|When to go|
|Kilimanjaro Climb – Suggested Equipment for Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro|
There are no mountaineering or outdoor outfitters in Tanzania, so when preparing for a trek in the country, keep in mind that you’ll need to bring most of your own gear. Sleeping bags, good hiking boots, many layers, and waterproof outer clothing is essential for keeping warm and comfortable at high altitudes.
Bring a few refillable plastic water bottles and a good day pack as well — although porters will carry the heavier equipment, you’ll want to have a few things easily available throughout the day. Although a comprehensive packing list of essentials difficult to find in the country is listed in ‘What to Bring,’ here’s the trekker’s list with special emphasis on what you’ll need when on a climb:
a lightweight camera that you can carry easily and access from your day-pack, with plenty of film
a lightweight and versatile day-pack to carry water, camera, and important documents
a durable refillable water bottle that you can easily access from your day pack
good insect repellent in a no-spill container
high SPF waterproof sunscreen
a bandana or small hat to keep off the sun
sunglasses with a good cord
a photocopy of your passport, important phone numbers, credit cards, driver’s license, medical insurance, tickets, and contact number of who to phone in case of an emergency
good-quality, durable hiking boots, waterproof if possible, but definitely water-resistant
good hiking socks
waterproof outerwear fleeces and plenty of warmer layers that you can easily take on and take off during the climb
a scarf, hat, and gloves for final night climbs
a lightweight flashlight with extra batteries
a low-temperature sleeping bag
a pair of lightweight sandals or flip-flops for wearing once you’ve made it to camp
a bathing suit for swimming in rivers and waterfalls
a basic first aid kit of plasters, calamine lotion, ibuprofen, a non-mercury thermometer, Imodium or other antidiahoreals, a good-quality lip balm, a sealed syringe in case of medical emergencies, anti malarial prophylactics, high-altitude drugs, and any prescription medication you are taking.
For climbers on Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Kilimanjaro Guides Co-operative Society runs a small shop inside the Marangu Gate of the national park, where visitors can pick up a few things before they start their climb. Be forewarned, however, that although items are usually available for a price, their stock and prices fluctuate, and it is far better to arrive prepared. Suggested Climb Preparation for Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
Climbing Kilimanjaro is usually a “once in a lifetime” experience for most people, so is vital that proper preparations are made beforehand. With superior information and sufficient time to prepare, you stand an extremely good chance of reaching the summit.
January, February and March have the best weather, being warm and almost devoid of cloud.
April through to mid June is still warm but there may be some rainfall on the lower slopes and bands of cloud may reduce visibility around the forest area.
Late June, July and August can become very cold at night but in return, the sky is usually completely clear above 3,000m.
September to October is perhaps the best months to plan a climb for this next year with steadily increasing temperatures with low rainfall.
November and December are for the more adventurous climbers. Thunderstorms are possible in the afternoon and there can be heavy snow showers towards the summit but night and early morning bring excellent visibility.
Although the majority of routes leading to the summit of Kilimanjaro require no technical climbing skills, some kind of training beforehand is important. It is important to remember that you will be hiking on surfaces with varying angles which may put lots of stress on your ankles and knees.
It is also worth remembering that most of the injuries which occur on Kilimanjaro happen on the way down. When climbing Kilimanjaro, take a slow pace to allow your body to acclimatize to the altitude, as at 4000 meters, you only have 60% of the oxygen you would normally have at sea-level.
To climb Kilimanjaro:
– You need to be in decent physical condition.
– You must not have heart or lung problems.
– You need healthy knees and ankles.
– Take your time and know your physical limitations.
Consult your personal physician if:
– You are taking any kind of medication.
– You have any other health problems.
If you plan to take any medication during your climb, you must consult your doctor prior to departure. The effects of medications may vary with altitude and stress.
All climbers should consult their doctor or a specialized travel clinic well in advance of their trip.
Although Kilimanjaro is not a technical mountain climb, it is a major challenge and the rigors of altitude should not be underestimated. Remember that Uhuru Peak is 500m higher than Everest Base Camp! The pace of your ascent coupled with good acclimatization will help you on the climb but it is essential to be mentally and physically prepared before you start. Regular hikes are one of the best ways to prepare, increasing frequency and length as you get closer to the trek.
All aerobic exercises such as; cycling, running, swimming and funnily enough aerobics are good for strengthening the cardiovascular system. Generally, any exercise that increases the heart rate for 20 minutes is helpful but don’t overdo it just before the climb.
Any climber who suffers from any cardiac or pulmonary problems should be cautious and should not attempt to climb the mountain unless they have consulted their physician. It is strongly recommended that a physical fitness program is followed to prepare you physically for the mountain.
The following three steps are a guide to achieving acclimatization:
Water : A fluid intake of 4 – 5 liters per day is recommended. Fluid intake improves circulation and most other bodily functions, but does not increase fluid leakage from the body. Thirst should not be an indicator of proper fluid intake; if your urine is clear then you are drinking enough.
On the lower slopes, bottled mineral water will be provided but on the higher slopes drinking water is taken from mountain streams. The water is double-pumped and iodine is added for purification (Good enough to drink but you may wish to add extra purification tablets).
Slow Walk: Pace is a critical factor on all routes. Unless there is a very steep uphill section your breathing rate should be the same as if you were walking down the street. If you cannot hold a conversation you are walking too fast. Breathing through the nose for the first 2 days of the climb will limit the pace. Walk “softly” allowing your knees to gently cushion each pace. “Pole pole” (go slowly) is the phrase of the day.
Walk high sleep low: If you have enough energy, take an afternoon stroll further up the mountain before descending to sleep (not if you have any symptoms of altitude sickness!)
Almost all routes offer an extra day for acclimatization. Taking this day increases your chances of getting to the top by 30% and increases you chances of actually getting some enjoyment out of the experience by much more than that. An extra day is a considerable expense, but Bobby Tours’ recommends that all climbers take this option.
Some climbers take Diamox, which is widely used to combat the effects of mild altitude sickness by causing the body to breathe more deeply during sleep. This is of course a personal preference.
On the climb, guides carry all basic medications but it is recommended that all climbers should take a small, personal first aid kit.
Personal First Aid Kit:
– Painkillers (aspirin/paracetamol – aspirin is recommended as it thins the blood helping prevent blood clots – strong painkillers should not be taken as they may mask the symptoms of altitude sickness)
– Blister treatment
– Imodium or other anti-Diarrhea tablets
– Plasters/Band Aids
– Antiseptic wipes
– Dressings, especially pressure relief for blisters
– Talcum Powder
– Malaria tablets
– Sun block for skin & lips (Factor 15+)
– Knee supports etc.
– Lemsip or other cold cure sachets
– Oral rehydration salts/sachets
– Insect repellent containing DEET
– Sanitary Towels or similar
Other health tips:
Ladies please note that altitude may affect the menstrual cycle.
All contact lens wearers should take care to remove the lenses at night as the eye needs to absorb oxygen from the atmosphere. The rarefied conditions of altitude reduce oxygen levels and in extreme cases a Corneal Oedema can develop.
In the event of an emergency on the mountain the rescue team plus one of the assistant guides will descend with the casualty to the park gate. At the gate, Bobby Tours And Safaris will take over and make the necessary arrangements
Bobby Tours Mountain climbing department has a vast experience in leading hikers and climbers to the summit of Kilimanjaro. Our experienced mountain guides have a proud summit success rate averaging between 96% – 98% and have safely guided over 10000 clients to the top of the mountain.
This section aims to provide the potential Mount Kilimanjaro climber with valuable and accurate information on climbing Kilimanjaro, which will hopefully contribute towards increasing your chances of a successful summit attempt.
Below, we have complied this information, after years of experience as well as from feedback from previous climbers.
the following pages gives you more information on factors such as WHEN TO GO, HEALTH
REQUIREMENTS…. Read more
be properly equipped
An essential part of your preparation will be to ensure that you are well equipped for your summit attempt. Print our suggested final checklist and mark it off, to ensure that you are. Please check our : Suggested Checklist page, for all the necessary equipment you might need.
Be physically prepared
It is important that your body is adequately prepared for the physical challenges of Mount Kilimanjaro.
It is possible to summit Kilimanjaro successfully. Many before you have succeeded. This should be topmost in your mind when preparing for the summit attempt. You should always remain in a positive state of mind, but not overly arrogant. Try to anticipate various different scenarios, which you may possibly encounter on the mountain and try to work out the most suitable course of action, mentally by yourself or even as a group.
Your mental stamina will, without a doubt, make the really difficult sections, like from Kibo to Uhuru or from Barafu to Uhuru, easier to complete. Remember if you are properly equipped, you have taken everything as indicated on the final checklist, you are physically prepared and have all the knowledge gained from this section – you will be mentally confident for the physical part of Kilimanjaro..
Adequate travel insurance
Make sure that you have adequate travel and medical insurance, which will also provide you with cover for the climb up Kilimanjaro.
Drink enough water
Make sure that you drink at least 3 – 4 liters of liquid a day – preferably water. For both the Marangu and Machame routes, it is possible to buy mineral water at all the huts and camps. Although a little bit more expensive on the mountain, this is probably the most convenient option – we are however at this stage, not to sure how reliable the supply lines are. For your first day it is recommended that you take along fresh water which is purchased before your climb.
The stream water high on the mountain Kilimanjaro has been tested and has been found to be fit for drinking. However, if you would like to be on the safe-side, use water purification tablets or ask your guide to boil the water for you. This can be done in the evening. You can fill your flasks in the morning, ready for the next part of the climb.
If you are not used to fresh water in nature, prevent any inconvenience by using water purification tablets. REMEMBER! A functioning “body water balance” is one of the keys to a successful climb!
Walk high – sleep low
If possible and especially on your acclimatization day “walk high – sleep low” Try to do a short evening stroll to a higher altitude and then descend to sleep at the camp at a lower altitude. This is essential on your acclimatization day.
Climb as lightly as possible, this becomes even more important on your summit night.
Remember that you will be on the mountain for at least 5 or 6 days. You need to take enough clothing, especially socks to last for this period. Due to frequent rainfall as well as numerous streams on the routes, it is advisable to pack items individually in your bag. These individually packed items should be wrapped in plastic bags to prevent them from getting wet in case of rain or of being accidentally dropped in a stream.
the hardest part in planning a trip to a location that you know nothing about is deciding what equipment to bring, and also what not to bring. The following pages will give you more information on factors such as CLOTHING, EQUIPMENT, FIRST AID, OTHER ITEMS, TIPS & TRICKS … Read more
Go POLE POLE
Go slowly – “Pole Pole” as they say in Swahili! This is also very important during your first days of climbing. Even if you feel well, slow down and enjoy the scenery.
replace your head lamp and camera batteries with new ones on your summit night.
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
AMS commonly affects people at high altitude, who are not accustomed to high altitude conditions. AMS can be lethal if not treated immediately or if its symptoms are ignored. Probably 70% of all people climbing Kilimanjaro will suffer to some extent from AMS. You should familiarize yourself with this condition and take preventative care. Click Altitude Sickness for more information on this medical condition.
there is no washing water at Kibo and Arrow Glacier camps. Wet Wipes are very useful.
Take enough snacks like energy bars etc.
Adequate sun protection
Wear a good quality pair of sunglasses (with UV protection) and use adequate sun protection cream with a protection factor of at least 20+
Use a thermal flask for your water on the summit night, other water bottles might freeze solid.
Taking pictures with a fully automatic camera at the summit of Kilimanjaro is possible, and most people do this. The secret is to always have a new battery in your camera when going into cold areas at high altitude. A mechanical camera works just as well, provided you have the knowledge to operate it successfully.
Cameras exposed to cold do not cease functioning, but remember, that if you keep your camera inside your jacket and the lens becomes warm, chances are that it will form condensation when suddenly exposed to extreme cold. This condensation will freeze under conditions at the summit. Therefore, keep your camera dry at all times. Moisture will freeze at the summit which WILL cause your camera to stop functioning.
One of the important prerequisites of a successful summit attempt is being properly equipped.
Ensure that you are well equipped – read and print our Suggested Checklist below and mark it off, it will be an essential part of your preparation for the climb.
Altitudes are generally defined as…
High altitude 2,400m – 4,200m
Very high altitude 4,200m – 5,400m
Extreme altitude above 5,400m (Uhuru Peak is 5895m)
During the trek it is likely that all climbers will experience at least some form of mild altitude sickness. It is caused by the failure of the body to adapt quickly enough to the reduced level of oxygen in the air at an increased altitude.
There are many different symptoms but the most common are headaches, light headedness, nausea, loss of appetite, tingling in the extremities (toes, fingers) and a mild swelling of the face, ankles and fingers. These symptoms in a mild form are not serious and will normally disappear within 48 hours, the result of poor circulation or a small leakage of fluid within the body. In serious cases, the leakage can become large and start to fill up the brain cavity (Cerebral Oedema) or the lung cavity (Pulmonary Oedema).
Cerebral Oedema is recognized by severe headaches, loss of balance and dizziness leading to coma. Pulmonary Oedema results in the coughing up of pink sputum. Both conditions, if left unchecked, will lead to coma and death unless a rapid descent is made.
Six factors that affect the incidence and severity of altitude illness:
1. Rate of ascent.
2. Altitude attained.
3. Length of exposure.
4. Level of exertion.
5. Hydration and diet.
6. Inherent physiological susceptibility.
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) :
The illnesses are commonly encountered at exceptional high altitudes, such as the summit area of Mount Kilimanjaro. Once apparent, can be most effectively treated by immediately taking the affected person to a lower altitude.
The symptoms of AMS include in the order normally experienced; headaches, nausea, anorexia, exhaustion, lassitude, rapid pulse, insomnia, swelling of the hands and feet and reduced urine output. Climbers can take precautions to at least minimize the severity of the illness, by maintaining a slow steady pace from day one, include an extra day of acclimatization at a high altitude and by drinking at least 3-4 liters of water every day.
Preventative medicine is also available and you should consult your physician for specialist advice.
Fluid build-up may cause a condition known as edema, which can affect the lungs (pulmonary), preventing effective oxygen exchange, or affect the brain (cerebral) which will result in the swelling of the brain tissue. The latter can be lethal if not treated immediately or if symptoms are ignored.
Probably 70% of all people climbing Kilimanjaro will suffer to some extent from AMS. You should familiarize yourself with this condition and take preventative care.
Hypothermia or exposure is the lowering of the body’s core temperature. Once again prevention is the best cause of action. The correct equipment and clothing is critical in the prevention of Hypothermia. Do not allow your clothing to get wet from either rain or perspiration.
Please visit our Suggested Clothing Sections, for more information on the proper layering of clothing to prevent hypothermia.
Sun related injuries:
About 55% of the earth’s protective atmosphere is below an altitude of 5000m. Far less ultraviolet light is being filtered out, making the sun’s rays much more powerful, which could result in severe sun burning of the skin. It is strongly recommended to use a 20+ sun protection cream at lower altitudes, and a total block cream above an altitude of 3000m. It is also important to wear dark sun glasses preferably with side panels above 4000m in daytime and essential when walking through snow or ice.
The guides and porters are the masters of the mountain
once on the Mountain, your well equipped guides and porters, will rank second, only to your mental determination, in terms of important factors contributing to a successful summit attempt.
For the duration of your Kilimanjaro trek, your guide will be your advisor, he will lead you to the summit, and he will bring down safely again. It will be important that you work closely with him and take note of his advice.
The guide recruits the porters and trains up a team which he himself will lead. Just before moving off, he spreads the loads between them not more than 15kgs. for each porter. He accompanies the climbers during the entire trek and can generally answer any questions about plans and wildlife. On the camp group, guide and porters make the camping arrangements and prepare meals. Their day’s work begins before the climbers wake up and ends late with lengthy conversations and card games long into the night.
Not to bring.
Good equipment is vital to a safe and enjoyable climb. Sure, in superb weather conditions you could climb the mountain in a pair of old trainers, your oldest pair of long trousers and with a couple of sweaters thrown in you will only suffer badly during the last night of the ascent. However, let the weather change for the worse, a couple of hours driving rain soon after setting off from the Horombo area, and you could be dead from hypothermia very rapidly.
Qualified and experienced guides
All Bobby treks up the mountain are lead by highly trained and qualified guides, registered with the Kilimanjaro National Parks Board. Each of our guides have been selected over years, based on experience, safety record and through feedback from previous clients.
Support staff ratios
the average ratio of our support staff to climbers is 2 porters per climber, a cook and one guide for a maximum of 4 climbers. This excellent staff to client’s ratio, bolstered by our superior support equipment, will ensure your safety and enjoyment on the mountain.
Porters and cook
the porters do not only transport your gear and the supplies up and down the mountain. Arriving at every mountain hut or camp site long before you, they will have already erected your tent on your arrival. In the evening they will also boil drinking and washing water and the cook will prepare dinner of a quality that has surprised many previous clients.
Weight limits for porters
Remember that there is a weight limit of 15 kg (30 lbs) per climber, on the gear of each climber to be portaged. A soft duffel bag (barrel type) is preferred – a rucksack is not necessary as they prefer to porter the loads balanced on their heads and shoulders.
All climbs include a team of mountain guides, cooks and porters, typically …
2 climbers : 1 guide, 1 assistant guide, 2 porters and 1 cook
3 climbers : 1 guide, 1 assistant guide, 4 porters and 1 cook
5 climbers : 1 guide, 2 assistant guide, 6 porters and 1 cook
The higher the specification, the greater the staff to climber ratio.
Even with porters, it is recommended that each member of the party carry a light weight day pack containing at the very least a waterproof jacket, nibbles to eat on the walk, a 1 liter bottle of water and a warm pullover to put on at rest stops. Plus of course camera and valuables.
The Price difference you will notice between all the different Kilimanjaro operators in Tanzania are very often due to the differences in the way companies treat and pay their porters and guides during your journey. At Bobby Tours, we have been leading the way for many years in terms of fair treatment and responsible tourism.
We have been KPAP members and as such, we respect the rules. Whereas the average salaries paid to porters by the tourism outfitters in Tanzania is 6220 TSH/day, we actually pay them a daily salary of 10 000 Tsh, and we pay them directly on their return at Mweka by one of our office workers. Each porter must show his porter’s card and signs a list when he receives his pay.
Tips for Porters
During the briefing, we give each client a tipping sheet prepared by KPAP and we ask that they use it to spread the tips equally and openly across the whole team. It is up to our clients to follow this sheet or not.
Even though they are not permanently employed by Bobby Tours, we have our team of faithful porters. For each climb, we send out a list of porters that the guides must follow. This procedure ensures that the porters cannot bribe the guides to be hired.
This practice is unfortunately still taking place with other guides and companies. Porters are not authorized to begin the climb unless they are properly equipped for Mountain climbing.
The guides are responsible for performing this check. For information, the city of Moshi has a very large second hand clothes market. This allows the porters to equip themselves against the cold with mountain clothing at very low prices.
Further details about our porters Working Conditions
Rate of pay varies with the route you take to go up the mountain, we would suggest that you evaluate the tipping not only by how efficiently the porters carry your own equipment but also for services rendered, such as getting you a better place in the huts and how good the food was etc plus of course whether or not your guide has been / is generally informative about the mountain in all its aspects.
For those climbers on the non tourist routes, the tip is also assessed on how much they assisted in the collection of firewood and water, clearing up the campsites or huts etc.
The tip amounts indicated below are given purely as a guideline, and it may be paid as in a group :
Marangu Route :
Machame Route and others:
Mount Kilimanjaro Climb – Suggested Equipment for Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
The hardest part in planning a trip to a location that you know nothing about is deciding what equipment to bring, and also what not to bring.
Good equipment is vital to a safe and enjoyable climb. Sure, in superb weather conditions you could climb the mountain in a pair of old trainers, your oldest pair of long trousers and with a couple of sweaters thrown in you will only suffer badly during the last night of the ascent.
However, let the weather change for the worse, a couple of hours driving rain soon after setting off from the Horombo area, and you could be dead from hypothermia very rapidly.
SUGGESTED LOWER MONTANE FOREST CLOTHING:
Starting out, you will be in synthetic or fleece shorts, a polyester T-Shirt, sock liners with synthetic would hiking / trekking socks, and heavy-duty hiking boots.
SUGGESTED UPPER MONTANE FOREST CLOTHING:
Rain is common, so Gore-Tex jacket and pants are required. A cape is needed to protect the head from the sun. Sun block and lip balm are musts – as are bug repellent, water bottles and a water purifier.
SUGGESTED HEATH AND MOORLAND CLOTHING:
A polypro long underwear top and bottom beneath shorts and a T-Shirt is recommended.
As a suggestion during the trek, a fleece vest or jacket must be kept at ready pauses during the climb. Gaiters are essential through the wet, knee-high grasses at this elevation.
SUGGESTED ALPINE DESERT CLOTHING:
Fleece pants will warm you during the windy nights, which follow the summer-ice days at this zone. A warm sleeping bag will keep you warm for those few hours you get to sleep before making an attempt at the top.
SUGGESTED SUMMIT CLOTHING:
Polypro long, a fleece middle, and Gore-Tez outer.
A balaclava and warm hat will protect the head and line gloves, wind stopper gloves and over mitts protect your hands.
Because the summit attempt day begins at around midnight or 1:0 a.m., you will need a headlamp.
Glacier glasses will keep you from snow blindness when you reach those snows of Mount Kilimanjaro.
As you can see above, because you move from the Africa jungle to arctic tundra in a matter of days, you need many different types of clothing.
You go from dressing in shorts and T-Shirts that are wringing wet with sweat to a layering system topped off by Gore-Tex to endure winds that push the chilly air well below zero degrees.
You will require the correct underwear, thermal hiking socks, gloves (preferably mittens), warm head protection, rain coat, sunglasses and sun protection cream. Also remember your hiking boots, hiking/running shoes (it is not necessary to walk with boots or climbers shoes until the last sections where scree and rocks are encountered), and very importantly, a walking stick / ski-pole. One of the most critical items of clothing is an outer jacket.
You want it to perform the functions of keeping you warm, protect you at temperatures of as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius, keep the wind out and yet still “breath”. Try to avoid tight fitting clothing or underwear. This will hamper circulation, causing either cold or discomfort on the mountain. A balaclava will protect your face against cold, wind, sun and snow. Other clothing like shorts, sweaters and T-shirts are strongly recommended, especially during hiking on the lower slopes, when the day temperatures are still high.
The only way to ensure that you are dressed warmly is to follow the principal of wearing the correct clothing layers, starting from against the body. A common mistake made by climbers is to wear almost everything they have and to start off with cotton against the skin. Cotton absorbs moisture perfectly, and moisture trapped against the skin will result in a definite lowering of the body temperature, which could even lead to hypothermia.
It is therefore very important to use proper thermal underwear with “wicking” properties (a fabric which has the ability to draw moisture away from the body) and thus enabling it to evaporate to the outside. The middle layer should provide the insulation and a product like polar fleece will be adequate in this regard. The outer layer should be windproof, waterproof and breathable. Products like Ventex, Gore-Tex or Jeantex offer these properties. Short of altitude and physical exertion, cold is one of the most serious obstacles when attempting to summit Kilimanjaro.
FOR THE HEAD:
The higher you ascend the more the sun’s rays burn. Something that shades your eyes is best.
…or ski mask made from some type of insulated material with just an opening for your eyes and nose. You will need it for the final ascent.
A good pair, necessary for both the desert area and for snow blindness at the summit.
FOR THE UPPER BODY:
take one for every day you intend to be on the mountain, and one more, just in case.
Polo neck long sleeves loose is best, as the thin layers trap air which insulates you. Also bring at least one woolen or fleece jumper.
As good as you can afford. There are many insulated materials that are good, Polertex, Gortex/Ventex. Get one that can pack easily with big pockets and a covered zip area. Waterproof is good but not essential. All these features will be appreciated at 4am when you are climbing to the summit 🙂
Simple lightweight rain suit for the rain forest and in case it snows later on. The waterproof leggings will also shield your legs from the wind at the summit.
As waterproof and as windproof as possible. Ski gloves are good.
FOR THE LOWER BODY:
A change for every day. Even though it’s cold you’ll still sweat which makes climbing uncomfortable.
A pair of long-johns. If you can’t find any, a pair of elastic leggings does the same thing – nobody’s going to see them 🙂
Light jogging shorts are necessary for the first days.
Trousers or track-suit pants – anything except jeans. Jeans hold the cold close to your body and give off heat very quickly. Also, if they get wet, they are very slow to dry.
bring a good pair of rain pants of Gore-Tex or other waterproof material. Try to get a pair that are wind-proof too.
FOR THE FEET:
Two pairs of light socks for each day you intend to climb. Also bring a couple of pairs of woolen socks for climbing the final stage.
probably one of the most important piece of equipment you could bring. The boots you wear shouldn’t be underestimated – a radio operator on a non-technical climb with us was killed in a fall, partly due to the fact that he wasn’t wearing suitable clothing and boots. The boots should be leather, insulated, and of good quality. Anything other than leather and your feet will freeze. Choose a good brand, and make sure they are well broken in before the climb.
Runners / Trainers
Optional. These are to wear in camp after a day of hiking.
Poor fitting, new or little used boots will result in blistering feet. Even if boots are only slightly to small, your toes will get bruised, particularly on your descend. It is it therefore also important to keep your toe nails short for the climb. Developing blister should be treated immediately as soon as the “hot spot” is felt. Remove the boot and cover the area with a zinc oxide tape or something similar
About 40 – 60 liter capacity. Get a rucksack with lots of side pockets for storing raingear, torch, water, camera etc. The rucksack should be frameless, with strong, comfortable padded straps, both at the shoulders and at the waist. Otherwise the rucksack will literally cut two grooves in your shoulders.
again, get as good a sleeping bag as you can afford – it gets extremely cold on the mountain at night. Try to get a three/four season bag, preferably light and compact.
Camping Gas and Cooking Equipment
A small lightweight gas stove and one or two camping saucepans should be enough for the climb.
Important – You aren’t allowed to bring compressed gas on the aero plane, and the only camping gas available in Tanzania and Kenya is the small “bluegaz” cylinders which the stove pierces – not the screw-on type. I didn’t know this and had to buy a new stove when I got there.
A head torch is vital as you will need both hands to climb with for the final 1000 meters. Bring a couple of sets of batteries for final ascent. Keep the batteries warm, the cold will kill them.
Definitely necessary. Get a telescopic aluminum one or even two. It helps a lot to use your arms as well as your legs. They can be rented for about $12 at the base of the mountain.
High factor essential. Don’t forget it start putting it on from the start and don’t stop.
Get insulated bottles as the water freezes at higher altitude. Drink at least 4 liters of water per day to prevent dehydration.
Swiss Army Knife
Every mountaineer should have one. Get a knife with a few good features, i.e. tin opener, bottle opener, sharp blade, scissors, etc. It saves on packing individual items.
You can use US dollars pretty much everywhere, but exchange about $30 into Tanzanian shillings for small items such as soft drinks etc. Take small notes, lots of $1 bills are useful.
Take a waist belt, the small flat type that can fit inconspicuously under your clothes. Put your money and passport in it and keep it on all the time. Things have been known to go missing at the camps.
These bags are very useful for holding loose items.
Matches and Lighter
you’ll need these to light your gas stove….
Bring a good, light camera. People will tell you that the shutters freeze on good cameras at the top. They are wrong – it’s the batteries that freeze. Buy Lithium, not alkaline batteries and you should be ok. Bring a couple of spare sets and store them in your clothes close to your body so that your body heat will keep them warm. Bring a camera that’s easy to use so that someone else can take your picture at the top without messing it up.
It’s an important photo and you can’t expect someone else to focus it at 5895 meters and get it right. Because of the high altitude bring a polarizing filter and a UV filter. Take plenty of film – ASA 200 film is good for taking shots with relatively little light.
A first aid kit should be brought on any climb. Specialized compact kits are available, but if you don’t have one, the following medical items should be brought.
Bandages of all shapes and sizes
Scissors – always handy for cutting bandages, gauze, etc.
Antiseptic Cream – for cuts and grazes.
Headache Tablets – lots of them 🙂 Be careful that they don’t have any nasty side effects though; dizzy spells at the edge of a 100m drop are generally not good.
Altitude Sickness Tablets – Diamox tablets to be taken twice a day from 13,000 feet to the top. This drug is widely used in high altitude mountaineering. I couldn’t get any and I suffered because of it. Thanks to the group of Swedish climbers who gave us some of theirs.
Please note that this is a basic first aid kit. I’m not trying to say that these are the only items you should bring, but they are a basis to which you can add more items as you see fit.
for when nature calls…Be warned – toilets usually consist of a tank buried in the ground.
don’t leave rubbish on the mountain. Pack it up and take it down with you. Also good for separating wet and dry clothing.
Pen and Notepad
Useful for taking notes on the climb. Take a felt tip pen so the ink won’t freeze.
the medical facilities are not too good in Tanzania. Take out a fly out insurance in case of an accident.
every day you will need to change. try to pack in a way that you can get to the next day’s kit easily.
The stream water high on the mountain has been tested and has been found to be fit for drinking. However, if you would like to be on the safe-side, use water purification tablets or boil drinking water in the evenings.
Eat as much as you can as you lose your appetite as you ascend. Drink lots of water, 4 liters a day – do not dehydrate.
keep all spare batteries close to your body so they don’t freeze