How to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

How to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

How to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

1. How do I Choose an Operator?
There are literally hundreds of companies who service the mountain. Selecting an operator can be a daunting task. You want to be sure that your operator staffs experienced, competent guides, who practice high safety standards and treats porters well. You want an operator that has proven expertise, successfully serving a wide range of clients for many years. Our local operator has lead climbs on Mount Kilimanjaro since 1987, and has helped thousands of climbers reach the peak.

2. How Much Does it Cost?
Do not select a company strictly based on price! Price should be only one component in your overall decision. Prices vary significantly between operators. Ultimate Kilimanjaro offers quality climbs at reasonable rates. Our prices are a great value at about $1,500 per climber, excluding tips. At this price level, we can satisfy all park fees, pay decent wages to staff, supply adequate food and equipment, while still providing great service to our clients.

3. When are the Best Months?
The best times to climb Kilimanjaro tend to be the warmest and driest months – January, February, and September. June, July, and August are also good months. However, temperatures and weather are unpredictable, and can change drastically based on the time of day and altitude. It’s best to avoid the long rainy season, from the end of March to early June, and the short rainy season, from November through the beginning of December.

4. Which Route Should I Take?
The routes each have different characteristics which may or may not appeal to you. Consider the difficulty, scenery and traffic when you select your route. Other factors that should be considered are your age, fitness level, medical conditions, backpacking and hiking experience, experience at high altitude, degree of motivation, and any other special considerations. Ultimate Kilimanjaro recommends Lemosho and Rongai.

5. How Many Days are Needed?
The more days you spend on the mountain, the better your chances for successfully reaching the summit. Statistics show that each additional day you spend acclimatizing increases your probability of success. Do not book the minimum number of days. Chances are, you will not enjoy your climb nor will you reach the top. Seven or more days is recommended.

6. Should I Join a Group?
A private, small-party climb is the best way to climb Kilimanjaro. A small-party climb ensures individualized attention, added flexibility and increased safety. Most climb operators run group departures for up to 16 people. Once they add the support staff, a “small” group of 16 climbers becomes more than 50 people total! That’s hardly the way to enjoy the mountain.

7. What Do I Need for the Climb?
Follow the gear list and resist the temptation to bring more. You won’t need it and it is just extra weight that you or the porters must carry. There are situations where climbers’ luggage was lost by their airline and they arrived with no gear whatsoever. So they rented only the essential gear and upon completion of their climb, realized that what they had originally brought from home was very excessive. Try to limit all of your gear to less than 40 lbs. It can be done.

8. How Do I Train for the Climb?
It is very hard to gauge the mental and physical strength needed to climb Kilimanjaro. If you’ve spoken to those who have successfully or unsuccessfully climbed it, you’d get a wide range of accounts. The truth is, like any other activity, some people excel at it and some people struggle. Two months of physical training is usually sufficient, doing day hikes for four to six hours, with moderate elevation changes (~1,500 ft) while carrying a 20 lb. pack.

9. What About Altitude Sickness?
Altitude sickness is potentially fatal. However, most climbers will get some form of mild acute mountain sickness (AMS) while on the mountain. Your guide will monitor you closely during the duration of you climb. However, you should be aware of the symptoms of mild, moderate and severe AMS, and you must inform your guide of any symptoms immediately. Never try to hide your symptoms in order to continue climbing. There is always the possibly you will not be able to summit due to AMS.

10. What Do I Need Before I Arrive?
Not many people have been to such high altitudes before. Therefore, climbers should have a medical check prior to attempting to climb Kilimanjaro. Speak with a health-care provider to determine which immunizations and medications to obtain for your travels to East Africa. A valid passport, six months prior to the expiration, is required for entry into Tanzania. Most travelers will need a visa to enter the country. Climbers should obtain travel insurance that covers trip cancellation.

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