Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest free-standing mountain on earth and the highest peak of Africa attracts thousands of professional and fresh climbers to attempt Mount Kilimanjaro challenges every year to summit its snow-capped top, Uhuru Peak.
The scenic panorama view, abundant wild and birdlife, numerous campsites, and its extraordinary altitude level make Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro a wonderful experience.
However, every small to big trek has its challenges, likewise; Mount Kilimanjaro is no different. You may have to face some Challenges with Mount Kilimanjaro climbing too.
Let’s have a glance at what challenges you might have to face during Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro:
Probably Experience Rain, Wind, Hot, and Cold Temperature:
Mount Kilimanjaro has a high altitude level, and you will possibly experience rain, wind, hot, and cold temperatures all in one Week. The temperature here is not predictable, and no one can get a hint of when it may start pouring.
The temperature changes as you increase in elevation because there is less air above you, and the pressure decreases as the pressure decreases the air expands, and the temperature decreases.
So, you will need to spend less time on elevation and more time in the mountains. Give yourself more time to acclimatize, stay in the campsites, or have a short hike on hills. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking sufficient water. Take a longer route or spend more days on the mountain to have perfect acclimatization and a successful summit.
High Levels of UV Rays:
As you are closer to the equator, the Sun will be very strong, while Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with its high level of UV Rays and you may need to stay covered up most of the time in the mountain. The UV radiation at the altitude increases 10-20% according to increased elevation. So, at the Uhuru peak, the Sun is 60-72% intense than the Sea level.
The closer you are to the equator, the higher the UV radiation level. So, you will need to make sure to protect your skin from the sun while Climbing mt Kilimanjaro:
- Sunscreen – It will be the first line of your facial defense. You will need SPF 50 or higher preferably one that contains zinc oxide.
- Sunglasses – You will need a premium pair of sunglasses that will filter at least 95% of the sun’s UV Rays.
- Lip Balm – Find the best available lip balm and bring multiple sticks.
- Buff – It can serve as a scarf, a neck gaiter, a dust screen, and Ear cover.
The higher you climb, the higher is the altitude level. While you are climbing Kilimanjaro above 5,500m/18,044 ft., you may experience a very high altitude level. You may suffer from Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness if you are not taking any precautionary measures.
So, before attempting Mount Kilimanjaro challenges, you will need to understand Altitude as it is important to know how it affects your body.
What is Altitude Sickness?
Altitude sickness has 3 forms; Acute Mountain Sickness [AMS], High Altitude Cerebral Oedema [HACE], and High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema [HAPE].
AMS is a mild altitude sickness that is quite similar to a hangover. It causes headaches, nausea, and fatigue. HAPE is excess fluid in the lungs and causes breathlessness. HACE is fluid on the brain, which causes confusion, stumbling, and clumsiness.
What Causes Altitude Sickness?
The main thing which Causes Altitude sickness while on Mount Kilimanjaro Challenges are;
- Ascending faster than 700m per day.
- Exercising vigorously.
- Less oxygen in the air at higher altitudes.
Solutions for Altitude sickness:
- Go up slowly.
- Take your time to climb.
- It is not a sprint, it is a marathon.
- Less elevation.
Lack of Sleep:
It would be better to sleep as much as possible while Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, in case you do not give your body more rest and continue trekking, you will be a prey of Altitude sickness, which may also turn to HACE.
It is a good thing to choose a long route which provides more break and huts or campsites to rest so that you will not be suffering from lack of sleep.
This also helps your body to acclimatize and get more sleep and make your summit successful.
Climbing the Barranco Wall:
The Barranco Wall climbing is another Mount Kilimanjaro challenge, which looks a lot more ominous than it is, and you will not need any technical climbing skills to be able to scale the Barranco wall.
The climb is often called the Barranco Breakfast Wall, as it is the first thing that you will need to do on further days of your trek.
The trick to climb is to “Go Slow” and make Sure of each footing you take. The climb up the Barranco wall takes between 1-2 hours, and this again depends on your fitness level.
The Lemosho, Machame, Umbwe, and Shira routes all include the Barranco Wall.
The high you climb, the more you dehydrate. Drinking more water will help you stay hydrated and it is important to Climb Mt Kilimanjaro. Water next to oxygen and the most important thing that our body needs.
- Water increases the efficiency of red blood cells in collecting oxygen in the lungs.
- Used to energize and top off the reserves in the cells.
- The main solvent of all the food.
- Essential for the body’s cooling and heating system.
Higher elevation affects the climber in three different ways when it comes to hydration. They are; Loss of water due to dryer Air, Loss of water due to frequent urination, Loss of water through rapid breathing.
Taste Different Food:
The food provided in the Kilimanjaro campsites would be completely different than what you had before. It may taste weird to you and may find it difficult to get adjusted to the food; hence at first, you may not be comfortable intake more of it.
However, the food provided here the best calories, proteins, and vitamin oriented food, so you will get adjusted to it in further days.
Your health and fitness are important for climbing Kilimanjaro, so meals are provided in three courses, three times a day with the best available meals.
There are runners coming up the mountain with fresh food throughout the whole trip so you are provided with quality nutritious meals throughout the whole journey up and down the mountain.
Here are the few foods which will be available while on a Mount Kilimanjaro Challenge;
Mango, Water Melon, Oranges, Pineapple, Bananas, Porridge Oats with Raisins, Scrambled or Fried Eggs, Beef Sausages and Hash Browns, Brown or White Toast Served with a choice of Honey, Jam, Marmalade, and Peanut Butter, Tea, Coffee Hot Chocolate or Milo.
Chicken soup, Mushroom soup, Vegetable Soup served with White or Brown Bread, Sandwich, Tuna Salad with Boiled Eggs, Beef Pie and Coleslaw Salad, Fresh Fruit, Fruit Juice, Tea, Coffee Hot Chocolate or Milo.
Tea, Coffee Hot Chocolate or Milo Served with Biscuits and Popcorn.
Spaghetti Bolognaise, Potato and Egg Salad, Cake and Fresh Fruit. Tea, Coffee Hot Chocolate or Milo.
Pumpkin Soup, Sweet Corn & Sweet Potato Soup, Potato and Leek Soup served with White or Brown Bread, Spicy Fried Chicken and Chapatti Served with Steamed Rice Zucchini and Vegetable Sauce Pancakes and Honey. Tea, Coffee Hot Chocolate or Milo.
Porridge Oats, Brown or White Toast, served with a choice of Honey, Jam, Marmalade, and Peanut Butter, Tea, Coffee Hot Chocolate or Milo. Chocolate Bars to Eat En Route to the Summit.
Prepare for Sleeping Bag and Tent:
Sleeping in the mountain would not be an easy task; you may not be able to get proper sleep and suffer insomnia. The temperature and tent experience will give you a really strange feeling at night and you may not get a good sleep.
But, if you follow the right techniques, camping always gives you the opportunity to experience the unseen and unique. With the right gear and preparation, you can have a sound sleep and appreciate the starry night skies and fresh air.
So, what are the main Sleeping gears required for Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro:
- Sleeping bag: This should be chosen to keep your destination in mind.
- Car Camping Bags: These are wider and offer more roll around the room, it can also be unzipped to be used as a quilt on milder nights.
- Backpacking Bags: These are shaped for a closer and warmer fit and are usually lighter on weight.
- Sleeping Pad: You can any of the three sleeping pads; self-inflating, air, and closed-cell foam.
- Pillows: Bring one from home or use small foam or an inflatable one.
The main things you should follow are, keep your tent clean to keep the unwanted guests away from your tent. You can also use a small bug spray.
Now you have a clear idea of what challenges you will need to face while climbing Kilimanjaro. Hence, you can get prepared for the Mount Kilimanjaro challenge.
We Jerry Tanzania Tours strive hard to make your trip comfortable and successful, with the concern of health, safety, and hygiene.