Who ever you end up doing your climb with, please take the time, to get to know your crew. Shake their hand, ask for their name, make sure their shoes are ok. If you are climb with a company where tipping is part of the deal, allways give your tip straight in the hand for the person you intended it for. Don’t let anyone else handle it for you.
Your guide is your best friend on the mountain. Service, guiding, zoology, botanic, geologi, manager, doctor… Almost whatever the situation will require, your guide has it covered. He will be there for you and for the team of porters and assistant guides. One cannot but admire this very special kind of people. They all started as porters and struggled their way through the system to years later become a licensed Kilimanjaro guide. There are many obsticals on the way, and a few make it through as a guide but loose some of their integrity on the way. However, most of those who make it, makes it through as a stronger and better man. As Jacob put it, The well educated guides who know the principles for guiding, and has the leadership skills, will not only be happy for their good salary in Stella track, they will also be proud to work for a fair company
In the end you might exchange contact information and keep in touch with your guide, but feel free to do so with anyone from the team you wish to stay in contact with.
The stop just before doing the final test at the Kilimanjaro National park to get your licens as a guide, is the assistant guide. Possibly the hardest working people on the mountain. They often do all the work of the porters , carrying the equipment and setting up the camp, and as assistant guides they also have many of the duties of a guide, taking care of customers, answering their questions and keeping up the spirit. In the end, they also have the responsibility of taking climbers the last exhausting climb from basecamp to the top of Kilimanjaro. This is the part where most people give up, not because of altitude problems, but simply give up – the task of keeping the spirit high, while at the same time doing the climb himself, is challenging for both guides and assistant guides – But they do it. Most people having made it to the very top, claim they could never had done it without their guide. At this point climbers doesn’t distinguish between guides and assistant guides any more.
The one cooking all your meals and all the meals for the crew. This person does not carry the luggage for you, but he carries some of the food, and some of the kitchen equipment. In order to make you great food, he needs to be on the top w hen reaching the camps, not tired from carrying stuff. The food is essential for your success, and for the crews ability to carry out the task of getting you and all the equipment safely up and down the mountain
The hard working heroes making your climb possible. The limit set by the Kilimanjaro nationalpark, for how much they are allowed to carry, is 25 kg including their own luggage. Every climber requires 3 porters. They carry your luggage (maximum 15 kg) your tent, the mess tent, the kitchen tent and the crew tents, food for you and the crew for the amount of days you will be on the mountain, gas for cooking (fire is not allowed on the mountain), pots, cups and plates, chairs and table for climbers and off course, first aid.
Nothing can make you feel more humble than the line of hard working porters passing by you, as you struggle with your day pack and walking sticks. They seem indestructible, but they are not. They are ordinary people just like you. Their first climb was just as tough as yours. It has happened that porters have died on the mountain, mostly because they were badly equipped for the circumstances.