ETHICAL TREATMENT FOR MOUNTAIN CREW
Mountain guides and porters – An indispensable element of your trek
They are an integral part of an every climb we run. Without the hard work of local guides, porters, cooks, camp helpers, your trek wouldn’t be possible! This is also the single most expensive item for an outfitter, and justifiably so, as it is essential to take good care of this indispensable team!
For example, a group of 10 climbers, we typically have a crew of approximately 55 people. Why do we need this many crew members to support our Kili climbs? Not only do they carry all of the group gear (tents, food, safety equipment, climbers’ personal gear, etc.), they are the backbone of all the operations that create an unforgettable journey.
Wanderlust’s operation in Tanzania is a member of Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP), which establishes and monitors porter ethics to improve porter treatment industry-wide and International Mountain Explorers Connection (IMEC) Partnership for Responsible Travel, which recognizes climbing companies with fair treatment practices.
Unfortunately, poor treatment of porters is an epidemic on the mountain and constant debate for discussion. Porters are regularly exploited by scrupulous, unprofessional and budget climbing outfits.
Here’re some of the key elements how Wanderlust treats its team of porters in the mountain.
- We provide hearty and well-balanced meals and have access to clean water and medical attention to keep our porters strong and energized throughout the climb
- we make sure they are properly attired before climbing (with suitable shoes and clothing), provide weather proof shelter
- We ensure that our porters do not carry more than the recommended weight set by the Mount Kilimanjaro National Park authorities. (KPAP guidelines are limited to 42 pounds per porter . You’ll often see porters weighing their bags on the way out of camp).
- Transportation to and from the mountain.
- We ensure that our team have the necessary gear and waterproof clothing to work comfortably and effectively
- We ensure that staff tips are distributed fairly to the mountain guides, porters & cooks.
- We pay above the recommended porter’s daily wages set by Mount Kilimanjaro National Park
Why climb with a KPAP partner company?
Majority of Kilimanjaro operators are not members of KPAP. Non-members do not follow or abide by the protocols of KPAP. Although most claim to care about porter welfare, some of the largest adventure companies are the biggest culprits of porter abuse. They force porters to carry more than the stated KPAP weight limits. They feed porters poorly and often they get only once a day. They sleep in dining tents. They pay their staff half of what we pay or some of the respected outfitters pay. Our advice, only climb with certified KPAP partner companies.
On each and every Wanderlust climb, there is a KPAP represented porter staffed among our crew. We allow this voluntarily so that everything we do is constantly evaluated – porter loads, meals, shelters, wages, even tipping distribution. We welcome this scrutiny, from the top down and do not tolerate any deviance, by anyone, from our welfare guidelines.
After each climb, we encourage trip members to donate clothing and equipment to the porters that will otherwise go unused. If you are interested in donating items, your Trip Leader will help you with this process for equitable distribution.