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How hard is it to climb Kilimanjaro? Here’s what you need to know

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    How hard is it to climb Kilimanjaro?

    It’s not difficult to climb Mount Kilimanjaro; however, it’s not easy either. There are people who have climbed it and succeeded, and there are those who failed along the way. To learn more about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, please read this article! We’ll discuss when was the last time Mount Kilimanjaro erupted, how long does it take to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, and what I wish I knew before climbing Kilimanjaro, among other things that you should know when climbing the mountain in Tanzania!

    Learning how to climb Mount Kilimanjaro can be a difficult task, especially if you’re traveling from abroad and you don’t know how hard is it to climb Kilimanjaro? Here’s what you need to know anyone with extensive experience who can provide you with firsthand knowledge of the process. But there are many resources available on the internet that will help you learn everything you need to know about climbing Kilimanjaro. It’s never too early to begin your research! Here’s what you need to know about how hard it is to climb Kilimanjaro.

    How hard is it to climb Kilimanjaro? Here’s what you need to know

    When it comes to mountain climbing, most people think of Everest first. But if you want a mountain that’s slightly less crowded—and one with some stunning scenery—then Mount Kilimanjaro may be for you. When was the last time Mount Kilimanjaro erupted? It’s been quiet since 2014 and isn’t due for another big one anytime soon. How long does it take to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro? It can take anywhere from five days to more than seven, depending on your chosen route and fitness level. Still, all estimates are based on an average person in decent shape hiking with a fully loaded backpack—add a few days if you’re not in such great shape or carrying half your house. 

     

    What kind of traveler are you?

    If you’re going on a trip that will see high altitudes, such as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, it’s crucial that you understand your body’s reaction to the altitude before heading off. If your body isn’t prepared for high altitude and you go too quickly or move higher than your body can handle, there are risks of acute mountain sickness and potentially even death. So how do you prepare yourself physically and mentally for an ascent up a big mountain like Mt. Kilimanjaro? Read on! (You can also download our free guide.) We’ve broken down everything you need to know about preparing for your trek into six different categories: Physical fitness & training, Packing, Altitude acclimatization, Your mind; Other physical preparation; Food & drink. Let’s get started…

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    1) PHYSICAL FITNESS & TRAINING

    One important thing to consider when planning your climb is that no matter how fit you are, if you don’t have enough endurance and strength in your legs, then walking over five miles per day could be really tough. Even if you’re a marathon runner with plenty of stamina in other areas, it’ll be tough for sure if you can’t walk around eight hours per day comfortably. That said, even people who don’t exercise regularly can complete a successful climb of Kilimanjaro. It all depends on how much time and effort they put into their preparations beforehand. Whether or not someone succeeds will depend more on their training than anything else.

    2) PACKING

    This section is meant to give you some ideas about what gear and supplies might be useful while you’re on your trip. The gear we recommend here might change depending on where you live, how much money you want to spend, etc., so use these suggestions as a starting point only.

    3) ALTITUDE ACCLIMATIZATION

    As previously mentioned, one of the biggest challenges facing climbers is getting used to high altitudes. You can help mitigate these effects by slowly building up your body’s tolerance through gradual exposure over several days at lower elevations before moving on to higher ones.

    4) YOUR MIND

    Many people underestimate just how important mental preparation can be when attempting something like climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Mental strength is often just as important as physical ability—if not more so—to achieve your goals.

    5) OTHER PHYSICAL PREPARATION

    You can improve your health and fitness before attempting a climb like Kilimanjaro, including cross-training, weightlifting, running, and aerobic exercise.

    6) FOOD & DRINK

    Remember that during most climbs of Kili, you’ll be burning thousands of calories each day without having access to food or water sources along the way.

     

    The Most Common Mistakes

    If you’re inexperienced, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro can be a dangerous undertaking. The most common mistakes climbers make include underestimating their abilities and failing to prepare for altitude sickness. Altitude sickness occurs when there’s an elevation change; as your body adjusts, blood flow becomes restricted, and oxygen levels decrease. The main symptoms of altitude sickness are headaches, nausea, vomiting, and weakness.

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    To help prevent these dangers, make sure that you get plenty of rest and hydrate before leaving on your journey so that your body will adjust quickly while on top of Kilimanjaro.

    Also, don’t underestimate how difficult it can be to hike at high altitudes—it may take longer than you expect!
    Ensure that you give yourself enough time to reach Uhuru Peak before dark so that you don’t have to spend an uncomfortable night outside in freezing temperatures.

    Finally, never go alone: always travel with a guide or at least one other person who knows where they’re going!

     

    Get the right gear

    It’s no secret that climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro can be dangerous, and when your life hangs in the balance, you don’t want your equipment to let you down. This means: Get good gear from a reputable company. Don’t skimp on something as important as your safety equipment! If you plan to climb without a guide (which we don’t recommend), make sure your knowledge of mountain-climbing techniques is up to snuff.

    And if you are using a guide, make sure he or she has all of his or her certifications up-to-date—and get recommendations from other climbers before making any final decisions about which guide service to use. (For more info, check out our post  Tips for Hiring a Guide for Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.)

    We also highly recommend bringing some friends along with you—not only will they provide moral support, but having another person with you can help keep your spirits high during tough times. Plus, who doesn’t love an adventure with friends?

     

    Gear List for Mountaineering

    Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro requires some specific gear that makes for an enjoyable, safer experience. Don’t skimp on your equipment; a good pair of hiking boots, waterproof and windproof clothing, and a pack big enough to carry everything will make your trip more comfortable and enjoyable.

    Make sure your guide has all of these items, too. Some guides are less expensive than others because they don’t provide all these luxuries: choose wisely if cost is a factor in choosing a guide. In addition to your gear, bring along any medications you might need (such as anti-diarrhea pills or antibiotics), as well as any special dietary needs (for example, kosher or vegetarian food).

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    You can find most of these things in Arusha before heading out into Tanzania. Be sure to bring extra water—the dry air at high altitudes dehydrates faster than normal. And be sure to bring your camera! The view from atop Mount Kilimanjaro is stunning.

     

    Packing List for Mountaineering

    To reach Uhuru Peak, which is Africa’s highest peak at 19,341 feet above sea level, climbers will trek through areas of rainforest and along mountain ridges. Depending on weather conditions and their acclimatization levels, they may spend a few days trekking up to 15 miles a day before reaching base camp at 13,700 feet above sea level.

    Climbers start summit attempts around midnight so that they can reach Uhuru Peak by sunrise. The descent usually takes about six hours. It can take several days for climbers to recover from these grueling climbs. They are encouraged to stay hydrated and eat high-energy foods such as peanut butter sandwiches. Many choose to bring sleeping bags since temperatures can drop below freezing at night.

     

    Training for Mountaineering

    There are a lot of ways to train for Mt. Kilimanjaro. The short answer to training for Mt. Kilimanjaro is that there’s no one-size-fits-all plan, and everyone will respond differently depending on their fitness level, health history, etc.

    In order to successfully summit Mt. Kilimanjaro, your body needs to be in tip-top shape. If you have any medical conditions or if you haven’t been exercising regularly, consult with your doctor before attempting an ascent of Mt. Kilimanjaro—it could save your life!

    A general guideline for training for Mt. Kilimanjaro includes starting out slow (you don’t want to burn yourself out!) and gradually increasing intensity over time. You can do some or all of these exercises individually, but I highly recommend pairing them together into a workout routine: walking/running, cycling, swimming, weightlifting/resistance training, and yoga/stretching. And remember to listen to your body! Your muscles might get sore at first—this is normal and should go away after a few days.

    If you experience pain or discomfort beyond muscle soreness (like sharp pains shooting through your joints), stop immediately and see a doctor. Also, remember that altitude sickness can happen quickly when ascending high mountains like Mt.


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