Climbing the Kilimanjaro is an unforgettable experience, one that you can enjoy even if you are not an expert climber. While it still does not mean that you simply decide to do the climb without any preparation at all, it does not require any climbing expertise. The biggest challenge is acclimatizing to the high altitudes, though this can be solved by adopting the right approach.
What To Expect During Your Climb Up Mount Kilimanjaro
When you decide to go up any mountain, regardless of how high it is, you will definitely need to plan well. Mount Kilimanjaro has 6 official routes (Rongai, Marangu, Shira, Machame, Umbwe, and Lemosho) and they all have their unique characteristics and success rates. Choosing which route depends on you and your group, specifically on your fitness level, expertise and interests. Each route also has its sceneries and this is another factor in deciding which way to go.
The most important thing is to get expert advice because while it is not a technically difficult trek, it is a very high trek that will be taxing on your body. Tips on how to deal with acclimatizing are important, as well as other tips on how to make it to the top without any injuries.
So many people get hung up on the fact that it is more of a trek than a difficult climb (no rock climbing or other similar stunts like in the movies) that they tend to downgrade its complexity. Remember, you are climbing one of the Seven Summits and going up almost 6,000 meters above sea level. Your body will feel the effects of being so high and trekking at high altitude.
That being said, you will want to prepare your body before the actual hike. If you have ever been successful in hikes at home, do not be overconfident as the Kilimanjaro hike is much longer. You will be climbing at least 4 hours (or up to 12 hours) a day for maybe 6 to 7 days, so it can be a shock to your body. Try to do long climbs beforehand and break in your hiking boots. Lastly, be prepared for all kinds of temperatures and weather (from tropical to arctic) so pack layers that you can put on or remove when necessary.
3. The Climb Itself
Interestingly, only about 30% of hikers actually reach the Uhuru (the highest) peak. If you want to be a part of this statistic, then you need to pace yourself during the trek. Trying to rush puts you at risk and tires your body. Instead, try to go about it slowly but surely. You will also need to take breaks to allow your body to adjust to the altitude, no matter how strong or healthy you think you are. Remember, it is not a race, so focus instead on every step that gets you to the top.
Going up Mount Kilimanjaro is truly a once-in-a-lifetime trip that you should try out if you love trekking. From its relatively easy climb to the interesting sights along the way, it is a trek that belongs in every adventure-lovers’ bucket list.