There are several routes up Mount Kilimanjaro. I’ve chosen one of the longer routes (Lemoshe) in the hopes of giving my body a longer period to adjust to the altitude and ensuring I summit. Although this is likely to be the most physically challenging thing I’ve ever done, it is physically doable for most people, or so I’m told. The real challenge is altitude sickness, and unfortunately there isn’t any real way of knowing in advance who might experience issues with the altitude. I’m taking Diamox, an altitude sickness drug, so fingers crossed I don’t have any issues.
I’ll be hiking with five other individuals. Clearly we are going to get to know one another pretty well by the end of eight days together. We start out on the 26th of June. Each day, we’ll hike a bit higher than we plan to sleep in order to expose our bodies to the higher altitudes but then come down a bit at night to sleep. For those that are interested our schedule is below and you can see a map of the trail here. We’ll start out basically in farm land, proceed through the forest, into the desert, then the alpine desert and finally the ice peak.
June 26 – Londorossi Gate to Mti Mkubwa
June 27 – Mti Mkubwa to Shira 1
June 28 – Shira 1 to Moir Hut
June 29 – Moir Hut via Lava Tower to Barranco Camp
June 30 – Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp
July 1 – Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp
July 2 – Barafu Camp to Summit to Mweka Camp
July 3 – Mweka Camp back to the hotel
Don’t let the terms camp or hut fool you. We’ll be sleeping in tents the entire time.
We met with the lead guide this afternoon to review our kit (items in our duffel bag) and to weigh the bag. The bag has to be under 15 kilos (30 lbs) and that includes your sleeping bag which weighs 2 kilos. For every one climber there are 3-4 porters/support staff that come along to carry all of the supporting materials and food. We’ll have 24 porters/guides along with our group.
Luckily there have been several groups that have returned from hiking, so I’ve been peppering them with questions. The basic lowdown is that clothing on the lower levels doesn’t really matter because you get so filthy from the dust that you just give up and stay in the same outfit rather than trying to switch them out. Summiting is obliviously cold (can go as low as 20 degrees below). Any exposed skin needs to continually be bathed in vaseline.
But it doesn’t matter. Each afternoon as I watch the clouds part, Kili appears larger than life. It is amazing. Can’t wait to be standing on the roof of Africa and the highest free standing mountain in the world. Supposedly we might have some connectivity early on. If so I’ll try and get a few posts out to Instagram. You can also follow the climb operator’s Facebook or Instagram @kandooadventures for updates. See you on the other side in eight days! Keep your fingers crossed for me.