10 Top Tips For Climbing Kilimanjaro
So you're off to climb Kilimanjaro - what would be the top tips an experienced 4 x summiteer would give you? Read on...
1. Hydration is your mantra! At least 4 litres of fluids to be drank throughout each day. It is your best chance, along with your itinerary, of summit success. Half a litre of water during breakfast, along with hot drinks supplied. Drink 2 litres in the walking time between breakfast and lunch. Refill your water bottles at the lunch stop, and drink the hot drinks supplied. Another 2 litres to be drank in the walking time between lunch and dinner. Refill at the dinner stop, and continue to drink the provided drinks at meal time.
2. When you’re settled in your sleeping bag, you’ll be all toasty. If you need the bathroom because your bladder is full, don’t put it off. You’ll sleep better with an empty bladder! Get those Crocs on and go for a wee! Have your headtorch to hand, your wipes, and hand sanitizer, and make sure you know your camp layout. If the cloud comes down, and you get a touch lost, shout for help, and your guide will come and get you. If it’s clear, have a look up at the Milky Way, it’s wonderful!
3. Don’t scrimp on your cold weather gear! Your 4 season down sleeping bag will keep you warm at night. If you wake up cold and shivering, you’ll be grumpy in the morning, and the shivering you’ve done, is your energy for the next day. Your summit night down jacket, will also come in handy at each camp, once the sun has gone down, it gets very cold!
4. Headtorch rather than hand torch. You’ll have two hands free to do things! Pack some spare batteries for it too, just in case it switches on in your bag!
5. In your tent, you’ll have a stash pocket. This is a handy place to organize yourself a grab bag (headtorch/wash bag/toothbrush etc) Always best to be prepared and organized. Your tent can get messy and dusty very quickly, so utilize the downtime when you have the light to get your personal admin up to scratch.
6. Pack a nail brush in with your washbag. You’re on a big old dusty volcano, so like your dusty tent, you get messy quickly too! You’ll have a bowl on hot water on some occasions, so a nail brush will get under your nails and get your hands really clean. It’ll make you feel much better, trust me!
7. Be hygienic! Hand sanitizer on you at all times. Wipes as well, to get yourself clean. Half a spare toilet roll with your personal belongings too, because, you never know! Factor 50, and apply it after breakfast, reapply at lunch. SPF in your lip balm, your lips will thank you for it!
8. 2 x 1 litre water bottles (Nalgene ideally) rather than hydration packs. And a mailable (squishy) 500ml water bottle. Hydration packs are great, but, they will freeze on Kilimanjaro. They also have a silicon nozzle, and that will attract dust and ash, yuck! On summit night, I have the mailable water bottle on the inside of my jacket for quick access. The 2 x 1 litre bottles, I put upside down in my bag (make sure they’re screwed on) and each in a sock (insulation). This will ensure that for the first 6 hours of the summit push, you have fluids at all times.
9. Get to know your fellow adventurers, spend time with everyone. So many different walks of life with a common goal. Get to know your locals guides and porter teams. They do speak English, and they’re a hoot! At camp and some other occasions, you’ll be singing and dancing with them, please, lose your inhibition and get your boogie on!
10. Uno or Shithead?? That’s always the debate of which card game you want to play in the mess tent! My personal favourite is Shithead, easy rules, and everyone that wants to, can play.
Thanks to guest blog-writer, expedition leader and 4 x Kilimanjaro summiteer Keith White for his thoughts (and accompanying pictures) on why you should climb Kilimanjaro!