Some people swim, some people fish, and some people climb. Everyone has different drives and desires. For a long time Mt. Kilimanjaro has been hosting those who want to reach its peak. At a height of 19,336 feet it is Tanzania, Africa’s highest mountain peak. It is the tallest ‘walkable’ mountain in the world. It takes a lot of physical, mental, and equipment preparation climbing Kilimanjaro.
This mountain is known for pushing you to your limits. It can take 7 to 10 days to climb, through various temperature climates, and will test your mental strength and fortitude. It removes you from the outside world and puts you in touch with your inner voice. It is a mental, spiritual, and physical challenge like no other.
For people wanting to know on how to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, this article will give you the basic information before you embark on the tallest free standing mountain in the world.
Planning For The Journey: Climbing Kilimanjaro
(1). Choosing Your Route
You will have 7 major routes to choose from for climbing Kilimanjaro. Each of these routes has individual advantages and disadvantages. The best thing you can do is to try and match the appropriate route to your specific physical ability, desires, comfort level, and aptitude.
Some things to keep in mind when you are selecting your route are the old ‘Who, What, When, Where, How, and Why’ questions and their answers.
WHO – Who will be climbing? Has everyone’s abilities been factored into this choice of route? Any novices in the group? Anybody going who has never experienced high altitudes? The answers to these questions should play a major role in your choice of route.
WHAT – What are the limitations surrounding this climb? Is a budget limiting your capabilities? Is the number of days a problem? Figure out how many days you will be able to spend. There are both cheaper routes and more expensive ones, as well as shorter and longer ones.
WHEN – When do you plan to make this climb? Will it be during the dry season, shoulder season, or rainy season? The season you climb in will determine a lot of the difficulty level of your climb.
WHERE – Where are you planning on starting your climb? There are routes available that begin on all sides of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Your starting point affects the scenery, scenic variety, and the costs.
HOW – How clear is your vision of climbing kilimanjaro? Do you see yourself taking the most challenging route or taking one that is less strenuous? This mountain is famous for its discomfort and suffering. You should have an idea about how strong you are and choose a route you believe you can finish comfortably.
WHY – Why do you want to make this climb? Is it important to you to summit? Select a route that comes with a high rate of success. Is it pictures you are after? Choose the scenic route. Do you just want to enjoy being there? Pick a route that is fast and well within your budget.
(2). Choose Your Tour Operator
When choosing your tour operator you should factor in guides, advance service, climbing route, and price. When climbing Kilimanjaro you are required to have a tour operator, and these operators are required to only take you on one of the already established routes.
You have 6 established routes going up, which are Rongai, Umbwe, Lemosho, Machame, Marangu, and Shira. There are just 3 eventual paths leading to the summit, which are Stella Point (via Barafu), Western Breach, and Gilmans Point (via Marangu route). Then there are only 2 paths back down that carry foot traffic going both up and down the mountain.
Guides – Having a competent guide is crucially important to climbing Kilimanjaro. Most any guide you find that does this for a living, will rate from good to extremely good. This is due in part to how Tanzania has worked tirelessly to get them licensed and trained.
Advanced Service – One very important decision you will need to make, is to choose one of the local Tanzanian companies or book your climb with an operator from your own country. The biggest advantage for choosing the local Tanzanian company will be the lower price. The biggest advantage in selecting a home company is that you won’t have to worry about your money disappearing after paying and before arriving in Tanzania. You also have the security of knowing that somebody actually checked things out as far as the equipment, transportation, and local guides. It gives you some peace of mind.
(3). Mental and Technical Preparation
After you’ve done all the above and packed, well and have what you need for dealing with the varying temperatures at high altitude, you have nothing left to do but get your mind right. Always listen to the guide, and pace yourself. You should repeat the Swahili phrase of ‘pole pole’ (which means ‘slowly slowly’) and heed it well.
Be sure to get familiar with AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) symptoms. It usually causes nausea, headaches, and disorientation. Should you begin to experience any of these symptoms it is recommended that you descend.
Drink a lot of water (recommended 4 to 5 liters per day). You can actually drink from the mountain streams after your first day. Before leaving, consult your doctor and ask about medication for preventing altitude sickness. Utilize the ‘Walk High & Sleep Low’ method, which means before sleeping take a walk to a higher elevation and then come back down to go to sleep. If you cover all these points you should have a successful climb up historic Mt. Kilimanjaro. Oh yeah, keep that camera handy!
Climbing Kilimanjaro will certainly push you to limits you didn’t know existed within you. It will teach you on how to survive when you are on the verge of giving up. But once you’ve reach the peak, you’ll see the world in a different way.
If Spencer West can do it, So Can You. Watch his inspirational video below.
Legless Man Climbs Mount Kilimanjaro by tvnportal
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