Increase your chances of reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro
Our tips on climbing Kilimanjaro have been put together through years of trail and error on the highest mountain in Africa. We hope you can benefit from them
Ok, so according to the latest statistics on climbing Kilimanjaro, research has found that 45.23% of all hikers start their climb from the bottom of the mountain. And when we mention the word ‘bottom’ we are not referring to the Broke Back mountain bottoms that you may or may not be thinking about. Some hikers have tried climbing Kilimanjaro from the top down but of the 23.3% that tried, 12.34% of them met up with a small orange dot that offers complimentary cucumber sandwiches at 4500m. It has also been found that of the 34.89% of climbers that ate the cucumber sandwich, 89.67% of the people didn’t make the bottom of Kilimanjaro. The remainder of people who refused the sandwich found themselves hiking in a small town that doesn’t exist. While we are on the subject of the statistics on how to climb Kilimanjaro, here is proof that they exist
Right, so now that we have got past the boring part of how to climb Kilimanjaro, lets get onto the exiting stuff shall we. Climbing Kilimanjaro is not a walk in the park. In fact, it is actually a mountain. And mountains are a different kettle of fish to parks. Many people believe that Kilimanjaro is an easy stroll. I have some news for those people. But alas, I do not read newspapers so I can’t provide them with any news.
How to climb Kilimanjaro and actually make the summit
Ok, so this is where your preparation is key. So many people underestimate the mountain and expect to make the summit. In order to increase your chances of bagging the summit, and like most things in life, you are going to have invest in the undertaking. What you put in is what you get out. Rather bleed on the training field than the battle field.
Our recipe for success
We have been involved with Kilimanjaro expeditions for over 5 years and have seen all kinds of people attempt the climb. Through all of their trial and errors and well as our own, we have hopefully cracked the code to provide you with some tips on climbing Kilimanjaro. Here it is sports fans and dwarf throwers alike. If it doesn’t work, well, so be it. And don’t try and sue us either. We started out with nothing and have most of it left, so good luck with that.
2. Information sharing
Ok, so before we rob you of your hard earned money to climb Kilimanjaro, we would like to first meet up with our clients to discuss the mountain. We meet up with clients over a cup of coffee or maybe a beer or 10 to discuss not only the pros of the climb, but the cons as well. Some of my esteemed marketing friends have been a tad skeptikal ( did I spell skeptikal correctly?) about me discussing the cons. Bad for business they say. Well, sorry folks. if you are expecting a trip full of roses and soft cuddly teddy bears, maybe you should look at spending a night in Paris. If you are a lady, it might be a bit harder to spend a night in Paris, but I heard she swings both ways nowadays. Anyway….. back to the topic at hand. Yip, the discussion covers topics such as training, equipment, routes, altitude and so forth. We want our clients to know EXCACTLY what they are getting themselves into. Makes our lives so much easier. When the going gets tough on Kilimanjaro, you can’t say we didn’t inform you. And remember!!!! You chose to climb the mountain, not us.?
How to set up a meeting? Well pretty easy. If you are in South Africa. if not, well there are two options. We clone ourselves and take the next flight to wherever you are. Or, an alien invention that allows us to talk while actually seeing each other. Its called Skype I think.
Video of our climb in December 2011.
Ok, so this is the part we take pretty seriously. I have seen so many people on Kilimanjaro that have not bought the correct equipment and have nearly lost fingers and winkys. Most people just pop into their local hiking shop and have the assistant ( who more than likely has not been anywhere near a box of matches let alone Kilimanjaro) advise them on how to climb Kilimanjaro. No disrespect to the outdoor retailers of the world, but if you don’t mind, we will be coming with our clients to buy the gear. Or the clutches if you have in stock. Our experience on mountains in all kinds of conditions sort of warrants us being there. We will advice you on what to buy, how many, and why. Equipment can get pretty expensive, so you don’t want go and buy unnecessary stuff. Sorry retailers, there goes your profit. If any of you have met me, you will see that I am a 38 year old with grey hair. I have enough to worry about on the mountain than someone who has got frostbite because they bought the wrong gloves. I would rather spend the time with you beforehand.
Aaah, the nemesis of the modern man. Exercise. Did we mention that Kilimanjaro is nearly 6000m high and most routes cover nearly 100km in 6 days. There might be something significant in those facts. And you don’t want to find out the answers at 4000m. Training is key!!!!! When must you start training is one of the most common questions we get asked. Well it all depends on your current base fitness. I am pretty sure that the guy below needs to start about 10 years before going. if you have an average base fitness, then I’d say at least 4 months prior to departure.
Part of our training regime involves weekend hikes in the Drakensberg mountains, sessions at the Westcliffe stairs and a few vomit inducing sessions with Liz, our imported Sports Science expert. She has developed a mountaineering specific programme that will greatly increase your chances of reaching the summit.
Hiking in the Drakensberg is also highly recommended. We take clients on a 3 day hike that is the closest you will get to the Kilimanjaro environment. You will get a chance to test your equipment, physical and of course, mental stamina. The hike is super beneficial for ironing out any anomalies. Wow, such a big word. I though we out throw in a few big words to increase our credibility with clients. some clients have even said that the Drakensberg hikes were harder than climb Kilimanjaro. And of all the people that have come on our Drakensberg hikes, I’d say about 99% have made the summit of Kilimanjaro. How cool is that? rather bleed on the training field than the battle field. And yes, you will be carrying your own backpack with at least 10kg of gear. And yes, you will swear and shout and think, what the hell have I got myself into. Consider that moment a rite of passage. Its funny how much more rewarding things are when you have earned them.
4. Nutrition and health
Now here is something that I have been pretty hooked onto in the past couple of years. I never realised how important nutrition is on a mountain. Well, not only on a mountain, but in training as well. Protein for example. In 2012 I climbed Kilimanjaro about 4 times as well as Elbrus and Aconcagua. I think I lost about 8kg. I never knew that the culprit was protein. Apparantly, your body burns muscle before anything else. Thank God, my winky was the last to go .When you are burning say 4000 calories a day and only having 40g of protein, the net effect is going to be a loss in muscle. Anyway, I was advised to up my protein intake and am happy to say that I am feeling so much better. the same goes for most of our clients. When you start training, it is highly advisable top spend time with Liz to guage your nutritional requirements.
What a lot of people do is over train. And what children is the net effect of over training? Well, where do we start. I think we’ll start over here as we are here already. Injuries, weak immune system, flu, fatigue and ultimatley demotivation is going to be your gift for over training. How to climb Kilimanjaro will be replaced with why climb Kilimanjaro. By the way, do you think we mentioned the word how to climb Kilimanjaro enough. We are trying to keep the search engines happy.