We do not actually keep statistics for summit success and I regret that none of the statistics that any company has so far published that I have seen, have been accurate.
One of our agents in South Africa used to publish a success rate for us of 98% on their website but I have no idea where they got this figure. I indicated to them when I first saw this claim that this data was not derived from us, as we deliberately do not publish such data, but they chose to keep the information in place.
I suspect that some operators and their agents may feel tempted to invent figures, knowing that it's impossible for a prospective client to verify their claims.
By contrast, somewhat ironically actually, our (non-published) summit statistics can actually be verified, since we have published reports for every single climb group that has trekked with us over the last few years on our Kilimanjaro live reports site, so you can get a very accurate picture of trends there.
The reason it is very unlikely that we will ever actually publish stats is because doing so places a dangerous burden on a climber, and more dangerously still, on the guide. If a guide knows that his boss uses success rates as a marketing tool, he will be apprehensive about returning from the mountain with anything less than a summit. Putting pressure on a guide to get his climbers to the summit by hook or by crook is understandably very dangerous as he will have to subvert his natural protective instincts to the demands of his office, which is obviously something that Team Kilimanjaro would never allow.
That said, perusing our live climb reports will likely indicate that we would expect at least 19 in every 20 attempts to be successful at summiting.
You shouldn’t necessarily. Our job requires that we aim to determine whether we think you’ll be happier with us or with someone else, as it is disappointing for both of us if it transpires that you were actually after something that we don’t even pretend to offer.
Basically, we are fairly unique in that we are run by mountaineers (though so are African Environments and Alpine Ascents - both excellent operations) and that we have configured our timings and movements and procedures to best ensure hydration, nutrition and rest and to best exploit the principles of safe and thorough acclimatisation in order to maximise the likelihood of your summitting safely and comfortably.
But that said, there are perhaps two or three other groups that can legitimately make similar claims. Of the handful of companies however that have a serious attitude towards their expeditions and that approach an ascent of Kilimanjaro as a mountaineering expedition rather than a mere package trip and business opportunity, we are conspicuously the lowest priced. Again, the reason for this is that we have almost daily departures and correspondingly lower operating margins and can support our staff year round, whereas typically, these other operations run only 5-10 climbs on Kilimanjaro a year and have to pay high wages to entice good guides who work for other companies away from the main operations they usually guide with.
We do not mollycoddle our people and they certainly do not see themselves at all as poor little pathetic exploited Africans (as often seems to be the working assumption behind many questions related to "porter treatment" - as though they were either little pets or trapped in indentured servitude), but on the contrary, most seem to have varied and fulfilling family and social lives, all seem really proud to work with us, and I feel very privileged to have such a dedicated and loyal team of men.
We have some tremendous talent in the team and yet an ethos of humility and humour, while maintaining a very serious and professional attitude about the things that must always be taken seriously. We have a markedly different attitude to Kilimanjaro and everything related to it, than all our competitors and it might be the case that you simply do not identify with the ethos of what we represent.
It is so easy to say only what you strongly suspect that the prospective client wants to hear, but again, we don't do this as we know that this approach may lead to disappointment later on both sides, so before making your choice we would ask you to please aim to derive as much information about us as possible from our website. It’s all sincere and reasonably accurate; and from Googling us independently of what we say about ourselves here on our website, and thereafter to simply decide whether indeed we’re likely to be a good fit with one another, or whether you might simply feel more at home elsewhere. [We used to recommend a couple of other alternatives here but we note that they have since gone out of business or removed their websites].
Yes, plenty! But it wouldn’t be very objective of us to put you in touch with people that we know are only going to say nice things about us. If you visit the following resources you will have direct uncensored access to feedback from more than 200 of our expeditions, feedback that is totally outside our control or ability to edit!