If you have ever dreamed of doing a Kilimanjaro climb but never thought that dream could be a reality, I encourage you to check out AlpenGlow Expeditions. I recently returned from a trip to climb the mighty mountain and I have nothing but great things to say about the staff, the guidance, the supplies and the overall quality each of us members of the group received. It was a safe climb, it was educational and most of all it was fun! I went from not having any mountaineering skills to being able to use a pick-axe, crampons, and other sorts of hiking gear. I also learned how to boulder and scramble up rocks in a safe manner so as to not hurt my wrists or back. I will tell you this, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is no luxury cruise, it takes a mental toughness and steadfast attitude that I had no idea was even possible. The challenge that the trail leads before you may be daunting but the rewards at the summit are more than worth the hard work.
From my experience and what I have read, the thing that separates AlpenGlow Expeditions from similar mountaineering expeditions is the quality of the mountain guides and the small group sizes. Those two factors, along with the philosophy that education on the mountain, safety, fun and technical abilities are stressed above all else. In fact, the first thing you learn when you go to base camp is that summiting the mountain is secondary to your safety and the pace of the group. Simply tagging a mountain because your mountain guides moved you along at a hurried pace does not feel as rewarding or satisfying when you reach the summit.
The mountain guides at AlpenGlow are all AMGA certified. This means they have taken extensive training in mountaineering and are therefore qualified to be called AMGA mountain guides. You won’t find any guides on the AlpenGlow team that aren’t AMGA guides and that is a huge relief. AlpenGlow was the first mountaineering expedition to require their guides to meet the AMGA standards in the United States. As a student and client of AlpenGlow, you quickly become aware of how important one on one instruction is, especially in a harsh environment like Kilimanjaro.
One of the unique challenges of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is the dramatic shift in weather from the base of the mountain to the summit. When you start your hike, the sun is beating down on your shoulders and you are wearing a t shirt. Sunglasses are a must all the way through because if the sun from overhead doesn’t hurt your eyes, the reflection off the snow (yes, snow) on the summit will surely leave you wishing you had thought ahead. These are details that your climbing guides will go over in your checklist though. I think the experienced climbing guides made a world of difference. They were able to notice when I was doing something incorrectly and then took the time to talk with me and educate me.