Spending more days on Kilimanjaro was the best decision I could have ever made. I am so glad I picked the Lemosho Route over eight days. A lot of companies offer this trip without a doubt, Ian Taylor Trekking had the best approach. 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 importantly, people had time to recover. The extra days helped us all adapt to the lack of oxygen and we all made it to the top. My previous experience at altitude in contrast to this trip was very different. Failing to reach my previous goals left me with some mental blocks.
All Important Factors to our Success
The food, service, pace, acclimation, support and safety were amazing. Using Kosovo Camp was a major plus for the summit push. 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. We had one guide for every two trekkers in addition to 30 plus support staff. Whoever was in the front of the line always set the pace at a very slow and steady rate. We were all able to move as a team and further enjoy the experience.
The Dream Team
As we got to know the staff better, they told us how Ian Taylor Trekking had supported them. Every team member had moved up the ranks over a number of years. All the guides used to be porters and support crew for Ian Taylor Trekking. It showed all of us that these guys were truly cared for and had worked hard to get where they were!
I Loved The Food
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 without a doubt, it made all the difference. The endurance training with longer hikes really paid off and made all the difference. I started slowly training 4 days a week following Ian’s advice. It was important to build up the amount of time I was training. I built slowly which gave excellent conditioning and preparation for Kilimanjaro.
Do Not Underestimate the Training
Firstly, 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. Living near some small mountains here in the US helped. Secondly, once a week I would train on uneven terrain trying to gain 2,000 plus feet up and down. I hiked for 3 hours in the beginning with 10lbs in my backpack and built slowly.
Thirdly, my goal was to build up to 5/6 hour hikes with 20 pounds. I was hiking up to 3,000 feet but not every hike. Ian recommended adding more time and weight each month over a 6 month period. I got used to the stair master over time and gym machines but it was tough.
I think people got used to looking at me with a back pack on in the gym. My goal was to build up to 20 pounds in my backpack.
Finally, I was doing this 4/5 times a week alongside my hiking day and after a few months I felt stronger and fitter. It 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 acclimatization were clearly, critical to my success. Years ago I tried to trek to Everest base camp. and was not successful. My group spent one night in Namche Bazaar. Getting sick in Pheriche ruined my trip and I had to return to Kathmandu very disappointed.
Next year, my plan is to return with Ian and team and reach my goal of Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar. Ian’s itinerary importantly, has three nights in Namche Bazaar on the way up the trail. I look forward to getting the view of Mount Everest I really want.
Pick the Dream Team
In short, 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 promising the world. Join Ian Taylor Trekking and his team they are clearly, a step a head of the competition.
Susan Williams, Kilimanjaro 2016