Mount Kilimanjaro Deaths
When it comes to dangerous mountains to climb, most people immediately think of Mount Everest and its “Rainbow Valley.” What they don’t realize is that almost every other mountain has its own tales of death—including Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa.
How many people die on Kilimanjaro every year?
Approximately 30,000 people attempt to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro every year and on average the reported number of deaths is about 3 to 10 fatalities per year. Despite being one of the most dangerous climbs, the death rate on Kilimanjaro is lower than expected.
Many deaths are preventable with proper climbing techniques and Equipment.
When the people accidentally die on Kilimanjaro their dead bodies are evacuated from the mountain by the Guides their crew with the help of the National Park ranger.
It’s a very easy to do evacuation by use of a Helicopter or a stretcher that’s why there are no dead bodies on Kilimanjaro. Unlike Mount Everest when people die, it can be difficult to remove their bodies. Final repatriation costs tens of thousands of dollars.
Have There Been Deaths on Mt. Kilimanjaro?
Almost every major mountain holds a certain risk of death associated with climbing it, and Mount Kilimanjaro is no different. According to recent statistics, the mountain has approximately ten climber deaths every year.
This estimate is rounded up since the current data only shows the documented number of climbers who were pronounced dead on site. Since Kilimanjaro is a massive mountain, there is no way to tell if locals may have died in the area without anyone knowing. Each year, one can expect six to seven climbers to die on the mountain.
Is Mt. Kilimanjaro Safe to Climb?
Don’t let the documented deaths fool you into thinking this mountain is a death trap. Compared to other major mountain chains, Mt. Kilimanjaro is remarkably safe. Statistics show that there is only a 0.03% chance of dying on the mountain—a far cry from mountains like Everest.
Around 30,000 people climb Mount Kilimanjaro every year. Considering that only a handful of people die every year, that’s not bad.
Kilimanjaro Death Zone
Despite standing at a height of 5,895 meters (19,341 feet), Mount Kilimanjaro does not have a traditional “Death Zone” like those found in high-altitude mountaineering, as its summit falls well below the 8,000-meter mark.
Nonetheless, this does not mean that there are no potential dangers and risks associated with climbing the mountain.
Kilimanjaro summit is roughly the same elevation as Mount Everest Base Camp. Climbers on Everest use oxygen in the so-called “death zone”, above 26,000 ft. It’s impossible to acclimatize in the death zone. If you were to use it to help you summit Mount Kilimanjaro then you risk masking the symptoms of altitude sickness, as well as interrupting the natural adaptation process.
Is Mount Kilimanjaro Easy to Climb?
Compared to other mountains (or volcanoes) of its size, yes. This is one of the only mountains of its size that does not require full climbing skills to get to its highest levels. It’s a long, gradual slope that takes several days to reach through brisk walking.
Most climbing experts agree that almost anyone in reasonably good health can climb this mountain, even if they have not been trained in rock climbing. That is not something people can say about other peaks of its height.
What are the main causes of Mount Kilimanjaro deaths?
The main cause of death on Mount Kilimanjaro is believed to be altitude sickness, specifically Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE), and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE).
With most other mountains, people usually die because of falling from the cliffs. Mount Kilimanjaro is different than other mountains of similar sizes since you do not need to climb to reach the top of the mountain. However, there still is a significant health risk with Kilimanjaro—the altitude.
Scaling a mountain of Kili’s altitude can lead to serious issues. The most common problems people experience while climbing include:
- Dehydration. Kilimanjaro is deceptive when it comes to the rate of water loss people get. As a result, you need to drink extra water when you are climbing. Otherwise, you may get sick from dehydration.
- AMS. AMS, also known as Acute Mountain Sickness, occurs when exposure to high altitudes begins to affect your body functions. Fifty percent of climbers will suffer some level of AMS. This isn’t fatal, but it can bring about rarer issues, such as pulmonary embolisms or pulmonary edema. Those can be fatal and are often a cause of death on Kilimanjaro.
- Oxygen Decrease. As you ascend the mountain, oxygen levels will run lower. This results in lightheadedness. Though rare, you can technically die from reduced oxygen combined with other complications of AMS.
- Hypothermia. Even during summer months, the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro can be home to icy winds, snow, and storms. If you do not dress appropriately for cold temperatures, you can quickly come down with lethal hypothermia–or just a bad case of frostbite.
- Lack of Supplies. People who have medical conditions such as diabetes can die if they leave their medical supplies at the base of the mountain.
How to Prevent Mount Kilimanjaro Deaths
If you are going to climb, it’s essential to climb the right way. This includes finding a guide who understands how to avoid AMS and treat it if symptoms start to occur. Doing your research can help with finding a qualified guide. Aside from picking an excellent guide, there are other preventative measures you can take, including:
- Drinking a lot of water. Dehydration has been linked to several mountain climbing deaths. Experts agree that drinking at least four liters of water (or approximately a gallon) is sufficient for scaling a mountain the size of Kilimanjaro. Most climbing crews will provide this for free and will do the carrying for you.
- Get regular checkups while you climb. The onset of AMS can be hard to notice without proper equipment. Many climbing guides will go so far as to give climbers a checkup twice a day to ensure that they are healthy enough to continue.
- Taking it slow. Though there’s no foolproof way to determine who is at risk for AMS, there have been multiple studies linking climbing at a fast pace with AMS. Even if you don’t think you are going too fast, it’s better to take your time. If your guide tells you to slow down, listen to them.
- Breathe deep. In many mountain ranges, stepping and breathing are an excellent way to make sure that you keep yourself aerated. After a certain point, you will be given oxygen masks to ensure you get enough air.
- Wear clothes that are warmer than you think you will need. It gets cold at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, even during the summer! There’s evidence to suggest that some climbers die from hypothermia as a result of “dressing lightly.” Don’t make this easy-to-avoid mistake!
- Get a checkup before you even go there. Certain preexisting conditions can worsen the risk of severe AMS. Knowing if you are at risk can save your life, so make sure to tell your doctor about your plans to get the full checkup.
How Do You Find A Good Mountain Guide for Kilimanjaro?
The best way to find a guide you can trust is through research. A good guide company will have years of experience, rave reviews from fellow travelers, and will be happy to bring medical equipment along for the trip. When interviewing crews, it’s best to ask the following to get a good idea of their capabilities:
- Are your staffers trained for medical emergencies?
- Do you bring water, medical gear, and oxygen tanks along for the ride?
- How long have you been in business?
- How many people are in a typical guided climbing trip?
- Are you insured?
- What equipment do you use to ensure safe travel when scaling Kilimanjaro?
- Do climbers get checkups while they are climbing?
- What is your medical policy?
References and reputation matter more than a price tag. If you are not referred to a guide by a travel agency or through a government-approved tourist board, it’s best to avoid using them. Even if they are cheap, it’s not worth risking your life over a few extra bucks. It is better to be safe than to be sorry. Read more on how to find a good Kilimanjaro Company
Has anyone died climbing Kilimanjaro?
Below We have the article reference for people who have died climbing Mount Kilimanjaro:
- Irish climber dies on Mount Kilimanjaro – https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-20895327
- When death rained down the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro – https://tucson.com/news/when-death-rained-down-the-slopes-of-mount-kilimanjaro/article_64dd3557-6f80-55a5-8997-0f5851bab975.html
- Irish woman (35) dies while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro – https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/irish-woman-35-dies-while-climbing-mount-kilimanjaro-1.3156491
- South African rally driver Gugu Zulu dies on Kilimanjaro – https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-36823937American climber dies on Mount Kilimanjaro- https://apnews.com/aec8a84bc0e872ae27f234baf11d3417
- Dutch climber dies after reaching Mt. Kilimanjaro summit- https://nltimes.nl/2017/10/09/dutch-climber-dies-reaching-mt-kilimanjaro-summit
- Entrepreneur killed by falling boulder while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with his wife during year-long trip around the world – https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3237080/Entrepreneur-TED-speaker-33-killed-falling-boulder-climbing-Mount-Kilimanjaro-wife-year-long-trip-world.html
While Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the least dangerous mountains of its size on Earth, we can’t ignore the fact that there is still a risk in climbing it. Approximately ten people who attempt to climb Kilimanjaro die every year due to AMS, hypothermia, dehydration, or a mixture of these factors.