30 Dec HOW DO I PREPARE TO CLIMB KILIMANJARO?
If you are thinking that you can just hop off the couch, slip on your boots and conquer Kilimanjaro, think again. Climbing Kilimanjaro is not just like climbing any other mountain. It requires strength, physical as well as mental. The tallest free standing mountain will for sure surprise you with the breath-taking views along with the difficulties that comes on the way. If you are worried that you won’t be able to make it to the top, then the good news is that getting back into the swing of things isn’t as hard as you think. Here’s a comprehensive guide to get you ready to face the majestic Kilimanjaro:
Fitness First –
Climbing a mountain, especially one such as Kilimanjaro requires a certain degree of physical fitness. Hiking is a physically taxing activity and if you are planning to climb Kilimanjaro, there are quite a few things you should be doing besides going to the gym. The best possible training for hiking up a giant mountain is simply to hike up smaller ones. If you live in an area where hiking is possible then go for it and if not, just get your body used to walking at a steady pace for hours at a time; uphill, if possible. Don’t focus on getting more muscle, just improve the efficiency of what’s already there by getting your body to run as efficient as possible.
Get your Mind Right –
More than strength, you need the motivation to climb a mountain, and so your mental wellbeing is just as important as your physical fitness. Kilimanjaro is a long, strenuous journey, a mountain comprised of three volcanoes standing at nearly 20,000 feet is pretty unique and even for experienced hikers and backpackers, it is a mammoth task. If you are doing this, you are in this for a long haul, and you don’t want to wake up every morning wondering how you will possibly find the motivation to press on. Keep an open mind, don’t get yourself down. Kilimanjaro is a challenge and if you do find yourself losing it, talk to your fellow climbers and guides; preserve yourself and keep your eyes off the difficulties and on the summit.
Changing Altitude –
The pressure of the air that surrounds us drops at higher altitudes resulting in less oxygen availability around. Within seconds of exposure to altitude, ventilation is increased as we try to breathe more to increase oxygen uptake. Altitude sickness or ‘mountain sickness’ is when people ascend quickly to altitudes without getting properly acclimatised to the height. Symptoms of altitude sickness typically begin 6-48 hours after the altitude exposure begins, and include a headache, nausea, lethargy, dizziness and disturbed sleep. To avoid mountain sickness one should take time and climb slowly, particularly if they have not been to altitude before. All registered guides are trained to combat situations such as mountain sickness, and if you feel even the slightest discomfort during your trek, let your guide know about it. Altitude variations have broadly three categories –
1. High Altitude – 4,900 – 11,500ft
2. Very High Altitude- 11,500 – 18,000ft
3. Extreme Altitude – 18,000ft and above
Mount Kilimanjaro’s summit stands at 19,340 feet, which comes under extreme altitude category. At extreme altitude, humans can function only for short period of time with acclimatization and so, it’s important to plan your trip keeping in mind the factors that contribute to a successful trek such as acclimatisation to high altitude.
Choosing the right Gear –
Getting into the right gear is important. These things are crucial for the climb, and your success depends on them. You want gears that you are comfortable with and ones that fit you and your budget. A pair of good shoes would be ones that you know are comfortable over long periods of time. Easy, lightweight and warm clothing is another thing you should consider along with a high-quality sleeping bag that is rated for -10 Celsius/ 14 Fahrenheit.
We also provide good quality hiking gears on rent for your comfort and ease.