Approximately 35,000 to 50,000 people attempt to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro every year. Of those only roughly 40% make it. Why is this? There is a variety of reasons people don’t make the summit. Injury, altitude sickness, not being prepared, or going with a budget operator can all be reasons for failure.
One way you can give yourself a better chance is to use supplemental oxygen on summit night. Though you do not need oxygen to climb Kilimanjaro, it can greatly increase your chances of making it to Uhuru Peak.
For this reason, Peak Planet offers supplemental oxygen for summit night. It is called ALTOX. We only use it for summit night since using it any other time can actually mask the symptoms of altitude sickness. One of our porters will carry the ALTOX and walk along side you, as you make your final ascent toward the summit. If needed, the porter will switch the backpack with your daypack and the medically trained guide will properly gear you up with the oxygen.
How Does It Work?
First of all, the ALTOX is very similar to a scuba tank. Of course, it is less complicated since you are not underwater. The unit consists of a tank, a thin hose, silicone nasal cannula, an elastic band, a pulse dose meter, and a flow indicator. The tank stays in the backpack, with the hose going to the dose meter and then continuing up under your nose. It is held in place with the silicone nasal cannula and the elastic band. Once on, it emits a puff of oxygen into your nostrils every few seconds. This helps you breathe in the thin air as you plod along toward the 19,341-foot summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
The ALTOX package also comes with a second cylinder that is used to practice at lower elevations, so you know how it works before you actually need it. However, just because there are two tanks does not mean two people can use it. There is only enough oxygen for one person per unit.
We do not service the units, we rent them from a third party that has the facilities and equipment to test and maintain the units. If you decide you want it, then you have up until 30 days before your arrival date to cancel. Once it is within 30 days, we will already have paid for the ALTOX. Therefore we need to be paid for it. Think of it like insurance, it is there if you need it but will not get reimbursed if you don’t use it.
So do you need oxygen to climb Kilimanjaro? No. But why risk it. You’ll spend thousands of dollars to get there and the use of oxygen can greatly increase your chance of making the summit. Don’t be part of the 60% that don’t get to experience the euphoria of standing next to the sign on the Roof of Africa!