So you are thinking about tackling one of the challenging items on your bucket list this year. You are an adventurous person and like to hike. Should you do Everest Base Camp or Mount Kilimanjaro? Both are epic trips, they require a big fitness commitment and both cost a lot of money. How do you decide?
Everest Base Camp or Mount Kilimanjaro
Trekking to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and the Everest Base Camp trek rank as two of the most popular treks in the world. Both mountains are the highest peaks on their respective continent. Every year Kilimanjaro has up to 50,000 people attempt its peak and correspondingly 40,000 attempt Everest Base Camp. The allure of the amazing scenery brings both the expert climbers and the novice alike.
With both treks being highly rated by travelers, it can be hard to decide between an Everest Base Camp or Mount Kilimanjaro trek. To help with that decision, many people ask which one is more difficult.
What many trekkers fail to take into account when they compare these two trips is that the Kilimanjaro trek takes you right to the top of the mountain’s summit. The Everest trek takes you through stunning mountains to the Everest Base Camp, which sits at 17,598 feet, but that isn’t the summit. The summit is still almost 9,800 ft above base camp. Mount Everest’s summit is 29,029 feet. The Kilimanjaro summit, Uhuru Peak, sits at 19,341 feet. Which makes it 1,640 feet higher than Everest Base Camp.
If making your objective is important, you should measure it based on success rates. Unfortunately, these percentages are not very reliable. Official sources are old and not very accurate. Trip operators, trying to sell you on going with their company, boast inflated numbers.
If you really sit down and take the time to do the homework you will find out that Everest Base Camp trek has a success rate of around 90%. Kilimanjaro’s success rate is more difficult to average since there are several routes to the summit. A rule of thumb is if the route has you on the mountain for 8 or 9 days the success rate is over 90%. For every day you subtract the success rate diminishes by 20%. If you choose to cut costs by going with a budget operator, you also decrease your chances of summiting due to under-trained and under-equipped guides and porters, insufficient meals, and old and worn out equipment. To increase your success rate, you should choose a trekking operator and route carefully.
Everest Base Camp trek has a much more reliable success rate. But this is due to there being only one main well-established route. Tourism along this route has also been established for decades. Kilimanjaro has been popular with tourists for a much shorter time. You also have to take into account the several routes, budget operators and a less established tourist infrastructure.
Many people underestimate the difficulty of climbing Kilimanjaro. This too lowers the overall success rate. In other words, your experience on an Everest Base Camp trek will be fairly predictable, whereas for Kilimanjaro there are a lot of variables which can affect your chance of summiting. It is important that when choosing to climb Kilimanjaro, do your research, pick a good company to trek with and make sure you are appropriately prepared for the challenge, maximizing your chance of success.