Kilimanjaro preparation – come prepared & maximise your experience!
So what does sufficient Kilimanjaro preparation include? We get this question asked a lot and googling the internet leads to a wealth of different views.. To state the obvious: the fitter you are, the more you will enjoy your trip and the higher the likelihood of a successful summit. You’re probably going to climb Kilimanjaro once in a lifetime, so if you’ve decided to take the adventure on, be sure you make most out of it! The climb is definitely an adventure to remember… expect breathtakingly beautiful views, fresh mountain air under clear skies, but also a physical and mental challenge. So for the physical part, we recommend to maintain a great level of general fitness and to add a few dedicated training session a couple of weeks in advance.
What do you mean by general fitness and dedicated training sessions?
By general fitness we mean regular sport or exercises 2 to 3 times a week at higher intensity and being able to run comfortably at least for 1-2 hours. A fit body is more likely to withstand the stress of consecutive days of hiking and camping. Why not taking it as a goal for 2 to 3 months to maintain a sporty and healthy lifestyle?
We also recommend in addition to general fitness at least a few training session where you simulate walking uphill. During this training, you should wear the boots that you intend to climb with so that they are sufficiently broken-in (this is very important to prevent blisters!). Additionally, you should wear the day pack you intend to carry so your shoulders/back/hips get used to the points of contact and weight (to minimise chafing and soreness). Don’t use your day to day hiking equipment the first time when you are on the mountain. Being used to it will give you a good feel before the climb and if you realise that hiking a few hours a day might be a challenge you can still increase your level of training. For those who do not have access to trails, a good alternative can be to look out for a treadmill in your gym that allows to adjust the gradient.
Your longest/hardest workouts should be performed two to four weeks before your departure. For the last two weeks, you should taper off your training and in the final days, rest so that your body has time to recover before your actual climb.
Make the trip a motivation to change bad habits!
Physical training is just one part of getting in shape. If you have an unhealthy lifestyle, use the climb as your motivation to change. Pimp your diet up and reduce your McDonalds visits.. Reduce drinking and smoking and get enough sleep!
That being said…
Good fitness and Kilimanjaro preparation are great, but not a guarantee for a successful summit. Some people don’t train much, aren’t very fit and fare very well, while others engage in a disciplined training program and succumb to the altitude in a few days. People react differently to high altitude. While you can’t rule out that element, being in an excellent physical shape will definitely help your body to acclimatise faster and higher the likelihood of a successful and enjoyable climb!
And at last but not at least, stay happy and positive!
Finally, a positive mental attitude can work wonders for you when fatigue and doubts arise. Stay happy and positive. Trust in our lead guide Chris’ motto: Laughing is the best medicine on the mountain! He must know, he has been on the summit more than 200 times!