If you are planning to climb Kilimanjaro, read on for some ideas 🙂
I’ve been wanting to climb Mt Kilimanjaro for several years now. But I am not one to follow the crowds and do-what-everyone-else-is-doing.
So I decided that making a summit bid on Christmas Day is; a, one way of experiencing my first White Christmas and b; celebrating Christmas at 19,341 feet with -21 degree Celsius temperatures, in an environment where humans cannot exist for no longer than 40 minutes before succumbing to the effects of altitude sickness.
Yup… the longest most people can handle at the very top of Kilimanjaro is 20 to 40 minutes, so I’m told!
I just can’t think of a better way to spend Christmas 🙂
To thicken the plot, my plan is to carry a small Christmas tree with me and erect it at the summit — coining it the highest Christmas tree on earth.
I wonder if I can make such claim? Ha ha.
Pondering And Posturing
Originally, I intended to climb Kilimanjaro on Christmas of 2016. I delayed it because I decided to prepare for a fitness model competition in March of 2017.
Even though I had taken the time off work from the 18th of December 2017 until the 13th of January 2018, I was still pondering whether I really needed to climb Kilimanjaro!
At the end of the day, it costs $2,995 USD for the trek with Ultimate Kilimanjaro plus flights from Melbourne to Kilimanjaro Airport — adding an additional $1,740 USD to the cost. Not to mention the cost of training in an altitude chamber and any additional equipment I need to buy.
This brings the total trip cost to about ($2,995 + $1,740 =) $4,735 USD (plus perhaps $1000 USD for additional expenses.) Gahhhhh!!!!!
And because I am keen on quitting my corporate job within the next 6 months or so, the last thing I need to be doing is spending thousands on treks and adventures such as Kilimanjaro.
Then I reconsidered…
After putting alot of thought into how I wish to create my ultimate legacy in this life. After watching YouTube videos by Mike Corey and becoming inspired by his vlogging style. And as of the 25th of August 2017, achieving a daily vlog on my own YouTube channel for 365 days and thinking about the future direction of my own channel.
I had decided that I want to continue video blogging!!!! I absolutely love it. I am passionate about it. And by embarking on a Mt Kilimanjaro adventure will allow me to create more content that I can use to build out my video blog!
Therefore, I have decided to remain in my corporate job just a little bit longer. Document the hell out of my Kilimanjaro adventure. And add adventures to Kilimanjaro such as scuba diving in Zanzibar and Madagascar.
Why Climb Kilimanjaro?
One of my ultimate goals in life is to summit Mt Everest. I perceive a Mt Kilimanjaro summit as an awesome “introduction” to my grand plan to climb the highest mountain in the world.
Also, I love the idea that I could fail to summit the mountain! It’s a weird mindset, I know. The idea that less than half of all climbers successfully summit Kilimanjaro — with a number of reported deaths every year — is somewhat morbidly appealing to me.
If there were a 100% summit success rate with zero deaths — the climb wouldn’t have the same appeal to me and I probably wouldn’t be interested.
This might explain why I decided to go cave diving in Mexico with only 11 total dives (and almost dying!) Any adventure where the risk is high has the greatest appeal to me. I know… I know… it’s not how most people think!
What Route Am I Taking?
There are 7 possible routes you can choose from to get to the top of Kilimanjaro. There are pros and cons to each route.
Here’s a map of the possible routines.
I’ve decided to do the Lemosho route (elevation profile pictured below) with the trekking company Ultimate Kilimanjaro. I chose Lemosho because I wanted a trek that would allow for a Christmas Day summit, offer incredible scenery, and also increase my chances of a successful summit.
It’s an 8 day trek.
Sure, I could save a few hundred dollars by choosing a route with less days (5–6–7 days) but it wouldn’t be as enjoyable.
Forcing the body to acclimatize in less time could mean climbing with more severe headaches and nauseousness than what is necessary. The longer you allow your body to acclimatize to the severe altitude, the more enjoyable the climb and the greater your chance of summit success.
Summit Success Rates
The amount of time it takes to complete the Mt Kilimanjaro climb varies between five to nine days. Apparently less than half of climbers successfully summit due to succumbing to the effects of altitude sickness.
It’s not the technical difficulty that causes people to fail a summit attempt. Rather, the symptoms they experience from failing to adjust to altitude.
Here are the 11 year old stats by the Kilimanjaro National Park (2006):
All climbers, all routes 45%
All climbers, all 5 day routes 27%
All climbers, all 6 day routes 44%
All climbers, all 7 days routes 64%
All climbers, all 8 day routes 85%
All climbers, all 9 day routes (no data)
Which is one major reason I have chosen the longer route. As I mentioned, the chance of failing really appeals to me!
Where To From Now?
I am pumped!!!
As of the 25th of August 2017, I’ve sent off my booking form to pay my 30% deposit. Once it is received and paid, I will book my flights as below.
It’s alot of hours flying and alot of connections! Needless to say, I’ll be getting through alot of audio books on those flights. Note: That price is AUD.
I will also be flying directly into Kilimanjaro airport and then driven to Moshi which is considered the “home base” for the trek where I will spend the first night (before the trek commences)
I will start altitude training in October, approximately two months out from the trek. I’ll also begin looking at scuba diving adventures in either Zanzibar or Madagascar — as well as where I am likely to spend New Year’s!
Have you climbed Kilimanjaro or looking at climbing it? Let me know in the comments below!