Put simply, safety
on Kilimanjaro is so important because it’s a hard climb.
Standing at 5,895 meters (19,341 feet), Kilimanjaro
is classified as an extreme altitude mountain trek.
You definitely don’t need to be an athlete to climb
Kilimanjaro. Yet doing the necessary mental and physical training is essential
to a safe and successful summit. Learn more about what you need
to do to prepare for this climb. Will give you a suggested training program.
Anyone with the
right amount of determination can climb Kilimanjaro. The oldest person to
summit was 88 years old and the youngest was 7 years old.
It is a tough, hard climb. It’s fair
to say that climbing Kilimanjaro is not akin to climbing Everest or K2. However
it is still to be approached with upmost care. The consequence of climbing too
high, or too quickly, is altitude sickness.
This is why we take 6 days to summit.
This gives our clients the best possible chance to summit safely.
What is altitude sickness?
Altitude sickness, or Acute Mountain
Sickness (AMS), is a negative health effect of high altitude. The percentage of
oxygen in the atmosphere at sea level is about 21%. As you climb higher up the
mountain the percentage remains the same but the number of oxygen molecules per
breath is reduced. At 12,000 feet (3,600 m) there are roughly 40% fewer oxygen
molecules per breath. The body therefore finds it hard to adapt and function as
normal with less oxygen.
Altitude sickness is caused by a
failure of the body to adapt quickly enough to these lower levels of oxygen.
Often climbers make the mistake of going too high (altitude) too quickly (rate
But don’t worry, it is perfectly normal to get altitude
sickness. In fact, at over 3,000 metres more than 75% of climbers will
experience at least some form of mild AMS. It is therefore more than likely
that you will experience some form of altitude sickness when climbing
Kilimanjaro. sex or physical fitness have no effect on your likelihood of
getting altitude sickness. Just because you haven’t had it before doesn’t mean
you won’t develop it on another trip. It is essential you are clued up.
What are the symptoms of high altitude sickness?
Most high altitude sickness symptoms
are very normal when climbing Kilimanjaro. They are generally mild and
appear a few hours after moving to higher altitudes. Symptoms have been likened
to experiencing a bad hangover and are generally worse at night when
respiratory drive is decreased. Mild forms of altitude sickness may include
- Sleep Disturbance
- shortness of breath with physical exertion
- loss of appetite
- nausea and vomiting
- muscle aches
- swelling of the hands, feet and face
The occurrence of altitude sickness
is dependent upon the elevation, the rate of ascent, and individual
susceptibility. Everyone acclimatises at different rates. The symptoms usually
start 12 to 24 hours after arrival at altitude. They generally begin to
decrease in severity around the third day.
How are the mild symptoms of high altitude sickness treated?
Mild symptoms of altitude sickness
are common and easily treated. The best and most efficient treatment is to
descend if need be. You need to rest and maintain fluid intake. Painkillers
such as paracetamol also help. The best treatment is to take a very slow
ascent. Do acclimatisation walks when you get into camp. Go high and come back
down to sleep.
Diamox to prevent and treat high altitude sickness
Ibuprofen and paracetamol
Anti-sickness medication, like
promethazine, for nausea
There are also natural remedies you
can try for treating mild symptoms of altitude sickness. These include ginger,
lavender oil, garlic and cloves.
Please remember that mild altitude
symptoms are to be expected. They do not interfere with normal activity and
symptoms generally subside as the body acclimatises. As soon as you
acclimatise, you will feel better with no lasting side effects. This means you
can carry on with your climb.