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Safety

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 of ascent).

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 experiencing:

  • Headaches
  • Sleep Disturbance
  • Fatigue
  • shortness of breath with physical exertion
  • dizziness
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea and vomiting
  • irritability
  • 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 for headaches

·         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.