Mount Kilimanjaro Reviews
Lemosho route - Kili Apr 23, 2011
Beautiful route - you get to see a bit of everything, including wildlife. Do not go up the mountain through a Kilimanjaro climbing group that will charge you a million bucks for it, go directly to a guide. It'll be cheaper and you'll still have everything you need. I have our guide's details if you need them, he was amazing!
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Kilimanjaro Mar 19, 2011
Worth the trouble for the amazing views! :) It can be quite expensive ranging from $750-6,000usd depending on which route you climb and which company you go with, but it's gorgeous up there.
Be sure to go well prepared!!!
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Lemosho Route, Tanzania Jul 16, 2011
We finished the Lemosho Route of Kili on the Full moon in July, It was an amazing route, which was scantly used, although it does connect with the Whiskey route on Day 3. It takes some extra time and, as it is located further from Moshi than the other routes, but worth it! We had our valuables taken from our bag we left at a rather high end hotel in Moshi, so be careful, and bring a lock!!!
Kilimanjaro: Beat the Altitude Sickness Jan 30, 2009
I hope this information helps anyone planning a trip to Kilimanjaro.
We took the Machame route and it didn’t disappoint, from the first step to the last the scenery was stunning. We opted for 8 days up and down. By doing 8 days it allowed for better animalisation and we camped the night at crater camp amongst the craters and glaciers, for me it was one of the highlights of the climb. It also meant we didn’t have to rise before midnight for the final assent, since it was a steep 90 minute climb to the top.
During my research I read plenty of guide books and hundreds of blogs, and found many people had spent x amount of pounds/dollars and struggled or failed to reach the summit. I didn't want to be the 2 in 3 who failed to reach the summit, and certainly didn't want to look back at pictures not remembering the achievement either.
I also found out many of the successful climbers spent no more than 5 minutes marvelling the surroundings, only to have their picture taken at 5895m then descend because they were either tired, cold, delirious or all three. It wasn't my intention to spend 7 days climbing one of the worlds 7 Summits, Africa's tallest, and the worlds largest free standing mountain to only spend 5 minutes at the top. As it turned out we reach Uhuru Peak (the summit) just after sunrise and spent half an hour there.
The key to a successful and enjoyable climb is preparation, and if you're prepared it is easy.
Kilimanjaro is non technical mountain, the route requires no crampons or ropes, it's only a walk, and a times you'll need to do a bit of scrambling. It's a long walk so your feet need to be prepared. Make sure you have your own walking boots and they are well worn in. At weekends get out and do some long walks. We trekked Hadrian's Wall as practice in December. It wasn't hilly but it was long and cold and we found that we needed to improve upon certain aspects of our kit.
Once your feet are conditioned you'll need to prepare for the altitude. It's likely you'll develop some symptoms of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness), and if left untreated it can be fatal. You can prepare against the onset of AMS and these are my tips.
Your guide will walk you high and make you sleep low, for example you may walk to 4800m one day then camp at 4000m this aids acclimatising and prepares you for the next day. In the same vein I'd suggest you do the same when you arrive in Tanzania. I recommend that you don't climb Kili the day after you arrive, instead I highly recommend that you acclimatise for two days, you're first night in Tanzania is likely to be in Arusha or Moshi, respectively these towns are 1400m and 1200m above sea level, during the day do some easy going activities that take you above the height of Moshi or Arusha. We went to the foot hills of Mount Meru and took part in some cultural activities, some soft trekking and a canoeing on a volcanic lake of Meru all between 1800m to 2000m then we returned to town in the evenings.
Eat & Drink:
I can't stress how important this is. It's estimated that you'll lose 4-5 litres of water and that you'll burn between 5000 and 9000 calories, you need to replenish as much of the lost calories and water as possible. Think of your body a steam train, no coal, no motion. If your cook offers you seconds and thirds eat it, even if you’re full. If you don't replenish your stocks you'll become susceptible to AMS. Drink 4-5 litres of water and add electrolytes to the water, it helps re-hydrate you. I used Nuun tablets, found at most good sports shops. For the first couple of days, you’ll be given bottled water, there after the cook boils water for you, only on the final ascent we had to use un-boiled water, apparently it’s safe to drink, but we added purifiers just to be sure.
Sorry, but stay of the drink if you can for at least a month, it will be worth it. And save your first Kilimanjaro beer for the celebration at base camp. Our friend carried on drinking right to the evening before the climb and he suffered with altitude sickness.
Whilst you're on the move you might find that just wearing a T-shirt is sufficient, but as soon as you stop, you will become very cold very quickly. We took down jackets and as soon as we stopped for a short period of time we put these on. We all used Mountain Equipment Jackets and I swear by them, they squash up into pouches and weigh next to nothing.
From past walks in the UK mountains I know the weather changes quickly, but on Kili I was amazed at how quickly the weather changed. We had sun, cloud, wind, rain and snow, it often came as quickly as it went. It's best to be prepared for all conditions. If it doesn't rain you'll be very lucky, at some point it rained every day on our trip, most days no more than half an hour, but take water proofs, being cold and wet is miserable, again I recommend Mountain Equipment waterproof jackets they're pricey but worth every penny. You can get cheaper versions; just make sure it's Gortex though.
(pronounce polly polly) it translates into slowly slowly, your guides should be saying pole pole to you from the start to the finish. Whilst it's recommended that you’re fit and healthy to take part in the climb, it's often the fittest that fail to reach the summit because they go to fast. At times your stride will be no longer that the length of your foot. Slow and steady really does win the race. If possible opt for 7-8 days on the mountain.
Thin your blood:
Atmospheric pressure decreases as altitude increases, and as the pressure decreases less oxygen is available, to get what oxygen that's available around your body you need to thin the blood, you can use natural products, a mountaineering doctor offered the following advice:
Gingko (Bioforce fresh plant tincture) – 30 drops in water three times a day a month in advance and then 30 drops morning and night whilst on the mountain.
Floradix – 1 table spoon a day until you go.
Vitamin E – 250 iu twice a day, take it a month in advance and on the mountain too.
Cloves, garlic, tomatoes, dill, sage and fennel are supposed to help thin the blood, get this into your diet before you leave England. I also drank Sage tea on a regular basis at home and on the mountain.
Altitude Sickness tablets:
Your doctor may not know that Diamox can be used for AMS, I had to convince my doctor that it can aid AMS and he had to look it up on the internet, my friends doctor would not prescribe it to him at all, and my other friends doctor prescribed 100 tablets no questions asked!! After my doctor prescribed me Diamox having looked on the internet for 2 minutes he said I should take it 24 hours prior to climbing Kili. DO NOT DO THIS. Diamox has some nasty side effects and it hides the onset of AMS. If AMS goes untreated or if you don't know that you have it could be fatal. Only take Diamox as a last resort and if you do take it, take twice the dosage that your doctor recommended, I was told that by an Australian Midwife who now organises trips to Kilimanjaro and DO NOT TAKE IBUPROFEN WITH DIAMOX
Side effects of Diamox include numbness and tingling in the fingers and toes, taste alterations, blurred vision but this usually disappears shortly after stopping the medication. It also increases the risk of developing calcium oxalate crystals and kidney stones. Everyone will experience more frequent urination as a result of using Diamox so drink more fluids than usual to prevent dehydration and headaches.
It's likely that you'll get some symptoms of AMS, from the four of us who went, one guy really suffered, he was physically sick, had stomach cramps, problems sleeping and was rushed down the mountain after reaching the summit, (he drank alcohol right up to accent, didn't eat or drink enough water), Another chap was nauseous and after changing his eating strategy to eating everything he possibly could managed to fight off the nausea and suffered no more thereafter. The rest of us (2) only suffered from mild headaches, our headaches subsided as soon as we stopped and had some food and drink. Listen to your body and don’t ignore the early tell tale signs.
Pretty much everything I bought was invaluable, and even use now on a regular basis. If you live in the UK, I'd suggest that you don't buy equipment from Snow & Rock, Ellis Brigham and Cotswold, they are vastly over priced. Look around on the internet, then go to Go Outdoors to make your purchase. Their shops aren't colourful or pretty and are generally out of town, but what the lack in shop design they more than make up for in knowledge and expertise. They will price match anything on the internet so long as it's in stock and they will beat it by 10%, we then also negotiated a further 10% off our final bill. We went to the Oxford store and spoke to Kris. Since there are more Snow & Rock, Ellis Brigham and Cotswold stores we tried on all the clothes made a note of the sizes and purchased fro Go Outdoors. Between the for of us I think we saved over £1000
Before you travel, get your Visa in advance, if you don't it will result in long cues at immigration
If you’re superstitious, it's bad luck to refer to Kilimanjaro as Kili unless you've reached the summit
Part of the Tanzania 2009 travel blog