I have recently returned from Kilimanjaro leading a group and had a great success rate again, in fact in my last two trips we have achieved a 95% success rate to the summit. I do the same things every trip, but it was only this time that the simple answer came out!
I was lucky enough this trip to work again with Julius White (Whitey) our Head Tanzanian guide. Julius is a past winner of the ‘World’s Best Guide’ award and has summited Kilimanjaro over 200 times. That’s impressive! It was working with Whitey this year that made me see there were only 4 simple rules to get everyone to the top of Kilimanjaro – these rules are straightforward and you don’t need to complicate things. If you want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, you simply have to follow these 4 basic steps.
Here are those rules for you to remember:
- Be slow – Pole, pole (slowly, slowly) – Not only on the mountain, but in Tanzania, nobody rushes! They take things slowly. As Whitey says “Tanzania People are lazy!” When on the mountain, there is no need to rush between camps – Kilimanjaro is not a race, everyone gets the same certificate for reaching the top. Acclimatisation is so important, and this can be done by taking your time and moving up the mountain slowly. If you can arrive at your next camp feeling as strong as when you left the previous one in the morning, you are putting yourself in a good position to summit.
- Eat/refuelling – Eating is so important on the mountain, as you are burning lots of calories and these need to be replaced ready for the next day. Altitude does funny things to you, and one of those is sometimes making you lose your appetite. It is important to make sure you are putting the energy back inside you each day. I always advise my teams to take extra comfort food with them – flapjack, Clif Bars, Haribo and Wine Gums are some of the favourites! Another tip is to take meal replacement bars in your pack – if you have lost your appetite it is easier to eat one of these than a full meal.
- Hydrate – How many people drink the recommended 2 litres of water each day? Very few! But this is so important when climbing Kilimanjaro. You should be taking on board 3-4 litres of water each day when on the mountain. Staying hydrated is one of the best ways of staying healthy prevent AMS (altitude sickness) when climbing. Before departing, think about how you are going to drink your fluids on the mountain, are you going to take water bottles or use a hydration system? Are you going to drink water, isotonic drink or squash? Have you ever tried drinking water with chlorine tablets in it? These are all things to consider before departing. This year I took Robinsons’ SQUASH’D with me, this made making my drinks tasty loads easier, it just takes the taste of the chlorine away and allows me to drink more!
- Rest – This one everyone should find easy! At every available opportunity, you need to rest! That doesn’t have to mean sleep, but just rest! You find yourself going to bed early on Kilimanjaro – it is dark by 7.30pm, and with nothing to do there is only one option. However, if you are not tired you can just sit and read a book or watch a film on your phone or tablet. Your body needs rest to recover and acclimatise. Rest is so important and the easiest of the 4 rules to master!
These are the 4 rules – simple aren’t they?! If you follow these rules it will give you your best possible opportunity of reaching the Roof of Africa and getting your certificate for reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro.
If you are interested in reaching the highest point of Africa with us next year – you can download our Information Pack Here. For any more tips or guidance, feel free to contact us today – we would be happy to answer your questions!