LESSONS LEARNED FROM CLIMBING KILIMANJARO

The are always lessons learned from climbing Kilimanjaro and out trekking on multi-day trips. Every trip is different. Sometimes we get hit with unexpected rain, high cold winds on summit night, cyclones, the trails are slippy and muddy, altitude effects people differently, sleeping and eating at altitude can be difficult, park entrances can be slow moving and cause problems, vehicles can break down and some people come with not enough training and preparation that effects the group. These all effect the group you are with and you need to come with a relaxed attitude, this is all part of the adventure. I have climbed Kilimanjaro 18 times now and have a good understanding of climbing in a range of weather conditions and how to pick the right acclimatization program.

  

The biggest learning and thing people need to understand is that going to altitude and standing at 19,341 feet above sea level is difficult. You can not fully prepare for this type of altitude. No body can survive long term about 18,000 feet so once you climb above this height it is always going to be difficult. The best way to make the journey is on a 7 day or 8 day trips. This gives you and others around you the best chance to acclimatize as best you can, enjoy the climb up Kilimanjaro and come down safely.
Also putting in the conditioning training prior to the trip is essential. You will be walking with 5kg+ on your back for 7 or 8 days in a row. The ideal preparation is multi-day hiking at home and along with endurance training long and slow walking up hill on a treadmill with a heavier backpack than you will have on the mountain. This builds extra conditioning in your body to be able to cope with long days of hiking.
Once you go above 10,000 feet your body will be producing more red blood cells to move oxygen effectively around the body to your muscles. If you condition your body to carry more weight prior to the trip then your body becomes used to being under pressure.  The muscles adapt to the hard work walking up hill with weight on your back and will help in your preparation and vital physical conditioning at high altitude. High heart rates and interval training help, but only when you have put in months of base training and improve your endurance capacity.
Walking up and down hills for 10 hours a week on a treadmill and especially out on the hills. You will get the conditioning in your body and muscles. Always revert to your doctor and fitness instructor and test your fitness first and get a good starting point before over loading your body with too much stress and training.
Another thing to consider, is camp craft. You will be arriving and sleeping in a tents daily and need to set up your environment and tent correctly. There are no showers available unless you our on one of our Luxury Kilimanjaro treks. You will need to keep clean, hydrated, use warm water provided to clean, use baby wipes and look after your personal hygiene. This helps you enjoy the trek a whole lot more.

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