5 Tips for staying safe while climbing Kilimanjaro
Climbing to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro is both a thrilling and rewarding experience. The mountain offers spectacular views from its peak. However, high altitudes have some physical and health challenges and it is important to take precautions.
Here are some tips we gathered for you:
1. Bring the right equipment:
Wear comfortable clothing. Choose well-fitting shoes that provide ankle support, stability and grip. Carry gear for all types of weather in your backpack since it can change to both extremes. Pack rain- and windproof outerwear made of lightweight material, a hat and sunglasses. Wear sunscreen for protection from strong sun rays. Use walking poles to walk on the rocky areas for better balance and to reduce physical impact off your knees, hips, ankles, and lower back.Make sure you stay hydrated all through, because sweating is generally more in higher altitudes.
2. Prevent altitude-related sickness:
Acute mountain sickness or altitude sickness is the most common illness in high altitudes. Symptoms may include:
Some other altitude-related disorders include:
• high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE)
• high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE)
• peripheral edema, which causes your hands, feet, and face to swell
• altitude throat
• altitude bronchitis
Most altitude-related illnesses are caused by lack of oxygen because high altitudes have a lower concentration of oxygen in the air. Take your time to travel to high altitudes. In Tanzania, we say ‘pole-pole’, which means ‘slowly-slowly’. It is recommended that you walk slowly up the mountain. Both speed wise and distance wise. Every stop on Kilimanjaro allows you to adjust to the altitude. Your overall health may limit how high you can safely climb, and it is important to get a checkup before a climb. Apart from staying hydrated you need to eat often. Smoking and alcohol are definitely a no-no.
Doctors and pharmacies can best advise medications for altitude sickness. They help you take in more oxygen and acclimatize better. This will improve quality of sleep and breathing.
Upon noticing any altitude-related illness, descend immediately. Try to descend by 3,000 feet or more.