Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro could be challenging. There are several factors that you need to consider before attempting to climb this mountain. If you are planning on taking the challenge, here are seven (7) facts you should know beforehand and to embrace in your mind.
1. First Things first, Facts About Mount Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro is perched high on the pantheon of the world’s tallest mountains (5,895 m above sea level). It’s been feted as Africa’s highest point, the world’s freestanding mountain, one of the Seven Summits.
It is the highest (in Africa) and most scenic points, an amateur can ascend without any prior technical training. While climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is tedious and daunting, the views from the summit are awe-inspiring and beatific. That moment you stand at the peak will etch itself in your memory, forever.
2. What Weather To Expect When Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro
The temperatures on Mount Kilimanjaro oscillate between 80 0F and -20 0F. Hikers usually describe the journey from the foot to the peak as something akin to traveling from the equator to the Antarctica, just in under a few days. That is because the routes to Uhuru Peak, the highest point of the mountain, cross various ecological zones; in fact, five of them.
Each of Mount Kilimanjaro’s ecological zones is approx 1000m in altitude, and each zone correspondingly decreases in temperature, rainfall, and wildlife with every increase in altitude. Moshi, which is the gateway town to the mountain, is situated 900 m above sea level, and occupies the warmest ecological zone (80 0F).
3. Trail Conditions
The trails on Mount Kilimanjaro are usually well maintained and tarmacked so much so that you don’t require any technical skills to make the ascent. Despite of this, there are a few spots where you’d need to crawl a little, such as the optional lava tower climb, the western breach approach, and the Barranco wall.
Bad weather conditions do complicate matters. Climbers should prepare physically and psychologically to trek through any kind of weather, be it fog, snow, rain, and any type of ground conditions, (e.g, muddy, loose, dusty, snowy, wet, or icy).
Along the way you’ll meet wooden structures constructed around deep holes dug into the ground. These serve as toilets where you can relieve yourself in a squatting or standing position. Keep in mind that, they are not the most clean toilets.
Where will you put up during the climb? Tours will provide you with four-season tents that you can use during the trek. The Mountain Hardwear Trango tents are especially suited for this kind of expeditions. They are often a standard issue for base-camp shelters on mountain expeditions worldwide.
5. Guidance To Embrace The Summit
According to experts, only about 65% of climbers who dare to summit the mountain, actually reach the peak. The chances of reaching the highest peak increases if you opt for the right tour operator. It’s been made compulsory to climb the mountain with a guide or chaperone. Remember, when choosing your guide, prioritize safety over cost.
6. Very Important – Choosing Routes
When climbing mount Kilimanjaro, selecting the route is THE MOST important decision you have to make. Overall, there are seven main routes to get to Kilimanjaro’s peak. Each of them varies from the others in terms of traffic, scenic beauty, and difficulty. Other factors you have to consider are time, money, preparation and, personal preference.
Based on the experiences from other climbers, we are giving an overall of the available routes in the following order (from most difficult to the “easiest”):
Mostly, the ascent starts in Moshi, which is a town found at the base of the mountain to the south, at approx. 3,000 feet above sea level. It is a short drive from the Kilimanjaro International Airport.
Take your time to choose the most suitable route for you. It is worth noting that routes with the highest success rate are often the ones that take climbers longer to ascend gradually, hence, permitting climbers to acclimatize to changes in altitude.
7. Getting ready for the action
Lastly, you need to prepare for high altitudes by rigorous physical training (click here to see mountain climbing training program) at least two months before the expedition. High altitude training will help you to per-acclimatize at home.
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is well-nigh one of the most demanding expeditions, but the experience, thrill, and views from the summit make the trouble worthwhile and livable.