Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro: Tips for a Successful Summit -How To Climb Mount Kilimanjaro, tips for a successful ascent to Africa’s highest mountain
It 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 don’t realize the mental challenge that Kili presents. Be mentally prepared for that challenge. Have mental toughness.
2. Respect the moutain’s power. Disrespecting mother nature will eventually get kicked, big time. In the old days, There are no gods at Uhuru Peak, but you’re wise to take the power of nature and altitude extremely seriously. Diamox (or generic version, acetazolamide) helps mitigate altitude sickness.
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 boots.
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 you’re 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!
8. Hydrate, 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; it’s 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 don’t 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 there’s absolutely nothing they haven’t 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 they’re 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, you’ll 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. Don’t 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, you’ll walk 3 hours through a rain forest back to the gate where you’ll 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. Don’t do it. It’s 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 shouldn’t happen.
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.
Train 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 on Kilimanjaro.
Get 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.
Book 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.
Regardless 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 climbing days.
On the Mountain
Pace 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.
Drink 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 Daily
Climb 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.
Plan 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.
Use fresh batteries in your headlamp for summit day, when climbers start at night to reach the summit by sunrise.