
The Lemosho Route – Our 9 day climb itinerary is geared toward the very fit trekker/climber with a chance to sleep at the crater rim after summit.
Acclaimed by climbers, industry professionals and media alike Alpine Ascents provides a one-of-a-kind experience on Kilimanjaro as we employ a professional mountain guide from our Seattle-based staff on each trip. Your guide is generally one of our full time Alpine Ascents mountaineering guides and adds an unmatched level of summit success and safety based on their broad range of climbing experience. Our guides are Kilimanjaro experts first and foremost but have an extensive mountaineering and wilderness medical background.
We have about a 95 % TRUE success on Kilimanjaro (taking into account all climbers who begin an expedition).
Most outfitters employ local African staff with relatively limited climbing and medical skills, many are simply safari or trekking companies as their name implies. In addition to providing a professional, US based guide we offer the utmost in quality of services to include chef-prepared meals, dining tents, real toilet tents creating a unique blend of having a high end luxury tour company and a professional mountain guide.
Alpine Ascents provides our porters with high quality outdoor jackets. We are proud partners of the Alpine Ascents provides our senior porters with high quality outdoor jackets. We are proud partners of the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project.
“Of all the great guide services on Kilimanjaro, Alpine Ascents might be the best. Its success rate is close to 90 percent, and though its treks are longer and pricier, they avoid the jam-packed Marangu Route”. – Outside Magazine
Alpine Ascents Success on Kilimanjaro:
We have been guiding Kilimanjaro for over 20 years with over 90% true summit success, touting one of the highest success and safety records in the industry. In recent years we have led over 1000 people to the summit! (Some outfitters do not count all climbers in their statistics.)
We were just named one of the Top 40 Adventure Tour Outfitters in the world by Travel + Leisure Magazine, who highlighted our Kilimanjaro Trip. We are proud to be the only climbing company chosen!
Ascending Kilimanjaro with a mountain climbing organization will greatly improve your chances of success and we provide one of our Seattle-based guides to lead every scheduled expedition. Every trip is organized with the utmost care and quality: from our lead Western guide, to chef-prepared meals, to dining and toilet tents we look to take care of all elements with great attention to detail.
Every one of our Kilimanjaro expeditions is led by an Alpine Ascents mountain guide.
Kilimanjaro at 19,340’ is an extreme, high altitude climb and is perhaps the most underestimated of the seven summits. You should be comfortable walking 4-8 hours per day. Summit day is the most demanding portion of the climb, typically involving 8 hours for the ascent and 6-7 hours for the descent. Our expeditions require strength & endurance. Being in sound physical condition is the single most important aspect for climbers to maximize their climbing potential. The better your physical condition, the more likely you are to perform well and have an enjoyable experience. The most frequent comment we have received over the years is that climbers have underestimated the fitness level needed to fully enjoy their trip. Additionally, inadequate fitness will affect the atmosphere, pace, and overall enjoyment of the climb for all participants. We highly recommend checking with your physician before undertaking any strenuous activity. Comprehensive training information can be found here.
Crowned by eternal snows, the mighty Kilimanjaro (19,340ft) is the highest free-standing mountain in the world and dominates its landscape unlike any other mountain. Located in Tanzania, this dormant volcano looms over five eco-systems and large game reserves and is certainly one of the world’s most impressive sights. The terrain is nothing short of dramatic. As a mountaineering company, we treat this adventure as a mountain climbing expedition. We offer scheduled departures for 2 routes on the mountain: Machame and Lemosho/Crater Camp.
Kilimanjaro is unique in many ways; but stands as the only one of the Seven Summits (the highest point on each continent) that is truly a non-technical climb. Using well-marked trails to the summit, along with our expert guide staff, a fit enthusiast has an excellent chance of reaching the summit. Our expert guides, choice of route, success and safety have been Alpine Ascents forte on Kilimanjaro and we invite you to review our “Why Climb With Us?” section. While there are many good outfitters, few if any provide the breadth of services that Alpine Ascents does.
Kilimanjaro is an attractive climb for anyone interested in a physical challenge: climbers, wilderness enthusiasts and hikers alike. Over the past twenty years, we have emerged as a leader in guiding Kilimanjaro, applying expertise from other formidable mountains to the wilds of Africa. We consider the Kilimanjaro climb and safari expedition to be one of the most appealing and treasured adventure experiences we offer.
Following our climb we begin a four-day safari to the spectacular game parks of Tanzania, Ngorongoro Crater, The Tarangire River and National Park and Serengeti National Park. Throughout the safari, we lodge in luxurious hotels and travel by Land Cruiser across the Great Rift Valley, following wildebeests, lions and other indigenous wildlife. Details can be found in our safari overview and on our trip itineraries.
Absolutely! Everything from general coordination and accommodations to small details like the flowers on the table in our dining tent was amazing. No detail was overlooked and if there were ever issues of any kind then they were handled by the guides because I was never aware of any concerns. Everything was top notch. All of the guides were wonderful and John especially embodies a leader in all ways – but was also a teacher and brought out those skills and qualities in all of us. Not only did the guides lead and teach by example, but John especially is a teacher by nature and helped us see how to problem solve any issues on our own. I feel I learned a lot from all of the guides – Swahili, backpacking and climbing skills, nutrition/hydration, dealing with altitude, and general information about the mountain, Tanzania, the culture, etc. by the end the entire crew felt like a big family. I still miss everyone! Everything was top of the line. I was amazed at the 5 course meals we had all day long – and a snack pack every day! All of it was wonderful. The guys in the gear department were SO helpful and patient! Not only did they get me all of the rental gear I needed in plenty of time but they also helped me pick out just the right items to purchase. I was glad to rent my gear prior to arrival in Tanzania as I think the people who waited and rented in Arusha had some difficulties. AA does so much so well that it would be difficult to list all of the strengths! Clearly everything is well organized and executed. Our group was the envy of the mountain! You have found some great guides and crew – so keep doing what you’re doing!
My expectations were not just met, they were exceeded – in fact, they were exceeded time and time again! The level of organization for the entire trip was outstanding, from being met at the airport
Our bread and butter climb over the last 20 years. Full 7 day climb itinerary (7 greatly helps summit success and acclimatization, but some try to climb in 5 days – but ). Travels through five distinct ecoystems. This is the classic climb of Kilimanjaro with Alpine Ascents with a Western guide as the lead.
- Alpine Ascents’ classic climb as highlighted in the media over the last 20 years
- We travel through five disctinct ecosystems and utilize some lesser used camps
- We have an over 90% success rate on this route
- For sheer beauty while traveling at a moderate pace this trip is unsurpassed
- This is truly a 5 star trip with dining tents, commode toilet tents, chefs and a very talented African staff
- Our trips are led by a member of the Alpine Ascents Kilimanjaro Guide Staff
Best for: Novice and more seasoned climbers alike. Trekkers should be fit and following the training regimen but no prior experience needed on this non-technical route. This is a near perfect entry into the world of high altitude trekking as well as climbing.
Acclimatization: We utilize 7 days to climb and descend Kilimanjaro, while some outfitters offer the Machame as a 5 or 6 day climb. A 7 day itinerary offers the best chance of acclimatizing and enjoying your journey, and includes more time to rest on the shorter days. Days 3 and 4 include important high points to acclimatize and rest before the move to high camp on day 5.
Lemosho Route with Crater Floor Camp
This 9 day itinerary toward is geared toward the very fit trekker/climber with a chance to sleep at the crater floor after summit. This is a more demanding route than the Machame and climbers must acclimatize well to 18,600 feet to use the crater floor camp (we will have a lower camp available). This is also a non technical climb but recommended for those with prior trekking and/or high altitude experience. This trip is also led by one of our Seattle-based Professional Mountain Guides, which is extremely important for a climb of this caliber.
- Begins at a more remote and less traveled route via the Western approach, joining the Machame route on day 4
- Chance to sleep at crater rim.
- Potential to explore the Furtwangler glacier and Northern ice field glaciers
- Walk to the rim of the ash pit and view the blowhole of the volcano
- Witness the sunset across the west from such a high vantage point
- This is truly a 5 star trip with dining tents, commode toilet tents, chefs and a very talented African staff
Best for: Very fit adventurous trekker preferably with some high altitude trekking experience as one must acclimatize well to sleep at 18,600ft crater floor camp. (Lower camp available if needed).
Acclimatization: 9 day itinerary offers time to acclimatize and the opportunity to sleep at the crater floor camp.
Alpine Ascents Kilimanjaro Safari Locations
Following our climb we begin a four-day safari to the spectacular game parks of Tanzania. Throughout the safari, we lodge in luxurious hotels and travel by Land Cruiser across the Great Rift Valley, following wildebeests, lions and other indigenous wildlife.
The Ngorongoro Crater
The largest intact crater in the world and second largest extinct crater in the world, the area has a spectacular concentration of wildlife. Ngorongoro was an active volcano some eight million years ago whose cone collapsed, leaving a Crater. The Crater rim is wooded with mountain forest vegetation. It is oval in shape and 20 km in diameter. It is blooming in acres of flowers like blue, pink and white lupines, candle white lilies, blue hyacinth and many more. The view from the crater rim is breathtaking and descending deep into the belly of the crater will encounter almost every animal species found in east Africa.
The Tarangire River and National Park
South of Lake Manyara, Tarangire is a huge wildlife retreat during the dry season This park is scattered with baobab trees alternating with open acacia woodland open bush, plains, swamps and rivers and stands palm trees. Big game and birds are abundant and we usually sight animals such as kongoni, wildebeest and zebra. With any luck, safarists will also see rhino and leopard amongst a variety of gazelle, giraffe, elephant and impala. It also has extremely rich and varied bird-life.
Serengeti National Park
Tanzania’s signature park, covers nearly 15,000 square miles and spans into Kenya where it connects to the Masai Mara reserve. The word Serengeti conjures images of wild African game in all its glory. The abundance of animals running at will, creates an overwhelming experience and fulfills the dream of life before the “great white hunters”. The sheer mass of animals is both staggering and long remembered.
Alpine Ascents Kilimanjaro Frequently Asked Questions
Upon sign up we will forward our famed, comprehensive confirmation package. This package will include all of the details for your trip.
Note: We do not offer an 8 Day Lemosho as we feel this is a poor choice for most clibmers as the route intersects with the Machame on Day 3.
All of our Kilimanjaro Climbs avoid the two rainy seasons in Tanzania, the “long rains” in April and May and the “short rains” from late October through November. It is important to understand however that weather on Kilimanjaro is as changeable and unpredictable as mountain weather all over the world is. Some light rain is virtually constant in the lower sections of the mountain throughout the year. But it might dry out on a given day or week. And the upper reaches of the mountain, which are quite arid, can see passing rain or snow storms at any time of year.
Even though it is only about three degrees south of the Equator, Northern Tanzania has surprisingly variable temperatures through different times of the year. July and August are generally referred to as “winter” by the locals and it is the coolest time of the year in Nairobi and Arusha. Nighttime lows are typically about 48°F and daytime highs might only be in the high 60’s or 70’s. You are probably thinking these sound like very pleasant temperatures, and you are right. We tell people “if you leave the United States in the summer months and travel to East Africa you are going to a cooler climate”. This is surprising to most people, but very true. Safari and the time you spend in Arusha during these months can be wonderful in terms of weather – never as hot and steamy as you probably imagine tropical Africa to be. Similarly, if you are on a trip during our winter, you will find the weather to be as much influenced by altitude as latitude. It is warmer in December or February, but it is still not extremely humid or hot.
The above description is for the lower elevations. It gets very different on the upper reaches of the mountain. Talk to anyone who has climbed Kilimanjaro at any time of the year, and they will probably comment about how cold they got on summit day. This has more to do with the mild hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and the exertion that climbers experience, than it has to do with temperatures, or even wind. When you go to 19,000, anywhere on the earth, at any time of year, you need to have very efficient insulation and be prepared to conserve you body’s energy effectively. There is little difference in the degree of “warm” than can be experienced on a summit day on Kilimanjaro at any given time of year.
The most popular months on Kilimanjaro are July and August, with December running a close third. Alpine Ascents trips tend to fill at any time of year they are run, but you will see fewer people from other groups in months other than August or December.
Most trips run with between 12 and 15 people – though we will run smaller groups if a certain date has less sign ups. We also run private groups private climbs year round.
We currently use three-person tents on our Kilimanjaro program. Two climbers per tent.
Yes, we have a large dining tent and tables and chairs that are used at all camps. (OK, sometimes we forgo the table and chairs at high camp) These are especially nice if it happens to rain. But often people will go inside to get their food and then eat outdoors in beautiful evening light. We also provide toilet tents with commodes.
You will need a medium sized backpack (say 2500 to 3500 cubic inches) that can hold your layers of clothing for changing temperatures and activity levels through the day. One thing that many people do not expect is the porters who carry your large bags will probably move slower that you do. It is not uncommon to get to camp as the afternoon and evening temperatures cool off, ahead of the porters, but with lots of photographs to be taken and relaxing to be done. You need to be prepared to be inactive through part of each day as well as to hike. Most people carry packs that weigh about 20 pounds. You could pare this down to perhaps 15 if you were careful, but with a lot of camera equipment, or other personal preference type items, it might be more.
We always plan to go to Uhuru, the true summit of Kilimanjaro at 19,340′. A medical emergency that would require a lead guide’s attention rather than an African guide’s would be the only reason that they would not but this has not happened to date.
We normally take 1-2 lead or “chief” African guides, plus 3 assistant African guides, for a total of five guides, including our guide, on a typical summit attempt. All of these men are well-known to us and we have done many successful summits together. Obviously this does not leave options for an unlimited number of turn – arounds during the summit attempt, but we have always been able to get people who really need to descent headed in the right direction, very quickly, and under excellent care and supervision. This is in addition to our staff of lesser assistant guides, porters, cooks, cooks’ helpers – a staff of 50+ on full expeditions.
We offer carefully planned, highly nutritious meals prepared by trained chefs on the mountain; food quality is one of the highest praises we receive. It is not just about the great food but getting the right food when on such a demanding climb. As a climbing company (as opposed to a safari or light trekking company) we understand what and how people need to eat while in the mountains. We are happy to give you an outline of our menu plan. The quality of our expedition food is well known for all our expeditions but is something special on Kilimanjaro.
Re-supply during our trip allows us to provide lots of fresh and whole grain cooked foods. We have the best chefs and food on the mountain, hands down.
Breakfast: hot porridge (oats or corn or millet), toast, fried eggs, bacon or sausage, jam/peanut butter, avocado, fresh fruit
hot drinks (coffee/ black tea/herbal tea/Milo-malt chocolate beverage/hot cocoa and Tang)
Sit down lunch: hot soup, bread, fresh salad, small sandwich, cookies/chips, fresh fruit. Hot drinks (coffee/ black tea/herbal tea/Milo, malt chocolate beverage/hot cocoa and Tang)
Dinner: hot soup/bread, cooked vegetable dishes – varies but always 2 of the following (green beans or eggplant or okra/ tomatoes/ local kale/spinach), rice, pasta, potatoes, cooked meat dishes varies but always one of the following (small beef steaks/ beef stroganoff/ chicken dishes in sauce / pork chops in sauce / fried fish, light dessert, hot drinks (coffee/ black tea/herbal tea/Milo- malt chocolate beverage/hot cocoa and Tang).
Vegetarians: each meal (see above) always has a large selection of vegetarian options. In addition our chefs will prepare a vegetarian special dish at each meal (chickpea/lentil stew/local corn and bean stew as well as other regional dishes).
We have private toilet tents set up at every camp. These are clean, sit down, commode type toilets with water.
Yes, all hotels for the scheduled trip, meals on the mountain and on safari, airport transfers and shuttle to Arusha are included. One thing that is not included in town and on safari are bottled drinks (soft drinks, bottled water, alcohol.) Also not included are tips at the hotels, tips for safari drivers, and tips for guides and porters at the end of the trip on the mountain.
We stay in high-standard safari lodges run by the renowned Sopa chain. We use these places to relax and reward ourselves after a rigorous climb. They really are beautiful in terms of setting and amenities. The safari drives have their own demands, long dusty days and a lot of excitement and adventure with all the wildlife. One of the greatest feelings is to go into your room at the end of one of these days, get a shower and some clean clothes on, and go have a nice dinner with your friends who you recently climbed Kilimanjaro with. The sun will be setting on the African landscape and the large glass windows will scarcely separate you from this. Pretty civilized. We currently stay at the Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge, Tarangire Sopa Lodge and Serengeti Sopa Lodge on our four day, three night Safari.
You will be in a Land Cruiser, maximum five or six per vehicle. Your vehicle will be driven by an experienced guide/driver. He is the only person who ever drives his vehicle and is responsible for its complete safe operation and maintenance for the two to three years it sees service after it is purchased new by our agent in Arusha. The only seat that sometimes becomes undesirable if the vehicle is full is the front seat with the driver. Everyone in the back is under a canopy that extends up so that you can stand for wildlife viewing and photography while you are in the parks.
On the mountain you will be provided a large three to four gallon cooler of water at each camp, and during our sit down lunches. This water is cartridge filtered by the staff using a large, commercial Katydyn filter. We strongly recommend that each client then treats this water 1L at a time as you fill your bottles, several times each day, using iodine, or other recommended water treatment solutions. We have found that this two stage process is the most effective in preventing water borne issues. Steri Pens work well, but use a lot of batteries and can break, so you always need the backup treatment pills.
For the past few seasons, we have relied on the satellite phone for possible emergency communication while we are on the mountain. Things change from season to season however. We also carry a cell phone and radio phone on the mountain and safari. All our Kili trips are run in our normal, self-contained expedition style. That is to say, complete medical kits, and equipment to deal with emergencies travel with us. This self-reliant approach is especially important in Tanzania where unlike, say Nepal, helicopter evacuation is very limited. The staff of 40 plus experienced Chagga men who travel with each group are who we really rely on for possible emergency response. If necessary they could carry an injured person, and they can run from any location on our route to a road head and telephones in less than one day.
As the standard Lemosho route becomes the Machame on day 3 we don’t see this as a great benefit to having an 8 day Lemosho that many offer. We feel the 7 day Machame or the 9 day Lemosho (with a night at crater rim) are much better options, financially and otherwise.
This is a highly recommended shortlist and we would be happy to pass on a longer reading list for those interested. These links will bounce to Amazon.com with reviews.
During the 2011 Kilimanjaro climbing season, Alpine Ascents began a simple garbage clean up plan.
Created by longtime Kilimanjaro guide Eric Murphy with help from our local contractor Nicholas Minja of Big Expeditions, we began utilizing an extra porter or 2 on each trip, and instructed them to pick up
any excess garbage from other groups during our 7 days on the mountain. During an average trip we were removing up to 80 Kilos (165 lbs) of extra trash. The National park quickly took notice. In late 2012 a new park warden was elected to manage Kilimanjaro and he increased the National Parks enforcement of garbage removal. The park is now looking the cleanest we have seen it in recent times. We continue to encourage the National Park to educate local operators, tourists, and porters about Leave No Trace principles (LNT) while enjoying the mountain.
Alpine Ascents is deeply committed to maintaining ecosystems at home and around the world. With each expedition, trek and course, we not only attempt to leave the environment as we found it, but strive to assist the local population in protecting the land and people indigenous to that region. Alpine Ascents reaches for the highest ethical business practices at home and abroad. Each staff member is dedicated to environmentally sound alpine ascents. On Kilimanjaro Alpine Ascents now hires at least one porter per trip whose sole purpose is to oversee waste removal and clean up.
At Alpine Ascents environmental stewardship remains one of our core values and we take Leave No Trace ethics and practices very seriously. The mountains are our home and we are unwilling to sacrifice their preservation for human objectives. On every one of our courses and climbs we teach and follow the environmentally appropriate Leave No Trace principles and practices.
Over the years, with the assistance of our Sherpa teams, we have stepped up efforts to clean Mt. Everest. Our Wag Bag® program made a pioneering step in human waste management for the National Park System and Forest Service in the North Cascades. On Aconcagua, we pioneered a waste removal system on our climbs, utilizing the WAG Bag® system. And we continue our on-going maintenance and minimal impact plans wherever we guide. We believe that given the proper information most people will do all they can to help protect and maintain the environment. Alpine Ascents is committed to developing safe, self-reliant and environmentally conscious mountaineers.
Logistics were well organized, everything fell into place and even the smallest details were looked after. Assigning an Alpine Ascents guide is an excellent idea for providing a good flow of communication (especially if there’s a problem or issue). My goal was to summit Kilimanjaro without stumbling too much along the way. More seriously, I made many new, quality friends on this adventure and arrived home safe and healthy.