Taking the time to climb Kilimanjaro

Taking the time to climb Kilimanjaro was the best decision I could have ever made. I looked at a lot of companies offering this trip and decided that Ian Taylor Trekking had the best approach for me. Ian’s training advice, staff, food service and set up exceeded all expectations. A truly professional and perfect way to operate Kilimanjaro climbs. I can not recommend Ian Taylor Trekking enough.

After reaching the summit,  it is hard to see how people attempt the Kilimanjaro climb in less than 8 days. We had some minor altitude issues in our group, people did have time to recover, adapt a little better and then still make it to the top. I had been on two previous trips to altitude and failed to reach my goal and got sick on the other.

The food, service, pace, acclimation, support and safety was perfect. The whole trip really exceeded my expectations on all fronts.

I really want to talk about the preparation and training as I feel this was an important part of my success. Yes the longer I spent at altitude the better my body used oxygen but the physical preparation I did really made a big difference in my experience climbing Kilimanjaro.

I followed Ian’s advice and it made all the difference.

My training consisted of 4 days a week building up to 5/6 days a week. I was jogging 3 days a week prior to building up my training, so I was not starting from scratch. I am lucky to live near some small mountains here in the US so I was able to get out once a week and train on uneven terrain. I hiked for 3 hours in the beginning with 10lbs in my backpack and I gained about 2,500 feet up and down in my training.

I built this up to 5/6 hour hikes with 20lbs. I was hiking up to 4,000 feet up and down. I added more time and weight each month over a 6 month period.

I also trained in the gym on the stair master (rotating stairs) for 1 hour per day with a back pack starting with 10lbs and building up to 20lbs.

I was doing this 4/5 times a week alongside my hiking day and after a few months I felt stronger and fitter. I really worked. After 5/6 months I felt very strong and felt ready for the climb. It was a lot of time and commitment but I didn’t want to fail again.

My training along with taking the time to climb Kilimanjaro was critical to my success. Years ago I tried to trek to Everest base camp. We spent 1 night in Namche bazaar and I go really sick in Pheriche and had to return to Kathmandu.

Next year I will return with Ian and team and reach my goal of Everest Base Camp and Kala phattar. Ian’s itinerary has 3 nights in Namche Bazaar and really look forward to getting the view of Everest I really want.

There really is a right and wrong way to approach high altitude and I can say from a range of experiences Ian’s set up and advice made all the difference.

Susan Williams, Kilimanjaro 2016. 

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