Spending more days on 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.
How Do People do it in Less Days?
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.
All Important Factors to our Success
The food, service, pace, acclimation, support and safety was perfect. The whole trip really exceeded my expectations on all fronts. Our Head Guide was Athumani, and we also had four other guides with us on the trip, giving us one guide for every two clients, it was wonderful! Whoever was in the front of the line always set the pace at a very slow and steady rate, so that we all were able to keep up as a team and further enjoy the experience. As we got to know the staff better, they told us how Ian Taylor Trekking had supported them in moving up the ranks on the team, from porters to kitchen staff to assistant guides. It showed all of us that these guys were truly cared for and had worked hard to get where they were!
The food was wonderful and always plentiful! I thought I would loose some weight on the trek, but with all the delicious food they were giving me, this was definitely not the case! I am a vegetarian and they had no issues with catering to my dietary needs which was very helpful!
Preparation and Training
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. The endurance training really paid off. I started slowly training 4 days a week for 1 month. Building the time I was training. I built slowly which gave excellent conditioning and preparation for the climb.
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.
What I Have Learned From the Journey
My training, along with taking the extra days to acclimatize to climb Kilimanjaro were critical to my success. Years ago I tried to trek to Everest base camp. and was not successful. The group I went with only spent one night in Namche Bazaar and I got really sick in Pheriche and had to return to Kathmandu.
Next year, my plan is to return with Ian and team and reach my goal of Everest Base Camp and Kala Phattar. Ian’s itinerary has three nights in Namche Bazaar and I 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. If you are thinking of going to Kilimanjaro, don’t be fooled by less expensive trips with less days, it is NOT worth it! Join Ian Taylor Trekking and his team will help you reach your goal!
Susan Williams, Kilimanjaro 2016