The well acclaimed ‘Roof of Africa’ dominates over the enchanting African plains and is a hot favourite on several bucket lists. With innumerable mind boggling spectacles to bestow upon you , it is surely a peak to pick.
But how many enthusiasts actually make it to the top? An average of 42 percent of the climbers have succeeded in conquering the peak. Beating the odds is all about knowing what’s ahead and chalking out a tailor-made plan for yourself. Know more to fail no more.
We’ve listed a few top tips for climbing Kilimanjaro for you to have a better shot at getting to the top of the tip. Here’s hoping you go all the way!
Tips for Climbing Kilimanjaro
The route cause
There’s no right way or wrong way, but there’s always a best way. Your choice of route can be the root cause that defines your success rate. There are seven routes to the sought after Uruhu peak at a whopping 5,895 meters/19,340 feet above sea level : Marangu, Machame, Rongai, Lemosho, Shira, Umbwe, and the Northern route. Each route promises a different length, difficulty level, facility for accommodation, topography and cost. Pick the wisest route that fits your bill and set off on your trail. Also, slow and steady is a sure shot way to chase the peak. But each extra day spent may shoot up your expenditure. We suggest an Eight day trek as the ideal duration to let you acclimatize steadily, have it easy on your fitness and take you all the way up.
Pack for the peak
Equip yourself with all the essentials, mark your checklist and take all you need before you take off. Your clothing needs to be well planned because what’s on you decides what’s in store for you. Invest on some good quality base layers and adequate, reliable gear. Some absolute must haves are comfortable pants, shirts, underwear, fleece jacket, hiking shoes with ankle support, headlamp, long johns or silk underwear, hats, sleeping bags, waterproof pants, walking sticks etc. Stay away from cotton as much as possible. Pick the fabrics that promise insulation and keep the moisture away. Always wrap up the individually packed items in plastic bags to keep things dry. Apart from this, always carry proper medication with you. Keep your luggage minimal. A heavy baggage weighs on your experience. Less is a blessing.
Train your heart out
Kilimanjaro is sometimes shrugged off as a trekking peak, but stay warned that it’s more than just a walk in the park. If you’re not cut out for a mountain climb, hit the treadmills and cut yourself out for it. When you sign up for the challenge, you’ll need to give it your all and more. Mind, body and soul – every bit you will be battling the odds and climbing that proud mountain. Your prep can involve using the treadmill on an incline, the Stairmaster, spin classes for endurance, weight training, and outdoor hiking with some weights in your daypack, which can go upto 10 kgs. Get your mind and muscles tuned to the Kilimanjaro beat. There’s not much that can go wrong when you’re strong.
Fight the height
75 percent of the climbers face some difficulty while scaling the altitude. The oxygen levels are going to drop as you climb, but you don’t have to. The altitude will surely be giving your body a lot to deal with, but a slow pace is the key to ace your climb. Your body is designed to adapt to the constant process of transition better when you allow a generous amount of time for yourself to cope. Get some rest and leave the rest to biology. You must also keep yourself well hydrated at all times. Good doses of food, water and sleep are necessary to drive your body as it pushes back all its boundaries. Despite the precautions you take, a little nausea and headache is sadly inevitable. Always carry a Diamox in your bag to handle the discomfort. A total health check must be on your checklist before you set out for the big adventure. Always consult a doctor because drugs like Diamox is not recommended for certain people, requiring them to opt for other alternatives to fight the height. Dealing with the altitude must strictly not be undermined because conditions like acute mountain sickness (AMS) can have dire consequences. Also, it is not going to be easy to battle the queasy. The entire climb is more of a mental challenge than a physical one. Prepare yourself for all the adversities and forge an attitude that kills the altitude.
Staying hydrated is not overrated. Your body dehydrates at a much higher pace at high altitudes. You’ll need to consume a daunting volume of up to five litres everyday. Drink it all up to let yourself drink in the Kilimanjaro experience! The stream water on the mountain heights have been tested and found to be potable. But to steer clear of trouble, we recommend that you use water purification tablets.
Certain things to look out for
Here are certain things you should be certain to look out for. Washing water may be a luxury at places, so be sure to carry wet wipes. Grab some snacks that will entice you because although you might not believe it, the climb will wipe out your mood for food. Ensure that you have your sun protection sorted. Do not carry water outside your pack on the summit night because it’s likely to freeze. Get a thermal flask or keep it warm under your clothing.Also, stay warned that electronic devices may freeze and cease to work especially at greater heights.
We hope that the above pointers have let you sneak a peek at the must and must nots of the Kilimanjaro peak. Go ahead and chase your climb to remember!
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