Why Ascent Is A Step Above

We have a 90 per cent success rate for summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro and a 100 per cent success rate in terms of safety. More than 40,000 trekkers visit Mt. Kilimanjaro each year and only 75 per cent of all who set out for the summit reach it.

We take you up over seven days, rather than the more common five day journey. The extra time, which includes two days and nights at 14,000 feet, allows for smoother acclimatization as you hike up toward the summit and is one factor of our high success rate. On summit night, the guide to climber ratio is two to one.

For many people, committing to Ascent for Alzheimer’s fulfills a desire to fundraise for a cause that has touched their lives. Many participants have had someone close to them diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia and are looking for a way to honour their loved one as they raise awareness about the disease.

Because Ascent participants are responsible for paying their own travel expenses, all funds raised go directly to supporting the work of the Alzheimer Society of B.C. Participants are committed to fundraising a minimum of $10,000 through personal fundraising initiatives or sponsorship. Since inception, Ascent has raised over $2 million dollars.

Since 1998, world-renowned guide Sue Oakey-Baker has served as local guide and team mentor. She coordinates everything from training the team here on the local mountains, to planning the route the team takes up Mt. Kilimanjaro, and has often acted as the Ascent guide. Former Ascent alumni also often take part in local training sessions and offer wisdom on the experience.

Since the first Ascent for Alzheimer’s in 1998, Sue Oakey-Baker has developed a strong relationship with the Marangu Hotel, located in the village of Marangu. A family-run business, the hotel is managed by Seamus Brice-Bennett, who often serves as a guide on the hike. The porters who work out of the hotel look forward to accompanying our Ascent teams and have been credited by many as integral to this life-changing experience.

An English-speaking trip leader with first aid training and experience in high-altitudes accompanies each group in addition to the African guides, assistant guides and porters.

So many people ascend Mt. Kilimanjaro via the Marangu route that it has earned the nickname of “Coca-Cola Route.” While the route to the summit can vary based on a variety of factors, Ascent teams typically ascend via the Rongai Route, a route that is less crowded than the Marangu Route. The Rongai route also gives teams the opportunity to spend time at beautiful Mawenzi as they acclimatize to the 14,000 feet of elevation.

Brought together through training and the journey itself, Ascent teams are united by their commitment to people impacted by dementia. Set at a maximum of 12 participants per team, the groups really get to know each other and often forge strong friendships.

More than 180 Canadians have participated in Ascent for Alzheimer’s since its inception in 1998. Each one of them is remarkable for not only making the journey, but for their commitment to making a difference in the lives of those impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.