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An essential part of your preparation will be to ensure that you are well equipped for your summit attempt. Print our final Packing List and mark it off, to ensure that you are. Click on Packing List to get to this very important step in your preparation.
It is important that your body is adequately prepared for the physical challenges of Mount Kilimanjaro. Develop your fitness and get your body in shape for your Kilimanjaro summit expedition.
It is possible to summit Kilimanjaro successfully. Many before you have succeeded. This should be topmost in your mind when preparing for the summit attempt. You should always remain in a positive state of mind, but not overly arrogant. Try to anticipate various different scenarios, which you may possibly encounter on the mountain and try to work out the most suitable course of action, mentally by yourself or even as a group. Your mental stamina will, without a doubt, make the really difficult sections, like from Kibo to Uhuru or from Barafu to Uhuru, easier to complete. Remember if you are properly equipped, you have taken everything as indicated on the Packing List, you are physically prepared and have all the knowledge gained from guide – you will be mentally confident for the physical part of Kilimanjaro.
Make sure that you have adequate travel and medical insurance, which will also provide you with cover for the climb up Kilimanjaro.
Go slowly – “Pole Pole” as they say in Swahili! This is also very important during your first days of climbing. Even if you feel well, slow down and enjoy the scenery.The biggest cause of altitude sickness is ascending too high too fast! The slower you hike to more time you give your body to acclimatize.
Make sure that you drink at least 3 – 4 litres of liquid a day – preferably water. For your first day it is recommended that you take along fresh water, which may be purchased at the hotel in Moshi before your climb. Try to get the bottles with the screw tops, this way you will also have containers in which to take water further up the mountain. Running water on the mountain is safe to drink from day-2 onwards, but care should still be taken. If you are not used to fresh water in nature, prevent any inconvenience by using water purification tablets.
REMEMBER! A functioning “body water balance” is one of the keys to a successful climb!
If possible and especially on your acclimatization day “walk high – sleep low” Try to do a short evening stroll to a higher altitude and then descend to sleep at the camp at a lower altitude. This is essential on your acclimatization day.
A ski – pole is essential. Use of ski poles reduces external and internal loads on the knee joint by up to 20%. Using 1 ski pole is a must, but 2 poles are recommended.
Altitude sickness (or Acute Mountain Sickness) is a condition caused by ascending too quickly and not allowing the body time to adjust to the reduced oxygen and changes in air pressure. This causes hypobaric hypoxia: a lack of oxygen reaching your body’s tissue. Symptoms typically begin to show above 2,500m if a person has not allowed their body time to adjust to the change in altitude. Symptoms of mild altitude sickness include dizziness, fatigue, headaches, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, a rapid pulse, and/or shortness of breath. More serious symptoms can include chest tightness, confusion, coughing, social withdrawal, trouble maintaining consciousness, a change in complexion or skin colour, difficulties walking, and eventually the risk of coma or death.
While it certainly helps to be in good physical shape, the ability to adjust quickly to the changing oxygen levels is largely genetic. It is impossible to tell how well anyone climber will fare in an oxygen deprived environment until they are actually in that environment. With the exception of going and staying in high altitude areas, the best option is to consider using a high altitude training system to simulate high altitude environments and induce beneficial adaptations.
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