is a huge, and very difficult, accomplishment.
Many people Like to know how to best prepare
for Kilimanjaro success. Read on for a succinct
list of recommendations for what to do before
and during your Kili hike.
1. Mental conditioning
is key. If summiting is important
to you (and it should be) you need to
put your body and your mind in a position
to succeed. Many people dont realize
the mental challenge that Kili presents.
Be mentally prepared for that challenge.
Have mental toughness.
2. Respect the moutains power.
Disrespecting mother nature will eventually
get kicked, big time. In the old days,
There are no gods at Uhuru Peak, but youre
wise to take the power of nature and altitude
extremely seriously. Diamox (or generic
version, acetazolamide) helps mitigate
3. Gear up,
the right way. Bring the essential
equipment to succeed: comfortable hiking
shoes, for obvious reasons; ear plugs,
to tune out snorers and wind at night;
wet wipes, for a restorative tent bath
before dinner each night; and a pair of
warm wool socks for only sleeping in.
Avoid over-gearing yourself. Those who
think fancy gear will help them summit
are fooling themselves. Nothing beats
preparation and a comfortable pair of
4. Sleep with
your batteries. Keep your camera and
phone batteries in your sleeping bag at
night, as they drain rapidly in cold.
Or bring a solar charger, which is a great
way to keep charged for good photos.
5. Bring non-sugar
hard candy. In the dry air above 12,000
feet, your mouth gets dry on the trail.
Hard candy or throat lozenges work well.
Absent any, place a pebble on your tongue;
it keeps your saliva glands active.
6. Prepare for
a dusty downclimb. Bring a surgical
mask or a bandana to avoid eating and
breathing dust on the downclimb.
7. Have a plan
for photo management. Prepare a way
to keep your camera within easy reach
as youre hiking each day, so that
you have no excuse for not taking a photo
when the opportunity presents itself.
Some of the best photos are the result
of having a camera ready to shoot in an
instant. Ber ready!
hydrate hydrate. Bring at least two
1-liter high-quality water bottles for
your personal daily supply on the trail.
(Do not re-use large store-bought spring-water
bottles; its not a smart cheap alternative).
Your drinking water will be boiled each
morning and then poured into the bottle
you present to the porters after breakfast;
you dont want plastics chemicals
leaching into your water supply.
9. Save your
knees. For those with knee or back
issues, use hiking poles on the downclimb.
Use them to use your upper body as much
as possible to relieve the pounding on
your lower body. Better to have sore shoulders
and arms for a couple days than a wrecked
back or throbbing knees for weeks.
10. For women,
plan ahead if your cycle will coincide
with your time on the mountain. If you
experience great discomfort, absolutely
do not be shy about telling your guide,
who will probably be a man. The guides
are incredibly supportive, experienced
and dedicated to getting you to Uhuru
Peak. And theres absolutely nothing
they havent heard before. Help them
help you succeed.
11. Learn to
love the outhouse. Be prepared for
peeing and pooping in wooden outhouses
for several days in a row. Sometimes theyre
clean; a few may be nasty. There will
not be sit-down toilets. Keep a roll of
Toilet paper in your day pack. Pay attention
to your body; you have to keep your GI
tract healthy and moving along.
12. Dance. At
least once during your Kili climb, youll
arrive at your camp exhausted from hours
of hiking, and the porters, who arrived
an hour or more ahead of you, will break
out into song and dance to greet you.
Dont be lame and just take photos.
Dance with them, too. You only live once.
13. Hang out
with your porters. Get to know a little
bit about your unbelievable Tanzanian
support team: Not just the guides but
also the porters. Porters are the Ironmen
of Kilimanjaro. They will outpace you,
at altitude, while carrying 50 pounds
of gear on their necks, treading in battered
sneakers . Few speak good English, so
ask your lead guide to translate your
thoughts and questions into Swahili.
14. Avoid kid
beggars. Reward kid entrepreneurs.
On your final day, after summiting, youll
walk 3 hours through a rain forest back
to the gate where youll end your
Kilimanjaro journey. Near the end, small
boys may emerge from the forest to beg
for chocolate, or your water
bottle, or the carabiners dangling from
your pack. Dont do it. Its
not the kind of cultural exchange you
want to perpetuate. Once at the gate,
however, a legion of young entrepreneurs
will offer to wash your very muddy boots
while you wait for your guide to claim
your summit certificates. I recommend
paying $2 or $3 to get your boots scrubbed.
It feels great, it helps the local economy
and everybody wins. So keep some dollars,
euros or Tanzanian shillings on hand.
15. Tip fairly
and clearly. Show your guides and
porters some love with a tip that rewards
the infinite patience and energy that
got you to Uhuru Peak. But make sure to
present the tips openly & in front
of porters and guides alike, so there
is no dispute over who gets how much.
A few guides at some outfitters have been
known to demand a percentage from porter
tips, as a kickback of sorts. That shouldnt
16.Bring a cell
phone: Its always good to bring an
open cell phone you can use a local card
which is easier to communicate either
home or with your operator.
for your climb with aerobic exercise.
Trail or hill running, long hikes with
weighted backpacks (35 pounds), stair
climbing, race walking, and running are
all good training for the fitness requirements
your vaccinations. Check with the CDC
for current recommendations, which sometimes
change. As of 2010, the list includes
DTP, Hep A, Hep B, MMR, polio, rabies,
typhoid, and yellow fever.
a trip. You are not allowed to attempt
climbing Kilimanjaro without guides, and
porters are also recommended to reduce
the load carrying. If you are an experienced
mountaineer, you can use local guides,
but for most trips, look at the many Western-based
outfitters, who will take care of the
local logistics. When with your local
Adventure climbing company guides, ask
questions about success rates and climbing
philosophy. We will Try to find one who
matches your goals of a successful ascent
with a budget you can afford. Only 40
percent of climbers attempting Kilimanjaro
reach the summit.
of which guides you choose, carefully
consider the route you want to do. The
three most popular are the Marangu, or
"Coca Cola Route"; the Rongai;
and the Machame.Lemosho
is less crowded The Marangu involves sleeping
in huts, while the others involve tent
camping. All routes take five to nine
On the Mountain
yourself. Because the hiking is straightforward,
many climbers ascend too fast and become
susceptible to altitude illness. The Swahili
saying "Pole Pole" should be
taken literally; use the trekking poles
to slow the ascent.
plenty of water. Staying hydrated helps
with acclimatization. While it is possible
to drink water directly from streams,
it is safer to filter it first.We
offer Boiled water on the Mountain
high, sleep low, to help with acclimatization,
especially early in the trip. After setting
up camp for the night, hike higher to
get used to the altitude before descending
back to camp.
to wear light clothing at the lower altitudes
at the start of the climb, and use more
technical clothing like polypropylene
underwear, fleece and Gore-Tex shells
as you ascend higher. Wear a hat as it
gets colder, as you lose up to 90 percent
of body heat through your head.
fresh batteries in your headlamp for summit
day, when climbers start at night to reach
the summit by sunrise.