Two more positive reviews have been posted through our virtual letterbox and landed with a light thud on our virtual doormat. Of course, we’re not taking bookings at the moment – have decided to take the summer off to spend some more time with my young son and work on a couple of new projects – so these ‘reviews’ are referring to treks that took place before the end of March (the last month for which were taking bookings.)
Both of the reviews are slightly unusual in that the first talks about an injury to one of their party caused by a fall (quite an unusual occurrence on Kili) and the second talks about watching someone from another group, with a different company, dying as they made their way to the summit, presumably from altitude sickness. (As usual, these fatalities are hushed up – it’s in neither the park’s interest nor the trekking company concerned to have such tragedies publicised, after all; so details are few and those we do know we can’t publish.)
Puts everything into perspective.
Anyway, here are the reviews. First up, Samantha King, who reached the top last month after climbing via the good old Machame Route:
I hope all is well.
We’ll I’m sure you have heard by now, but I did it!!!!
What a week…..
I just wanted to send over a message to say thank you so much for helping to organise the trip. It was an amazing experience and one I certainly will not forget.
I’m not sure if you will have been told but Carolyn had a fall coming down from Lava tower. The next morning she decided (along with Mike) to return to base and started the way down the mountain. Unfortunately on the way down the weather was not so kind and she fell again and this time broke her ankle bone in 3 places. The reason I am telling you this is that the team were amazing with her throughout. We had every confidence in Jackson (our lead guide) and the team from the get go and then when they were needed the most, they were there and ready for the challenge. Felix (2nd guide) returned Caroline to Arusha where she received medical attention and they continued to check on her throughout the remaining days of the trip. I was still climbing at this point so was unaware of the situation, in many ways to the credit of the team (as I don’t know if I would have managed the rest of the trek, knowing Carolyn’s situation).
Jackson, Felix, Rama (who I have nicknamed The Machine!) and the whole team were absolutely fantastic and through both Carolyn’s and my own experience, we could not have asked for a better team and assistance for the week.
From the trek to the Safari (Marco our guide was lovely and looked after us very well over the two days) I could not fault the trip in any way and wanted to send a message to you to let you know. Mike and Carolyn have already said that they will return to finish the climb, once Carolyn is better, and I hope to return for a longer Safari experience.
Thank you again and we’ll be sure to contact you once Carolyn and Mike are ready to coordinate the climb again.
Next up, from Daniel Whitington, who reached the summit via the Alternative Lemosho Route:
“It’s taken me a bit to get around to writing this, but I wanted to offer a review of my experience climbing with Climb Mount Kilimanjaro. We did the Alternative Lemosho route on Febuary 16-23 with Hesbon as our chief guide.
First, it was fantastic! Ours clearly was a top notch team that provided outstanding service. This was evident from the first day when Hesbon, our chief guide, sat down and individually asked each of us how we were doing. He deliberately took the time to press each of us about how we felt, not accepting “fine” as sufficient to gauge our condition. This persisted every evening on the mountain–our guides were constantly assessing our physical and mental condition. I felt great from day one until the summit, so I didn’t need much encouragement. Others, who felt a bit discouraged and were more affected by the altitude received focused encouragement. I could tell that Hesbon and Ismael were effectively encouraging them and helping them throughout the climb. At least one climber certainly would have given up without their encouragement.
On summit day, our guides took the time to look in each of our eyes at every break, on the lookout for early signs of edema. Furthermore, they assembled additional porters to ensure a 1:1 ratio on summit day and to relieve us of any additional weight. Ibrahim, the porter who was carrying my backpack, did a fantastic job. He was at my side the second we stopped to provide me with water, and he even helped me put on my mittens.
On the descent, when finally the altitude seemed to catch up to me and I was suffering from a bad headache, Ismail took me by the arm and helped me descend quickly to get down to an easier altitude. Yet another instance of the team going above and beyond.
While all the porters were a joy to interact with, I would also like to single out Kizindaro. Serving as one of the waiters, his constant smiling and friendliness really added to the dynamic of the group. Every morning, he enthusiastically greeted us as he brought us hot water and coffee and his cheerfulness really enhanced the experience. A frequent topic at every meal was how much we enjoyed Kizindaro.
Benjamin, the porter caring my personal belongings, sought me out the moment I got to camp to personally show me to my tent.
Tragically, on our summit day we came across a man trekking with a different company who collapsed about 1km short of the summit. His guides had already left with other members of his group and he was left only with porters. My mother in-law (a doctor) and Hesbon were the first to recognize that he was clearly dying, and while they attempted to resuscitate him, it was too late. His porters were clueless–they had attempted to administer oxygen but had neglected to turn on the valve of the tank. Obviously this was a sad event, but I think it is important to mention because it really put our team into perspective–I have no doubt that Hesbon would have prevented this man’s death had he been trekking with our group instead. Hesbon’s constant attentiveness would have certainly alerted him to the early signs and I am confident he would have not let the man continue ascending. Furthermore, had any of us needed to descend early, I know Hesbon would not have left any individual to continue to the summit only with porters. Our team exhibited a professionalism which was tragically lacking in this man’s trekking company.
In summary, my wife and I had a fantastic time. While we appreciated our entire team, we especially would like to call out Hesbon, Ismail, Ibrahim, and Kizindaro for really going the extra mile to make our trip special.
Daniel and Lila”