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Author Topic: Kilimanjaro - How much training would be required?  (Read 19547 times)
dazzlinyou
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« on: September 18, 2008, 10:50:03 am »

Hello,

I know this is a similar question to Maxwell's but I am a first-timer about to book for Kilimanjaro but I'm concerned about the route.  This charity event is 6 months away and the chosen route is the Machame one (100km).  The schedule is:

DAY 2: Arrive Kilimanjaro; transfer to Moshi town
DAY 3: Trek through dense jungle to Machame camp, 3100m
DAY 4: Through forest to Shira Plateau; on to camp at Shira caves, 3840m
DAY 5: Trek high moorland (4800m) via Lava Tower to Barranco Hut (3900m)
DAY 6: Into Great Barranco ravine; trek via Karanga valley over scree to camp (4600m)
DAY 7: Steep trek to summit glaciers, including Uhuru Peak (5896m); begin descent
DAY 8: Descend through rainforest and finish in Moshi for a large celebration


I've done Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike twice each and Snowdon once in the last year, but I would like to know if people think I should look for another charity that offers an alternative route and more time on Kili?

Many thanks!
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Jacquetta
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« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2008, 08:56:04 pm »

Hello there

The itinerary you list is basically 6 days on the mountain: days 3-6 are ascent, including from midnight day 6/7, with 1.5 days of descent.  This is what people used to think of as standard, but for an unacclimatised lowlander it's challenging.  If your money isn't committed to this itinerary, I'd suggest switching to something more gradual: every extra day you can spend on the mountain is giving yourself a better chance of staying well and enjoying the summit experience.

If you are already committed, however, take comfort in the fact that a much older, much less fit person (i.e. me) has summited twice by Machame (in 2000 and 2008).  However, the other two times I summited (by less strenuous routes) I had no altitude symptoms whatsoever, whereas on Machame I had AMS both times: moderately severe in 2000, only mild in 2008, but well worth avoiding if you can.  On both occasions it was on the descent into Barranco (from 4600 m to 3950 m), and I was really frustrated to find myself ill again in the exact same spot, 8 years later!  However, both times I had recovered by next morning and went on to summit via Barafu Camp (your 4600 m camp).  So don't assume that a bout of AMS means the end of your trip.

However, and this bit is relevant to your decision, I was a lot less ill this year (aged 60, no physical training unless you count extending the daily dog walk) than in 2000 (when fitter, younger and much better prepared) and think this was because the itinerary was a day longer.  Over-exertion is a known risk factor in altitude sickness.  So if you have the option to give yourself longer, please do.  In relation to the overall cost of a Kili trip, the marginal cost of an extra day is a small price to pay for increased prospect of success and enjoyment.  In a perfect world, the ideal pre-training is to climb Mount Meru, which I did in 2004 pre-Rongai, and it pre-empted any altitude symptoms whatsoever.
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Jacquetta Megarry, publisher of Rucksack Readers and forum moderator
dazzlinyou
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« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2008, 09:18:06 pm »

Jacquetta, thanks very much for the sound advice.


I haven't committed yet, so there's no problem.  It's just frustrating that this tour group don't allow that extra day, because the price seems really competitive (£1,700) and the Machame route quite appealing. 
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Jacquetta
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« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2008, 09:34:14 pm »

Machame is a great route, no question.  But given the kind of money you are talking about, 7 days is a much better investment than 6.  There are groups leaving to do Machame from Moshi every day of the year, literally, on either 6- or 7-day itineraries.    And you can support your preferred charity from any route, any date.  So don't be pressurised into an itinerary unless it's right for you!
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Jacquetta Megarry, publisher of Rucksack Readers and forum moderator
dazzlinyou
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« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2008, 09:49:34 pm »

To be honest the charity was just added motivation and another reason to go.  I suppose I also like the idea of travelling out from the UK and already being in a group before arriving in Moshi.  But you are correct - 7 days is more sensible and realistic!

Is this route only for super-fit people from the outset, or with a good training programme is it achievable?  I'm sure you are very fit, maybe older than me, but still fitter.
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