After the death of a loved one, the entire landscape of life changes - routine becomes rigorous, familiar becomes foreign.
This, after all, was not the plan. This was not on your map.
But maybe, in those dark moments where you've felt small and powerless, you've also sensed that you are meant to do something big.
It's not like you're in your comfort zone anyway.
Share a truly fearless journey with TAPS survivors as we climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa. Every step on this ascent will move us farther away from feelings of doubt, fear, and insignificance. As guests of the mountain, we will be led to consider what we really can control. We will learn to trust our guides, our team, and our gear. Our choices will matter.
Join us as we find new purpose, gain radical perspective, and remember what it feels like to live with determination.
Who can attend?
The Kilimanjaro Expedition is open to all adult survivors over 18 including parents, widows, adult children, siblings, battle buddies, extended family, etc.
What will the trip be like?
Every trip is different. However, you can read an account in the TAPS Magazine from surviving spouse Jennifer who climbed Kilimanjaro with TAPS in 2015 to learn more. The participant roster in both 2015 and 2016 included those with no previous camping experience, an age range from 29-57, and both males and females. We'll be in Africa for two days before we start our seven-day climb. Most days, we'll hike for at least six hours and gain 2,000 feet of elevation, though summit day is up to 16 hours with 3,000 feet elevation gain and 7,000 feet elevation loss. We'll have porters carrying most of our gear, so we'll be hiking with a day pack that is typically no more than 15 to 20 pounds. Our meals are prepared for us, and we eat in a dining tent. The weather typically requires a base layer plus one lightweight layer during the day. At night, it does get cold on the mountain, and you'll be wearing multiple layers as you maneuver around camp at night. For more detailed information and an FAQ, read the trip overview on the Alpine Ascents website.
How much does it cost?
Expedition costs are NOT covered by TAPS. The trek price will be $4,350 per person for a group of 10 or $4,000 per person for a group of 15 and does not include your international airfare to/from Tanzania, visas or passport fees. Fees for the trip will be paid directly to our trekking guides at Alpine Ascents.
When do we leave?
The TAPS Expedition team will depart the U.S. on Feb. 4, and we will return to the states on Feb. 14. The trip is a seven-day hike, however there is time built in for travel, and two days in Arusha before and after the hike for prep and rest!
What is our route?
Our trip includes an exciting and breathtaking itinerary that travels the Mechame route through five distinct ecosystems in seven days with an optional two-day safari following. This is the classic climb of Kilimanjaro and does not require mountaineering experience.
How do I apply?
Participants who want to make the TAPS Kilimanjaro Expedition journey will be asked to fill out an application. Applications will be reviewed every two weeks, so we encourage you to apply early. If more applications are received than we have slots available, we will do a random drawing from qualified applicants. Applications for this Expedition are now closed.
I don't know anyone else on the team. What if I don't fit in?
There will be monthly team meetings via conference calls or video calls that are mandatory for participants in order to form a team bond and gain familiarity with each other. We fully expect for your team members to become your family and an ongoing support network long after the TAPS Expedition is complete. In addition, you will have access to our online Facebook group, which will include participants from this Expedition, as well as those who participated in previous Expeditions so you can ask questions and learn from their experience.
I have no climbing experience, can I still go?
The rigorous Expedition requires no mountaineering experience, but does necessitate that you be physically fit and healthy. All climbers are asked to follow, at minimum, a two-month training regimen. This fitness program involves four workouts a week and prepares you for the physical demands and geographical and climate variations for the ascent. We'll also be having conference calls and online video meetings to go over training regimens, gear lists and more!
I have more questions. Who can I talk to?