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Author Topic: Kilimanjaro via the Western Breach, February 2005  (Read 12686 times)

Jaybird-99

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Hi, this is my first post to this excellent forum.

I have just summitted Kilimanjaro (February 24th, 2005) and have created a trip journal of my experiences here

http://www.bearings.f2s.com/7summits/Kilimanjaro%20Journal.pdf

As my journal states, my outdoors and trekking/climbing experience is next to nil, but I definitely seem to have caught the bug.

Constructive comments would be welcome

thanks

John
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Re: Kilimanjaro via the Western Breach, February 2005
« Reply #1 on: Mar 19 2005, 14:27 »

Hey John,

Welcome to the forum and congratulations on your summit! Thanks for your compliments and for linking to an excellent report, good to see an honest report about climbing Kili. It is definately not easy and like on any high altitude mountain you should always take care.

I have read it all as it was easy to read and enjoyed the photographs as well. Here are some comments:

- First of all I think you paint a realistic picture of climbing Kili: in short, it's tough, you will feel bad at times, but it is definately worth it. I totally agree.

- you climbed with the wrong company  ;) It's your choice but we organize the exact same trip for about half the price... see the Kilimanjaro trips prices. I know they try to justify the $1000 or more extra profit by supplying Gamow bags etc, but have they actually ever used them? They should not as any pulmonary /cerebral oedema victim should be taken down the mountain immediately instead, which due to the emergency roads and resque services is relatively easy to do and will help anyone much more and better than using the Gamow bag.

- The use of oxygen actually shocked me, and I think it was dangerous. I understand you felt bad and that a short shot made you feel better, as it is just a short term drug. Problem is that your body gets a much harder blow after stopping with oxygen which can get you into real trouble. Like taking any drug it will wear off when you don't want it to, even compare it to a snort of cocaine to rush up the hill and then running out of 'energy' when you need it the most.
In your case you did not seem bad enough to descend, but in other cases, if someone actually needs oxygen, they should descend immediately, even one camp down (max few hours) would be enough and be the prefered option here. The effect was very likely just psychological as you did not seems to use oxygen for hours, but still I strongly advise against this.

I noticed you are going for all 7! Again, check some prices on this site first, like Aconcagua, Elbrus and Everest!
Also I noticed that you used some of my pictures on your site, please see the disclaimer about this. Normally all non-commercial sites can use my pix in certain ways, but only after getting permission. The photography is part of my livelyhood and what keeps this site free and up and running. Commercial organisations have to pay for the right to use them. You can use them on your site, but then should add the required copyright notice.

Thanks again, looking forward to your next adventures and posts!

Cheers,
Harry  8)
« Last Edit: Mar 19 2005, 14:33 by 7summits »
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janets

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Re: Kilimanjaro via the Western Breach, February 2005
« Reply #2 on: Mar 29 2005, 10:11 »

Harry, are you saying that your company doesn't take a Gamow bag on your Western Breach climb ???

Tusker, the Kiliwarriors, Thompsons, Mountain Madness and others all indicated to me the importance of a Gamow bag when you camp near the Crater Rim on Kilimanjaro.

Janet
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Re: Kilimanjaro via the Western Breach, February 2005
« Reply #3 on: Jul 28 2005, 19:44 »

Harry, are you saying that your company doesn't take a Gamow bag on your Western Breach climb ???

Tusker, the Kiliwarriors, Thompsons, Mountain Madness and others all indicated to me the importance of a Gamow bag when you camp near the Crater Rim on Kilimanjaro.

Janet
Hi Janet,

Ever noticed that all these companies charge at least double, but mostly triple compared to our prices? And that for exactly the same trip? They are struggling to find ways to give 'good' reasons for the extremely high prices. Of course they say that everything they bring for the high price is necessary, why else would you pay a few thousand extra? You would be crazy to do that, wouldn't you?  :_)

Again, a Gamow bag is not needed as descent is the only solution and it is easy on Kili to descend. But somehow many people fall for the oxygen en Gamow bag trick and pay so much money that they could have bought a bag themselves...

I can easily say that a full down suit is needed on Kilimanjaro, charge everybody $2500 extra and give them all a $1000 suit. But I don't do that.

BTW, if you want you can rent a Gamow bag from us that is possible (for far less than $100), but normally we do not take it up. Actually normally we DO bring oxygen, but this is for extreme emergency only, not to bring sick climbers higher, and certainly do not advertise it.

Best regards,

Harry
« Last Edit: Aug 9 2005, 13:06 by 7summits »
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617

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Re: Kilimanjaro via the Western Breach, February 2005
« Reply #4 on: Aug 1 2005, 18:55 »

Harry, are you saying that your company doesn't take a Gamow bag on your Western Breach climb ???

Tusker, the Kiliwarriors, Thompsons, Mountain Madness and others all indicated to me the importance of a Gamow bag when you camp near the Crater Rim on Kilimanjaro.

Janet

I did the Western Breach as a snowy (!!!) New Years Day climb last Dec/Jan. Why don't you try some peaks at home to get used to being higher up first. Anyway, if you need a Gamow bag, just running down will be the best thing to do. In fact, probably you'd have felt bad a lot sooner and should have turned around then and there instead of heading up further.

Western Breach is a nice route though - seperates the men from the boys:)
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Kilimanjaro (2005), Elbrus (2006), Kosciuszko (2010), next is Aconcagua

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Re: Kilimanjaro via the Western Breach, February 2005
« Reply #5 on: Aug 1 2005, 22:07 »

That's right 617, but then the expensive companies will no longer have an excuse to charge triple...

Here is an interesting and very recent story for everybody:

7summits.com organised the Kilimanjaro peace climb last month as a preparation and booster for the Everest peace climb. While the 9 climbers were enjoying the Lemosho /Western Breach route, one of them did not feel good and was accompanied down with a friend and a guide. No problem, the other 7 summited and all was well.

But the night they slept in the crater something strange happened:
The leader of our team -and my friend- Lance Trumbull, heard noises in a tent of one of the high price outfitters and went to check it out. Apparently one guy was busy dying and the guide was just sitting there watching it. Lance gave dexamethason and organized the resque/evacuation while the sick man's guides were just doing nothing, Lance was saving this man's life, something the man thanked him for later on.
 
The guides -yes, from the same 'safe' company charging extra for oxygen and gamow bags- had given this man extra oxygen on his way up to the crater as he was feeling very bad. Of course he should have descended, but, hey, he had paid for oxygen right? Then at night he almost died because of this, if Lance had not helped him, he would not have survived.

This proves my point in so many ways, it is scary.  :?)
And Lance found out later that one person died that night from another high cost group. :_)

Makes you think...
« Last Edit: Aug 9 2005, 17:54 by 7summits »
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Frans

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Re: Kilimanjaro via the Western Breach, February 2005
« Reply #6 on: Aug 9 2005, 16:23 »

Hi , I'm following this discussion with much attention.

I'm trying to find the right organisation to go Kili and the safety aspect is very important for me. As every year 10 out of 25000 tourists die on Kili I'm wandering who were their outfittters ? How about the statistics of 7summits ?

Thanks in advance
Frans
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teamkilimanjaro

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Re: Kilimanjaro via the Western Breach, February 2005
« Reply #7 on: Aug 11 2005, 06:22 »

Interesting suggestion, Frans. However, no such figures will likely be available.

It could potentially be misleading if figures were available as there are certain deaths that are unavoidable (mostly corollary disorder related) however competent the operator, and certain risk groups that, ironically, are attracted to certain companies precisely because they perceive that the extra care they would require will likely be available with the company they are electing to climb with.

For instance xxx is a long established British outfit and so has acquired a good reputation. Mr X suffers a heart condition and determines to use a company with a good reputation - he believes - as a sort of insurance policy against the possibility of coronary complications on the mountain. He therefore chooses to pay more, whereas had he been younger and so less cautious, he'd have opted for a cheaper company that he hadn't necessarily heard of previously.

Sadly Mr X dies and the good company he's with suffers the statistical fallout.

Several such Mr X's later the best British operator now has the worst reputation, if such a table of statistics exists and is made available.

You'd be advised to ignore the spiel about Gamow bags, supplemental oxygen, defibrillators and pulse oximeters since all operators have now learnt the lingo. They may not understand the first thing about the appropriate application of these aids and yet they feel confident in being able to assert their competence in the field of high altitude safety simply because the company owner - who may simply be an overseas investor who chanced upon an easy business opportunity during a safari, and who uses the very same staff as the cheapest companies, and has simply invested in powerful branding and web optimisation, but hasn't the first idea about mountaineering - has purchased a few toys that he thinks will sound impressive to his wealthy but undiscerning potential clients.

Give the chap a good grilling on pulse oximetry and ask him to explain why the fittest people on a climb and who may even have been exposed to altitude elsewhere recently will often show the lowest SpO2. You'll pretty soon determine for yourself who knows their stuff.

Rather try to work out whether the character you'll be dealing with is a mountaineer and not simply a businessman. That's the surest means of staying alive on Kilimanjaro.

The people running this forum sound to us like mountaineers.

Best wishes,

www.teamkilimanjaro.com

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Re: Kilimanjaro via the Western Breach, February 2005
« Reply #8 on: Aug 11 2005, 14:42 »

Thanks team, you beat me to a similar reply. You are right about the high priced outfitters, they do attract less fit people who have more money and fall for the false security, thereby ruining their statistics. Which does not mean they are not competent as many of these outfitter offer very nice trips with experienced guides, they just charge more for the same thing.

Actually probably 10 out of every 25,000 people will die on holiday, no matter where you are as accidents, heart failures etc often happen on vacation.
I can tell you that no client of ours has died on a Kilimanjaro trip. People come to me as they know we will not sell basic trips, but advise the clients and work with them, based on our own experiences all over the world on high and less high mountains.  8)

We ask them about their shape, wishes, experience and then recommend an itinerary. And yes, I have told many clients that I would not do something they proposed at it was too short of a timespan or people were not experienced enough. I want my clients to be happy and return to 7summits.com

Check out some of the client comments here:
http://7summits.com/expeditions.php#clientcomments

And yes, TeamK, I have seen my share of mountains and oximeters   ;D

Cheers,

Harry
www.7summits.com
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