Mount Kilimanjaro Deaths : Most people think of Mount Everest and its “Rainbow Valley” when they think about dangerous mountains to climb. What they don’t realize is that practically every other mountain, including Mount Kilimanjaro-Africa’s highest peak, has its own death stories. Mount Kilimanjaro is a generally risk-free hike. Unfortunately, individuals do die on Kilimanjaro every year.
In this post, I will discuss the frequency of Kilimanjaro fatalities, their underlying reasons, and what this means for hikers planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro-“the Roof of Africa” in 2023/2024 and beyond.
HOW MANY PEOPLE DIE ON MOUNT KILIMANJARO EVERY YEAR?
Every year, over 30,000 people attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, and the recorded number of fatalities ranges between 3 and 10 per year. While there are numerous climber deaths each year, the number of people who die on Kilimanjaro is nowhere near as large as one might imagine.
Several deaths may be avoided if proper climbing skills and equipment are used. When someone dies on Kilimanjaro by accident, their corpses are taken from the mountain by the guides and their team with the assistance of a National Park Ranger.
Because evacuation by helicopter or stretcher is so simple, there are no dead bodies on Kilimanjaro. When people die on Mount Everest, it can be difficult to remove their bodies. Tens of thousands of dollars are spent on final repatriation.
HAVE THERE BEEN DEATHS ON MT. KILIMANJARO?
Climbing almost any significant mountain has a certain danger of death, and Mount Kilimanjaro is no exception. According to recent statistics, the peak claims the lives of about ten climbers each year.
This figure is rounded up because current data only reveals the number of climbers who were pronounced deceased on the scene. Because Kilimanjaro is such a big mountain, there is no way of knowing if locals died in the region and no one knew. Each year, six to seven climbers are killed by different factors such as Acute Mountain Sickness on the mountain.
IS MT. KILIMANJARO SAFE TO CLIMB?
Don’t be fooled by the known deaths into thinking this mountain is a death trap. Mt. Kilimanjaro is remarkably safe in comparison to other large mountain systems. Statistics reveal that there is only a 0.03% chance of dying on the peak, which is a long way from Everest.
Every year, over 30,000 individuals attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. That’s not bad considering only a few individuals die each year.
KILIMANJARO DEATH ZONE
The peak of Kilimanjaro is around the same elevation as Mount Everest Base Camp. Climbers on Everest utilize oxygen in the “death zone,” which is above 26,000 feet. Acclimatization is impossible in the death zone. If you use it to assist you in climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, you risk disguising the symptoms of altitude sickness and interfering with the natural adaptation process.
IS MOUNT KILIMANJARO EASY TO CLIMB?
Yes, in comparison to other mountains (or volcanoes) of its size. This is one of the few mountains of its magnitude that does not necessitate full climbing skills to reach the summit. It’s a long, gradual hill that takes several days of brisk walking to reach.
Most climbing professionals feel that practically anyone in generally excellent health, even if they have never climbed before, can climb this mountain. That cannot be said of other peaks of comparable height.
WHAT KIND OF CONDITIONS CAN I EXPECT WHILE CLIMBING KILIMANJARO?
Mount Kilimanjaro has distinct weather patterns and is divided into four climate zones: rain forest, low alpine, high alpine, and glacial. This implies that the weather on Kilimanjaro can change considerably in 24 hours as you climb higher, so be prepared for the unexpected.
Mount Kilimanjaro, like the rest of Tanzania, has a wet season and a dry season. I recommend that you avoid trekking Kilimanjaro during the wet seasons (April–May), since the mountain pathways can become very slippery and vision is impaired by heavy cloud cover, increasing the likelihood of injury and Kilimanjaro deaths.
WHY DO PEOPLE DIE ON MOUNT KILIMANJARO?
In most other mountains, people die as a result of falling off cliffs. Mount Kilimanjaro differs from other mountains of comparable size in that it does not require climbing to reach the summit. The altitude, however, remains a severe health danger on Kilimanjaro. Climbing a mountain of Kilimanjaro’s elevation can result in major complications. The most common problems people experience while climbing include the following:
Dehydration: Dehydration is one of the most prevalent conditions encountered by climbers. When it comes to the rate of water loss, Kilimanjaro is deceptive. As a result, you should drink enough water while climbing. Otherwise, dehydration could make you sick.
Acute Mountain Sickness, or AMS, arises when exposure to high elevations begins to damage your body’s processes. Fifty percent of climbers will experience some form of AMS. This is not lethal, but it might cause unusual complications such as pulmonary embolisms or pulmonary edema. They are often lethal and are the cause of death on Kilimanjaro.
Oxygen Decrease: As you climb the mountain, your oxygen levels will drop. This causes lightheadedness. Though uncommon, decreased oxygen mixed with additional AMS symptoms might result in death.
Hypothermia: Even in the summer, the pinnacle of Mount Kilimanjaro can experience freezing winds, snow, and storms. If you don’t dress adequately for the cold, you can swiftly get deadly hypothermia—or just a nasty case of frostbite.
Lack of Supplies: Individuals with medical illnesses, such as diabetes, risk dying if they leave their medical supplies at the mountain’s foot.
HOW TO PREVENT DYING ON MOUNT KILIMANJARO
If you’re going to climb, you should do it correctly. This involves finding a guide who knows how to avoid AMS and cure it if symptoms appear. Finding a qualified guide might be aided by conducting research. Besides selecting a competent guide, you can also take the following precautions:
Drinking a lot of water: Many mountain climbing deaths have been connected to dehydration. Experts think that consuming at least four liters of water (or almost a gallon) is sufficient for climbing Kilimanjaro. Most climbing teams will give this to you free of charge and will carry it for you.
While climbing, make sure to get frequent checkups: Without the correct instruments, the onset of AMS might be difficult to detect. Several climbing guides will even give climbers a checkup twice a day to ensure that they are in good enough health to continue.
Taking it slow (“Pole Pole”): Because there is no perfect technique to predict who is at risk for AMS, numerous studies have linked quick climbing to AMS. Even if you don’t believe you’re moving too quickly, it’s wiser to take your time. Listen to your guides if they urge you to slow down.
Take a deep breath: Stepping and breathing are effective ways to keep yourself aerated in many mountain ranges. You will be provided oxygen masks after a certain point to guarantee you get adequate air.
Wear warmer clothing than you think you’ll need: Even in the summer, it gets cold at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro! Several climbers perish from hypothermia as a result of “dressing lightly,” according to the evidence. Don’t make this simple error!
Before you even go, have a checkup: Some prior diseases can increase the chance of developing severe AMS. Knowing if you are in danger can save your life, so tell your doctor about your plans for a comprehensive examination.
HOW DO YOU FIND A GOOD MOUNTAIN GUIDE FOR KILIMANJARO?
Research is the best approach to discovering a trustworthy Tanzania Tour Company. A competent guide Company will have years of expertise, positive feedback from other passengers, and will be delighted to bring medical equipment with them on the trip. While looking for a good Mount Kilimanjaro Tour company, ask the following questions to gain a solid picture of their capabilities:
- Are your employees prepared for medical emergencies?
- Do you bring water, medical supplies, and oxygen tanks with you?
- How long have you been in operation?
- A normal guided climbing trip has how many people?
- Are you covered by insurance?
- What equipment do you use to protect your safety when climbing Kilimanjaro?
- Do climbers get checked out while on the mountain?
- What is your medical insurance policy?
Even though Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the less hazardous mountains of its scale on Earth, there is still a chance of harm when climbing it. Every year, ten climbers who tackle Kilimanjaro pass away from AMS, hypothermia, dehydration, or a combination of these conditions.