Mt Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain; it’s also the highest free standing mountain in the world as well as the highest ‘trek-able’ mountain in the world. Contrary to what many people believe, Mt Kilimanjaro is an exceptionally difficult mountain to climb with a summit failure rate of just over 45%. What people don’t realise is that attempting to climb Kilimanjaro with the wrong clothing and the wrong preparations can and has lead to a fatal conclusion. Provided you are well prepared, well guided and well informed making it to the summit of Africa will be one of the most magical things you have ever achieved.
How Climbing Kilimanjaro Is Done
The only way you are allowed to climb Kilimanjaro is if you are with an organised trek with a Kilimanjaro climbing tours licensed mountain operator. It is of paramount importance that when you choose your mountain operator that they are trustworthy and have a good track record as this is increase your chances of summit success by up to 25%. Kilimanjaro can only be navigated using ore-determined routes, and there is no technically climbing involved it is mostly walking with a small amount of scrambling towards the end of your summit attempt on a large scree slope. Trek durations can vary anywhere between 5 to 8 nights on the mountain depending on which route you have decided to take and how quickly you believe you can climb the mountain.
On your trek you will be accompanied by a guide, porter and a cook who will be present with you throughout your time on the mountain. For every person there is 3 additional people needed to ensure not only all the gear gets up and down the mountain safely but also to ensure both you or anyone else in your party is attended to should anything go wrong.
The Best Time Of Year To Climb Kilimanjaro
Selecting the right time of year for climbing Kilimanjaro is of paramount importance as choosing the wrong time of year could potentially prove fatal. Summit success in good weather on the mountain can increase by up to 25%, whilst a trek in bad conditions including mud, sleet, drizzle, snow and ice could make your trip to the summit twice as hard as it should be. The best time of year to tackle the mountain are between the middle of January to the end of February. Another good period to take on the mountain is from the beginning of September to the middle of October. The times of the year you really don’t want to be risking it all to gain summit success on Kilimanjaro is from the beginning of April to the middle of June and the beginning of November to the middle of December.
How Fit Do You Have To Be To Climb ‘Kili’?
Climbing Kilimanjaro has been described as ”more painful than childbirth’…and that’s coming from a women! You generally have to be reasonably physically fit and when you hear of people describing how hard the mountain is, they are talking about the summit trek which is a grueling 7-8 hour day walking up and down extremely steep slopes. The problem with Kilimanjaro is that due to it’s extreme altitude even the fittest amongst us can fall by the way side due to altitude sickness. Unfortunately other then acclimatising there is very little you can do to prevent yourself from experiencing altitude sickness.
The general rule of thumb is that, the fitter you are the more chance you have of summit success. It also helps to have a strong mental attitude and an enormous amount of will power to ensure you fight through the tough times and push on up the mountain. Before heading out to Tanzania it’s important for you to try and reach your optimum fitness as it will really tell when your body is really put up against it!