This July Summit President Scott Kress will lead a climb of Kilimanjaro. Scott has climbed Kilimanjaro two times previously and is keen to return. This climb is part of the Kickstart program at Medcan. This program is designed to kickstart a lifestyle change for those that need it and to promote fitness, healthy nutrition, and leading an active and healthy life.
In Scott’s opinion, Kilimanjaro presents the perfect combination of factors for the novice climber, and this is why it is so popular. The Altitude of Kilimanjaro at 5895m (19,341ft) is high enough that it provides exposure to high altitude and the challenges that accompany this, but it is not so high as to be overly difficult or dangerous. There is no technical climbing involved so novice adventures can do it. The route is physically demanding so that when one makes it to the summit there is a real and justifiable sense of accomplishment and easy enough that most people can do it provided they have put in the training beforehand. And lastly, beyond the dangers of high altitude sickness, there are no real objective hazards on the mountain.
Climbing Kilimanjaro is a study in ecology like few other places on earth. One starts in the low African plains and then as you climb higher you go through multiple eco zones essentially travelling from the plains to an arctic glaciated environment. The topography and the flora and fauna as you trek each day is spectacular and ever changing.
The keys to success on Kilimanjaro, although there is never any guarantee, are fitness and acclimatization.
Most people can acclimatize to the altitude of Kilimanjaro given the appropriate amount of time. Time is what your body needs to make the necessary physiological adjustments to the lower levels of available oxygen and the decrease in pressure. There are guiding companies offering 4 and 5-day climbs and I have a friend that did it in 48 hours, but for most people, this would be asking for trouble. A 7-8 day trip is best for most people. This relaxed pace allows the body to adjust slowly and thus not revolt against a sudden change in altitude.
Fitness is relative for each person, but plan to be in the best shape of your life. You may not need this level of conditioning, but it is great to set as a goal and the better shape you are in the more you will enjoy the climb. Fitness does not influence how your body adapts to altitude, but it is pretty much a prerequisite for success.
All in all, Kilimanjaro is a great experience. Prepare for it to be busy with other aspiring adventurers and pack your patience as some sections of the trail may become congested.
If you are interested to join Scott on this climb please contact him through this website.