By on February 21, 2017 in Adventure, Africa, Kilimanjaro, Trekking with 2 Comments

We’re human, we make mistakes. But if your Kilimanjaro climb is going to succeed at the summit, you’ve got to minimize the errors. Here’s a list of blunders to avoid.

1. Wrong Assumption: Since Kilimanjaro is not a technical climb, some first timers assume it’s a walk in the park. They underestimate its high altitude, low temperatures, and changeable weather, and they bring improper clothes. If you don’t train properly or bring the right gear, your chances of summitting are slim to none.

2. On the Cheap: You get what you pay for on Kilimanjaro. If you book with a cheap company, expect bad food, leaky tents, and disaffected guides. You have a much lower chance of summit success with the bottom feeders.

3. Shortest Route: Climbing the five day shortest and cheapest route doesn’t give your body enough time to acclimatize to altitude. Going up too fast invites Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) and possibly worse. Spend more time on the mountain to assure you get to the top safely and can actually enjoy soaking in the views.

4. Overestimating your Guide: Assuming your guide is a pro is a huge no-no. The park has no definitive training standards for Kilimanjaro guides, and most of them have no idea how to prevent or handle high altitude emergencies. Assess your guide’s abilities before the climb by asking him lots of questions. If he’s good, he’ll help you safely succeed at high altitude. If he’s bad, he can lead you into trouble.

5. Forgoing Snack Hour: You should be snacking and hydrating at least every hour. Without nourishment and hydration, you won’t have the energy for the steep uphill or calories for warmth.

6. New Boots: We all like to sport new clothes and shoes, but climbing in brand new unbroken-in boots is an invitation for blisters and a missed opportunity for bagging the summit.

7. No Heed to the Headache: You risk a lot by ignoring a pounding headache. Headaches are usually the start of AMS and can develop into High Altitude Cerebral Edema, which is often fatal.

8. Ignoring the Hotspot: Your heel is on fire. That means a new blister is forming, but you decide to push on before treating it. Not attending to a blister before it’s in full force could stop your climb. Treat the hotspot as soon as you feel it.

9. Getting Hot and Cold: Your body temperature varies throughout the day as you climb going from hot to cold and hot again. You’ve got to layer your clothes on and off regularly to adjust to the frequently changing climate. Otherwise you risk hypothermia or heat exhaustion.

10. Mountain Nightmares: It’s not easy getting a good night’s sleep at altitude so some folks pop sleeping pills for insomnia, which is also a symptom of AMS. The problem is that most sleeping pills suppress respiratory drive, not what you want going into thin air.



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  1. Brian Booker says:

    I paid my money, and got the best. Tusker….There Is No Other Way.

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