Brace Yourself For Kilimanjaro One of Africa’s Most Dangerous Climbs
Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania may be the easiest mountain to conquer of all the summits in the world but being the highest peak in the whole continent, it’s easy concluding Kilimanjaro one of Africa’s most dangerous climbs.
The highest freestanding mountain in the whole world, at 5,895 meters above sea level, it is called Everyman’s Everest because practically anyone can climb it and reach the peak. In fact, the youngest was only 6 years old and the oldest is over 80.
It is also nowhere near as perilous as Everest. One does not need expert mountaineering skills or any of those complicated gadgets to hike up this majestic land form.
Of the 15,000 people who attempt the hike every year, 40% reach the Uhuru Peak. And from that same number, about nine people die annually – making Kilimanjaro one of Africa’s most dangerous climbs as reported in most news articles.
One of the most important questions to ask here is what exactly ‘kills’ these people?
Based on the very accurate reports of the park authorities, people very rarely die from accidental falls or related injuries. It is true that there are areas in the mountain which are truly hazardous such as the Barafu and the Barranco Wall. As long as the climbers follow the guides, nothing wrong will take place.
There was one news report wherein an avalanche took place where eight people were killed. Three of those were American climbers. The rest were porters or guides. This can be considered a ‘freak accident’ since such things don’t happen so often.
Compared to those who die in other summits, this does not necessarily make Kilimanjaro one of Africa’s most dangerous climbs.
So what exactly is the biggest culprit in the picture? The answer: altitude sickness.
Altitude sickness occurs due to lack of acclimatization. In high altitudes, oxygen becomes thinner, making it harder for people to breathe. If not remedied immediately, altitude sickness may cause fatal health conditions such as heart attack, HAPE or High Altitude Pulmonary Edema and HACE or High Altitude Cerebral Edema.
Anyone who attempts climbing should be physically prepared for it. Acclimatization is an important component of this preparation. Those who are not primed for this should not attempt to hike up Kilimanjaro.
But the fact mentioned above practically negates the statement depicting Kilimanjaro one of Africa’s most dangerous climbs. Let’s rehash: out of the 15,000 who climb up Kilimanjaro every single year, 40% reaches the top. 60% of those people turn back because of exhaustion and altitude sickness. Only nine have perished.
Those individuals may not have recognized their own symptoms. They might not have reported it as they should have to their guides who are trained to manage altitude sickness. Or they might have been too obstinate to reach the top that they completely ignored their symptoms and the recommendations to turn back.
According to George Mallory, mountain climbing is not a deadly sport but the mountains are surrounded by dangers that could injure or kill. If you are not well-equipped for this trek ,Kilimanjaro one of Africa’s most dangerous climbs will prove fatal.