Mt Kilimanjaro and Me


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I freaked because people die on Kilimanjaro every year. Oh my god, what if I became responsible for killing my mother?! My mother was actually totally chilled about it. For her it was all about the experience. Being in Africa, seeing the mountain, trekking through the different climate zones, returning from the harsh, lifeless upper slopes to the teeming jungles below That kind of thing.

But I wasn't chilled! The pressure was huge. This HAD to work out, it just had to. It had to be perfect. And then I researched some more.

Mt Kilimanjaro & Me by Annette Freeman

When we left for Tanzania I knew that we had done absolutely everything we could to maximise our chances of success. We pretty much could not fail. The trip was all around awesome, one of the best things I have done in my life, and I am pretty proud of making it happen. Skip down to learn how to make it happen for yourself. Here are a few more interesting facts , albeit not necessarily statistically relevant.

All in our group made it to the crater rim.

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One woman did not continue because she had never planned to do so. She did not show any signs of being affected by the altitude, and I am sure if she had wanted to, she could have made it to the summit. One younger guy had to turn around because he was getting way too cold and weak.

He had been struggling with the altitude for the last couple of days already. There were nine people in our group, the other seven made it to the summit. The operator had a second group on the same route at the same time. They all made it to the summit. That is 13 people out of 15, or Route selection, climb duration, time of the year and last but not least the climb operator are all huge factors by themselves.

Oh, and one more thing. When our group met for the very first time, for our briefing and to meet our guides, and after we had all introduced ourselves and told a bit about how we had prepared, there were two people in our group who the head guide said he can pretty much guarantee will summit. My mother an I. I hope I have managed to convince you that climbing Kilimanjaro is well within your capabilities and inspired you to read on.

THE KILIMANJARO STORY

I will now take you step by step through everything you need to know and do to make it happen. That includes things that absolutely NEED doing, like organising visas, getting vaccinations, insurance etc. You'll probably learn a bunch of interesting stuff along the way, too, so let's get going. Every issue that I mention here is explained in detail on another page, often several pages, but this is the place to start! Weather at Kilimanjaro - When to climb The weather on Mt. Kilimanjaro affects your climb and your success chances.

Read about what to expect at different times of the year. Kilimanjaro Climbing Routes There are seven routes and they vary in length and difficulty. Read about their advantages and disadvantages. Mount Kilimanjaro Tours One of the most important decisions you have to make is to pick a tour operator or trekking agency. This page tells you what to look out for. This page tells you where the money goes, and why it's money well spent.

I kept trying to explain that I was on vacation and wanted to enjoy the trip. If walking at a faster pace hurt my chances to getting to the summit, it was OK. My complaints seemed to fall on deaf ears. After more complaining during dinner on day 2, the AMG guide let the local guide set the pace on day 3, and things improved a bit. However, the AMG guide lagged behind us walking at his mountaineering step, pause, step pace.

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His rationale was that he wanted to be sure that he properly acclimated. I did choose a 6 rather than a 5 day climb to allow more time for acclimation. As the trip went on, our paces converged. At dinner the day before, I explained to the AMG guide that I really wanted to be on the summit to watch the sun rise, and if we had to leave at Instead we left at To me, 30 minutes on the top of Mt.

Other pieces of advice: If you use a tour group that is based in your home country, see if you can find out who they use in Tanzania for local support. Check out their reputation, and the premium you are paying versus going directly to them. Also, see if they send along someone along on the trip.

Understand if that person is an escort who is there primarily to coordinate the logistics with the local operator, or is a qualified mountaineering guide. Chose an outfitter that provides chemical toilets for their group.

Mt. Kilimanjaro: Nice once you get... - Mount Kilimanjaro

There are pit toilets at each camp, but they can be pretty bad. In addition, they may be an inconvenient distance from your site. Also, check to see if your operator provides them at Barafu Camp. If you are fit enough to get there in time, you really want to be on the summit for sunrise. If you get lucky, you may be able to see the moon setting on one side of the mountain, while the sun Is rising on the other.

Be prepared for crowds. Expect a constant stream of porters passing you. Based on my experience on the Machame Route. All of the outfitters provide equipment lists on their web sites. Compare several, as some are more detailed than others. The ones from the mountaineering companies such as Alaska Mountain Guides seem to be the most comprehensive. Pee bottle — I was drinking 5 liters of water and taking Diamox.

As a result I was waking up to pee every couple of hours. Enough said Even if you prefer to use a Camelback, bring a water bottle for the summit day. The tubes on Camelbaks tend to freeze, while the bottles can be kept inside of your jacket. You can transfer water from your Camelbak to the bottle along the way. See if your outfitter provides snacks while on the trail. My outfitter provided 3 meals plus afternoon tea. While that was sufficient on most days, it was inadequate on the summit day. I was on the trail for 9 hours by the time we returned to Barafu Camp. Luckily I brought along plenty of food.

Bring what works for you. GU worked well for me. Be prepared to treat your water. If you bring a Steripen, bring iodine tablets as a backup in case it fails. My wife and I have just returned from a climb up Mt. We climbed the Marangu route, which has the added benefit of staying in huts as opposed to tents during the climb. Our team consisted of 7 people 4 women, 3 men , most of whom knew each other before this adventure. The trip was organized by the group, meaning that we had to arrange our own transportation and hire our own guide company.

More on that below. We read a number of reviews regarding training and fitness levels for the climb. In the end, I planned a series of 10 progressively more difficult training hikes in our local area Vancouver, BC , including one hike where we summited a small local mountain in the dark Kilimanjaro is summited in the dark. Through discussions with our guide company, we bought or borrowed equipment for our climb, and broke it in during the training hikes. Information regarding vaccinations and medications were obtained from a local travel medicine clinic. We realized early on that it would be critical to have a guide company whom we could trust.

None of us knew the area, and we were concerned that the trip would be affordable. After checking and obtaining quotations from a number of online sources, I was told by a friend to contact Nelson Mbise of Focus in Africa [--]. We then learned that Focus in Africa is a non-profit organization that invests in the operation of a school and orphanage in Arusha. This was a goal we were all in support of, and in fact we used our trip as a mini fundraiser to raise additional funds for the school and orphanage. During our two pre-climb "acclimatization days" in Arusha, Nelson Mbise was always available, whether taking us on a tour of Arusha or arranging a day hike through a local Maasai community] In addition to the 7 climbers, we had 2 experienced senior guides, 2 assistant guides, a chef and 11 porters.

While the Marangu route can be climbed in 5 days, we planned a 6 day climb which includes an additional day at Horombo hut for altitude acclimatization , and during this period we got to know our guides, chef and porters very well. Given our training hikes, we didn't encounter any serious difficulties during the first 3 days of the climb, other than the usual sore feet and aching joints. The food provided by our chef, Paul, was incredible, given the limited resources, and our guides and assistant guides were always alert to any physical ailments we might be facing most of us were taking Diamox to assist with altitude adjustment.

The cabins we stayed in were for the most part clean and comfortable, and most had electric lights provided by solar charged batteries , and interactions with other climbing teams were enjoyable. The washrooms were less enjoyable, but you can't have everything! Starting with Day 4, the climb from Horombo to Kibo hut, the altitude and steepness of the terrain started to affect some of us.

Spirits were still good, however, until we started our ascent to Gilman's Point at midnight on the 4th day. The climb from Kibo to Gilman's is the most difficult part of the mountain. We were tired having had only a few hours sleep , cold it was C and slightly nauseous mainly from the altitude when we started out, and the big mistake I made personally was to not eat any of the snacks provided when we were woken up at My memories of that climb are a bit hazy, but I recall being convinced at the time that it was one of the most difficult challenges I had ever faced. In part, this was probably due to my low energy level, but we were all feeling the effects of the altitude as well.

One of our team was not able to make it to the top, and he returned to Kibo hut with one of our guides during this time.

A Life Changing Day on the Summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro

The remaining 6 of us, with the 3 remaining guides, continued on. We reached Gilman's Point about 6 hours after setting out, just as the sun was rising. From this stage, it still takes a good hour to 90 minutes to reach Uhuru Peak, but the end was in sight. Finally, just after 8: After pausing for the obligatory photos, we started back to Gilman's Point and the long climb back down to Kibo.

For me, this was the most difficult part of the climb. The elation of reaching the summit was over, and my physical resources were low.

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