Climb Preparation

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How do I train to climb Kilimanjaro?

climb preparation

Achieving a reasonable degree of physical fitness should be a goal in your preparation. Being in good shape will increase your chances of having a safe climb, successful summit, and enjoyable experience.

The main reason that climbers fail to reach the summit is due to the inability to acclimatize to the high altitude quickly enough. Short of going to high altitude, there is little that one can do to pre-acclimatize before the climb. Being physically fit does not guarantee that climbers can overcome altitude issues, but it does reduce the strenuousness of the climb on the body, which in turn, makes acclimatization more likely.

Ideally, your training should simulate actual conditions encountered on Kilimanjaro. Performing day hikes on local trails is the recommended form of training. The trails should include uphill and downhill sections, and you should wear the clothing, boots and pack that you intend to climb in. Try to hike for several hours. Your hikes on the mountain will on average be between four to six hours, but can be as little as two (easy days) and as high as 14 hours (summit day).

If it is impractical for you to train outdoors, you may exercise at the local gym. The staple of your training should be walking on a stair climber machine, supplemented with weight-training for your legs.

A minimum of three days a week, perhaps shorter sessions during the weekdays and longer sessions on the weekends, for three months, is suggested. With proper training, you will develop the leg strength, endurance and confidence necessary for Kilimanjaro.

For those who cannot train at high altitude or want an added advantage, there are in home systems that may help you acclimatize to the high altitude prior to arriving in Tanzania.  These high altitude training systems by Hypoxico can be rented for home use just prior to your trip to Kilimanjaro.

What are the entry requirements for Tanzania?

passport and ticketPassports and visas are required for entry.

To gain entry into Tanzania, US citizens and most other nationalities will need a passport and visa.

The passport must be valid for 6 months after the intended length of stay.

Visas can be obtained prior to departure from the USA or at your point of entry into Tanzania.

The visa cost for US citizens is $100 and $50 for most other nationalities.

What medications and vaccinations do I need?

stethoscopeThere are various recommended vaccinations for travel into Tanzania. However, there are no required vaccinations.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) recommends the following vaccinations and medications: Malaria, Yellow Fever (required if entering Tanzania from an ‘infected area’), Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Rabies. Additionally, the CDCP recommends routine vaccinations of measles/mumps/rubella (MMR), diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) and polio, if you are not up-to-date.

You may also want to bring Diamox, an FDA approved prescription medication used to prevent and treat altitude sickness. Consult with your health care professional.

It is prudent for every client to have a medical check up to see if you have any medical conditions that put you at increased risk when trekking at high altitude. The minimum age of participants of our climbs is 16 years old. All clients 65 years of age or older are required to bring a doctor’s certificate stating they are fit to climb Kilimanjaro.

Do I need travel insurance?

Travel insurance is mandatory. It is a mandatory requirement to have travel insurance to participate on our climbs. Travel insurance should cover high altitude trekking, medical and repatriation costs, and trip cancellation.

We will verify that you have the appropriate insurance prior to the climb. No refunds are given for clients turned away due to failure to obtain the proper coverage

Travel Guard
We recommend Travel Guard for travel insurance.  We recommend purchasing Travel Guard’s Silver Travel Insurance Plan.  Travel Guard is only available to U.S. residents.

World Nomads
World Nomad’s Explorer Policy provides travel insurance for many countries including the USA and most or Europe.

What gear do I need to climb Kilimanjaro?

The appropriate gear and equipment is required to climb Kilimanjaro. Kilimanjaro treks have a wide range of temperatures so the best clothing is a lot of layers. Such clothing is easier to adjust as the temperature fluctuates and is more effective than a few thick items of clothing. Special attention should be made to the fabric of base and middle layers; these garments should be constructed of moisture wicking material that effectively pull sweat away from the body to keep you dry. Cotton is a very poor fabric for trekking and should not be worn.

You can also download this gear list in PDF form (Peak Planet Gear List).

Sleeping and carrying equipment

  • medium sized daypack (30 liter)
  • duffel bag (75-90 liter)
  • backpack rain cover or plastic bags to protect equipment from rain
  • four-season sleeping bag (rated at least 20° F or less)
  • sleeping pad

Drinking

  • two one-liter water bottles or equivalent
  • water bladder (Camelbak) and one one-liter water bottle
  • water filter or chemical tablets (optional)

Base layers

  • long sleeve tee shirt
  • long underwear
  • underwear

Middle layers

  • fleece
  • mid-weight long sleeve tee shirt

Outer layers

  • down jacket
  • waterproof hard shell jacket
  • hiking pants
  • waterproof pants
  • gloves or mittens
  • knit hat or balaclava
  • sun hat
Footwear

  • warm hiking boots (broken in)
  • gym shoes for camp (optional)
  • waterproof gaiters
  • 3 pairs hiking socks
  • 2 pairs sock liners

Personal usage

  • trekking poles (optional)
  • quick drying towel (optional)
  • toiletries
  • hand sanitizer
  • camera (optional)
  • sun screen
  • bug spray
  • toilet paper
  • headlamp and batteries
  • sunglasses
  • lip balm
  • ear plugs (optional)
  • snacks (optional)

Personal first aid kit

  • painkillers (optional)
  • blister kit (optional)
  • anti-diarrhea tablets (optional)
  • malaria tablets (optional)
  • Diamox (optional)

Down jackets, sleeping bags, sleeping pads and trekking poles are available for rent. For more information, please visit the rental gear page.

backpacks and gear bagsPorter loads are limited by our standards of porter treatment as well as by Kilimanjaro National Park authorities. Each client should bring a maximum of 15 kg of luggage for porters to carry onto Kilimanjaro, so please choose your gear sparingly. The luggage, which should be contained in a duffel bag, will be weighed prior to departure.

As noted previously, clients will only carry a medium-sized daypack, containing items that you will need during your daily walks. Accordingly, your duffel bag should contain the items that you will not need between campsites. The porters will carry your duffel bag inside another heavyweight client bag to give it further protection from dust, water and abrasions. Any items that are not needed for the climb at all can be be safely stored in the hotel.

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