Questions About the Climb

Below are the ten most frequently asked questions about the climb. For further questions please contact trip organizer Pete Skala at (415) 577-8576 or fill out the form on our contact page and we’ll respond as soon as possible.

If you don't reach your fundraising goal, you can either reschedule your trip or pay the difference out of pocket and continue fundraising towards your goal when you return from the trip (Vision for the Poor will reimburse you for your costs whenever you reach the goal).
Since our first climb in the year 2000, most all climbers are able to meet their fund raising goals using the traditional approach of sending letters followed by one on one contact. To do this you need a list of 50-70 friends, family, and co-workers. In recent years online crowd funding has been another successful method. We recommend a combination of both-- letters/personal contact and crowd funding-- to assure that your trip can be free. But you can be creative – past climbers have come up with a variety of different fundraising events.
We typically "wrap" the winter trip across the last weekend of January through the first weekend of February, and the summer trip from the last weekend of July through the first weekend of August.
No. You can choose a different route, though you will need to pay the difference in cost if there is one. Climbers can agree upon an alternate route, or take different routes (in which case the tour outfit will try to time their climbs so they meet up for the final summit).
Provided you give us a one-month notice, we can refund your deposit or reschedule your climb (your choice).
No. Not unless you want it to be. In which case, we can arrange for that!
We typically fly out of the U.S. on Wednesday night, and return to the States a week from the following Monday, so you are away for 12 days (eight business days). You can cut the trip down by two business days by skipping one of the safaris, but this will mean you have less time to acclimate to the 7- to 10-hour difference in time zones (depending on where in the U.S. you live). You can also arrange to stay longer on either end of the trip, either through the tour outfit we work with or by making your own plans.
The climb is a measured, four-day hike to high altitude, so it is important to be in reasonably good shape for the climb and we encourage you to train to the extent you are able, ahead of time. That said, oxygen uptake is one of the biggest factors in how difficult each person finds the climb, and this is largely determined by your genetics. The tour outfit we work with takes all appropriate steps to help climbers summit, while taking care to not let climbers put themselves in danger.
No. While different people prefer to climb with a variety of different items, all you really need to make the climb is clothes to keep you comfortable from zero to eighty degrees Fahrenheit, a warm sleeping bag, some broken-in hiking boots, a duffle bag, and a day pack. Food, water, and shelter are all provided by the tour outfit.
As with any adventure travel, there are inherent risks in climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. That said, the tour outfit we work with has some of the most experienced and well-trained guides on the mountain. We have been working with them for over a decade and have never had an injury beyond scrapes and bruises.

Give the Gift of Sight!

Your climb will help give the Gift of Sight to poor patients in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Haiti Peru and Mexico! Learn how your trip can be FREE!

Our climb was an amazing challenge. We hiked for three days to the Kibo Hut base camp, slept for just a few hours, and then began our climb at 11 p.m. We hiked through the night, under the full moon, reaching the summit around 7 a.m. The air was thin and our bodies were exhausted. People on the summit seemed to be delusional from altitude and lack of oxygen. As we walked the last hour on the summit ridge, the light of the full moon faded and the sun rose illuminating the African sky. Hiking above the clouds, on a dormant volcano, looking out on glaciers, we could see the world below us, just a sea of clouds. Mountains have an amazing healing power, which remind us just how small we are in the grander scheme of things. I am thankful to have spent time on this mountain and in this dynamic country.

Lindsay Yost