Our Professional Advise for a Successful Kilimanjaro Climb
While being physically capable certainly helps, climbing is about mental toughness — not just how physically fit you are or how much you trained.
Having the right equipment makes the difficult trek a lot more conquerable.
Go at your own pace. It is not a race or competition. POLÉ! POLÉ! (Slowly! Slowly!)
On the second day, you will reach an altitude above the clouds. Clouds are cold and not as fluffy nor as fun as they appear from the warmth of the inside an airplane.
Do take in the scenery, but don’t only focus on the end-goal in the distance. It is a tease to see the campsite ahead yet know you still have 4 hours remaining to arrival. Be like an elephant and focus on what is directly in front of you. Before you know it, you’ll reach your destination.
The more days in the trek, the more time you have to acclimate.
Be prepared for climbing in extreme cold on summit night as temperatures can reach 0 degrees F (minus 18 C). There are ice glaciers at the top!
Did you know you go through five temperate climates in just a few days? Be ready with lots of layers and pack lightly for all seasons. Before leaving, test that you can actually wear your clothes over each other.
Prepare to wear the same thing day after day and night after night. The air is thin and cold so you *probably* won’t sweat or smell like you normally would after a week without a shower at home.
Don’t wear cotton! It does not dry at high altitudes and can chafe. Wear fabric that is breathable, synthetic, and moisture-wicking.
Pack at least one complete hiking outfit, including a long sleeve shirt, hiking pants, underwear, hiking socks, and especially hiking boots. You can rent almost anything, but don’t want to risk blisters.
Rent what you don’t need to own or schlep.
Be prepared not to shower for a week. Get used to wet wipe baths.
Bring an iPod, but (in my personal opinion) save your battery for summit night. Music makes the long night climb much easier. Keep it close to your body to use body heat to prevent it from freezing and dying.
Do not carry any water on the outside of your pack on summit night, it will freeze. Protect it with insulation or under clothing.
Bring a camera that fits in your hip pockets of the daypack. You won’t want to stop and dig through the daypack; you want easy access on the go.
Bring a journal and pen. It goes by in a blur and you’ll be grateful you documented your journey.
Diamox is helpful but not mandatory to help combat altitude sickness. I took generic brand and had no symptoms of AMS.