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 Post subject: Climbing Kili
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 11:20 pm 
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Hey all

I'm planning a trip to Mt. Kilimanjaro later this year. THis will be my first high altitude ascent ever and i'm really stoked about it!

Can anyone offer any advice on everything from preperation to arranging, to gear and anything else?

Thanks

Shaun

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 8:49 am 
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Firstly...I dig your username. Secondly...I have heard that Kili is more of a hectic hike than a climb. Is this true?

Also, to stay on topic here....have heard that people do some altitude training to help. Air is a lot thinner her in joburg than down at the coast...just an idea..

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:40 am 
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Real Name: Jonathan Joseph
Hey!

Did Kili in 2001. Ja, it may very well be a hike rather than a climb...but it'll be the hardest hike you've ever done! The summit pitch is hectic - will power alone gets you up.

Do some Drakensberg hikes..... select steep passes to ascend, and spend time on top of the escarpment. At 3000m, it's the only place in SA to get used to any sort of alititude.

I wouldn't go to mad and spend a fortune on gear and clothing. Aside from normal hiking clothing, get some Helly Hanson thermal undies, some thermal socks, fleece tracksuit pants, a fleece jacket, water/wind proof outer shell (down jacket is okay, but in wet conditions isn't that great), balaclava or beanie, good gloves, good hiking boots. Get a -10 sleeping bag.

Depending on how you hike, poles may come in handy, but I didn't need 'em.

Headlamp is essential, with at least two sets of spare batteries,.... went through two sets on the summit night alone due to the freezing temps.

Which route you doing? And who you going through to do it? Can put you on to one of the best guides around if you haven't already organised.

It's a great experience, .... would do it again and again if I could afford to!

Cheers
Jono


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:43 am 
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@ JonoJ - I got a little info flyer from cape union mart. They recommend a list of gear but it's gopnna set me back by about 10-12K. A little pricey. i think I could do it for alot cheaper though. THat's my plan. YOur list should help alot.

As for the route, I don't relly know which one i'd like to try. Maybe the Lemosho Glades, Umbwe or Shira routes. I havent found a guide yet as i've been thinking about the cape union mart trip. I doubt they'll do the routes that i'd like to take up. Probably the Marangu Route. I don't wanna do the tourist route.

Roughly how much am I looking at spending on this expedition?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:51 am 
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are there any good climbing routes on Kili?

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 1:11 pm 
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I hear two people die a month on Kilimanjaro from altitude sickness. Make sure you go with an operator that carries oxygen bottles up with them and if you get altitude sickness you must be sat down kept warm and given oxygen from the oxygen bottle. You need to take time to climatize, some peoples biology doesn't agree with altitude climbing.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 2:10 pm 
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I second the comment on O2 bottles. Know some people who went to Kili, ended up needing O2, but their guide had none. Unpleasant.

Heard that a heart rate monitor is advisable - helps discouage over-exertion on what, at sea level, would be fairly straightforward. Suggest you keep your heart rate below 140 bpm at all times. Helps with acclimatisation.

Kili is big money-spinner for all the gear stores. Beware.

Drakensberg works well. Hard exercise up there plus sleeping on top will build up the red blood cells. Do so as close to departure as possible as the benefits wear off pretty quickly.

Most of the good (ice) climbing has melted, or is melting, including Messner's routes.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 2:56 pm 
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Real Name: Leon Nel
For a safe accent is , increases of 300m a day, with some saying up to 500m a day is safe. On a Kili trip you'd be doing +- 900m a day,above 3000m. Only reason why they can get away with it is because it's a quick up and down. Unfortunately +- 20 guys die doing it. My suggestion, go to Nepal, do it a lot slower (eg Everest base camp), and go climb a trekking peak. Won't cost you much more, but you will see and experience a lot more. As far as gear goes, good shoes, good sleeping bag, some waterproof gear and a down jacket should do the trick. Thermal underwear is a bonus.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 4:36 pm 
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Real Name: Jonathan Joseph
Hey madcrazy

Mail me on jonathan.joseph@mortgagesa.za.net........ I'll put you on to THE guys to take you up! .... and I'll help you sort out a gear list. When do you want to go?

Bottled O2 is, imho, a bit of an overkill for Kili....although you never know, so I guess it is good to have around. An experienced guide will recognize AMS, HAPE, and HACE in a second (as long as you're truthful about any discomfort).... any good guide will send you straight down to a lower altitude, post haste, if not all the way down and off the mountain. May seem like a 'walk in the park' from here, but it is a serious mountain that has claimed quite a few lives. Don't let that deter you though, .. it'll be the most incredible experience you've ever had!!!

Later
Jono


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 Post subject: alternative
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:48 pm 
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Real Name: Richard Halsey
I recently visited East Africa, so here is my 2 cents worth: go to Mt Kenya. Kili is seriously expensive, really crowded, dirty in places and not much more than a big ant hill. Even if you only hike to Pt Lenana on Mt Kenya it is way more attractive scenery, much cheaper and you are not forced to take a guide or porters etc etc. Mt Meru is also probably more interesting than kili from a mountainous terrain perspective. On the other hand all the graciers on Kili will be gone in 5 yrs so rather go now than later - but this is also true for Mt Kenya.

If you really must go to Kili, Destinantion Africa Travel were cheapest last year and we had no complaints at all. Do one of the longer routes, eg Lemosho - less crowds and better acclimatization. Budget ~R9-10 000 (excluding flights!!!) now I guess for 7 days. Mt Kenya cost us about R2000 for 11 days. Go to Mt Kenya...

P.S. if you are a rock climber then the chioce is even more obvious

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:24 pm 
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@ Q20 - Mt Kenya is definately an option. I'll look into it. How can I get a hold of destination africa travel?

As for kili, i know that it might be a little overrated but i want to make it a part of my 7 summits attempt! That's why I wanna go for kili.

and yes, I am a rock climber... :D

All in all, i recon that i'm probably looking at around 15-20k for the trip and gear?

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 Post subject: Kili vs Kenya
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 10:28 am 
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Not wanting to upset the applecart, but take a read at some recent MCSA trip reports about Kili and Mt Kenya at:

http://mag.mcsa.org.za/newsletter-archive/06-sept.html

There is a growing opinion that if it is wilderness you are after, Kili is not going to give it all to you. Never the less, even though the hike to the top might not be the best wilderness experience ever, the little time one spends on the summit might make up for it, as it is still a special place and the breach wall is still one of my favorite mountain views.

On climbing routes on Kili: there are routes, most of them via the (fast shrinking) glaciers, but one seldom hear about them being repeated since the retreating glaciers are throwing of gunk en masse (take a look at Ian Cameron's route guide for Kili and Mt. Kenya for a list of classics). Mt. Kenya offers far better quality and variaty climbing whilst costing less. The 600m or so difference in altitude is really only a side issue.


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 Post subject: altitude
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 10:40 am 
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Real Name: Willem Boshoff
use diamox to control altitude sickness. you're going to pee like a mule but who cares when everyone else walks around with perpetual hangovers.

a happy mountaineer pees clear

jamie mcguiness' book \"trekking in the everest region\" (trailblazer books) have an excellent discussion on all things high altitude. once you bought the book you're going to want to stuff kili though - nepal gives you way more bang for your buck.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 11:11 pm 
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At the end of the day, kili might not be that spectacular to climb compared to mt. kenya or Nepoal (whick I will definately do one day). But the fact remains, i'm bidding for the 7 summits and kili's on the list! Have to do it, so why not start now. It's gonna take a few years to achieve the 7 summits, with all the costs involved, but it's an achievement that few people get to celebrate, and it just seems like an awesome thing to say that i've done it when more people have been into outer space!

Nepal's definately on my list of places to go though, and i've been planning a half year trek through nepal for a while now, particularly hiking around everest and annapurna, but I want some kind of experience first.

As for mt. Kenya, it's also a great option. Maybe I could do both while i'm in the area.

Anyone wanna join me on my adventure...? :D

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 2:26 pm 
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Hi Shaun,
it's true that different people responding very, very differently to altitude. So if you have never been to altitude before (and hence don't know how your body will respond), a good approach is that you maximise your chances by being super fit, and then under-exercising on the mountain. Do mountain-specific training - like carrying an over-heavy pack up 1000m to try to simulate the level of exersion at altitude. The Berg would be excellent, of course.

Drifter,
if an operator has to administer oxygen to treat altitude sickness, then they must have been careless of their clients' condition well before that point. This is a mountain we are talking about - the safest way of getting more oxygen is to go down, and you should do that well before you become so debilitated as to not be able to move.

If you get a headache, sit down and drink water. If it doesn't go away with rest and hydration after an hour or two, then go down. Simple.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 3:56 pm 
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Real Name: Willem Boshoff
ja crazyhahaman, go for it!

the biggest risk on kili as far as i know is the rapid rate of ascent. ideally one should not increase altitude by more than 400m per day over 3000m. listen to your body, but know that altitude sickness normally hits you with a delayed effect - you're not going to feel it immediately.

just by the way, most people think the seven seconds is much tougher than the 7 highest. and more people has summited everest than what completed the snowman trek in bhutan.....


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 4:27 pm 
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@DouglasWard
I agree that a level of fitness would be required. I've taken it upon myself to do cardio workouts every second evening, and then jog every morning. Carrying packs up 1000m sounds like an awesome Idea, and it'll get me out to some awesome locations too. THanks for the tip.

@mokganjetsi
The seven summits are only the first step. This is meerly for experience in climbing high altitude mountains. From there, it's all the other high mountains in the Himalayas. GOnna take a few years but i really wannaa try do this! Why not? I love the mountains, and the opportunity to say that i've climbed all the highest mountains in the world must be an amazing feeling. One that can't be compared to anything else today.

I would assume it's kinda like saying that you've achieved your biggest dreams in life!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 9:16 pm 
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Real Name: Willem Boshoff
legendary stuff - check out the likes of reinhold messner and ed viesturs.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 8:17 pm 
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\"and the opportunity to say that i've climbed all the highest mountains in the world must be an amazing feeling.\"...that's what its not about!
Big mountains are long, cold & unpleaseant. Where freeze your ba*ls off means frost bite removes them. All this for the above mentioned opportunity.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:23 pm 
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Marshall wrote:
"and the opportunity to say that i've climbed all the highest mountains in the world must be an amazing feeling."...that's what its not about!
Big mountains are long, cold & unpleaseant. Where freeze your ba*ls off means frost bite removes them. All this for the above mentioned opportunity.


Yep! Why not. It's an opportunity so few people get to do in their lifetimes! Why should I not enjoy it?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 10:09 pm 
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\"The seven summits are only the first step. This is meerly for experience in climbing high altitude mountains. From there, it's all the other high mountains in the Himalayas.\" How many other high mountains are there in the Himalayas? On one of these ascents, probrably during the first seven, you would realize that the pain & risk is not worth the \"opportunity to say that i've climbed all the highest mountains\". There has to be a better/stronger reason. Like: if I don't climb all these mountains I'm going to go stark raving mad, end up in an asylym or in jail.

Kili, Everest & the seven summits are awesome achievments, but are recognized by the media & non-climbers. There is so much more that happens which is way more impressive. Climbing is more than glamor, media & recognition.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 7:27 am 
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hey madcrazyhaha

i am running a trip to KIli in September, if you need ideas or prices give me a shout. the bookings for the trip close end of March,

if you are interrested as a group we will be doing a number of overnigjht training hikes in the Drakensberg.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2007 1:16 pm 
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Interesting discussion here...

I travelled to both Mt. Kenya and Mt. Kili last year. My advice is that Kili can be an awesome experience, but unfortunately I didn't do my homework and just joined a pre-planned regular trip.

If you only want to reach the top ignore my advice. But, if you are looking for truly special memory and experience the mountain the best way you can, read on...

Here's a snippet from my journal to friends after the trip:
---8<---------------------------
Mt. Kilimanjaro

A small sub-group had organised a trip to Mt. Kilimanjaro after visiting Mt. Kenya. The reason I decided to join the trip wasn't the reputation of the mountain or even the fact that it is the highest mountain in Africa, at 5895 metres above sea level, but the fact that the glaciers of Kili are melting very very fast. I wasn't sure when I would travel to East Africa again and since the current forecast by some sources claim that after ten to fifteen years Kili has lost it's snowcap, I decided to ignore the fact that Kili is highly overpriced (the total cost of our 6-day Kili trip was a bit less than $1000 including bus trips from/to Nairobi and two nights accommodation in Moshi...).

Disappointment

The days in Mt. Kenya definitely gave us a small advantage coping with the altitude and the hike on top of Kili was quite an easy task in my opinion. Unfortunately our trip to Kili was lacking the most important elements of a mountain visit: peacefullness and serenity. We had chosen the \"less touristy\" Machame route but there were so many tourists and especially porters that parts of the route looked like the busy highway between Jo'burg and Pretoria during the peak hours. There is no space for one's own thoughts because there is a need to adjust the pace and walking rhythm all the time - either most of the tourists are too slow or the porters are too fast. In addition, some of the porters are carrying radios and it is almost impossible not to learn the latest top songs from the East African pop hit lists during the hike.

Advice for future Kili hikers

For those of you who are considering hiking Kili in the future I have two pieces of advice. First of all try to book the least known route up. Even if the scenery is not as nice as Machame route can offer you'll appreciate the emptyness of the mountain. And secondly, the best part of the mountain is definitely on the top where we spent only few hours... Having few extra days exploring the volcanoe and surrounding glaciers would be awesome. None of the basic tours include this option but it is possible and worth the extra cost, especially if the price tag doesn't turn you away in the first place.
---------------------------


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 12:26 pm 
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Well, as always, your opinions and advice are definately always welcome and also most helpful.

@Marshall
I agree that the 7 summits are experience for climbing other and more difficult high altitude mountains. That's the point. It's not only to say that i've done it but yes, i do thinkthat there are other reasons, and you're right. I do think I would go crazy if I don't do it! At the moment i'm actually suffering from sleep deprevation because of it. I need to climb them and it's all I can really think about. It's insane when i lie in bed until 3/4am thinking about climbing these massive giants! And it's more for the 'highest in the world' mountains in the Himalayas (you know, the 14)

@Jester
I'd love the assistance. I've got a mate who's working in Tanzania at the moment. He's searching around for some more cost effective options there. Maybe he should be able to find this info out. Any assistance you can offer would be much appreciated.

@gawitz
That's an awesome read dude!!! I'd also prefer to take a less travelled rout up the mountain, due to the major commercialization of Kili. I do believe that one should really experience the peace & serenity of the mountains that you climb as it gives you a better understanding of what it's all about, and a great chance to explore yourself aswell.

On another note, I've found my 3rd (and possibly 4th) team member for the kili expedition, and someone who's keen on joining me for the 7 summits! I'm really stoked about this!!!! Can't tell all how crazily i'm taking this!!!!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 12:30 pm 
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oh, another thing, after a lot of input in on the whole climbing kili question, i've decided to extend my trip a little and we're gonna do mt. kenya first, then kili!!!!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 1:20 pm 
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Why not climb the seven lowest summits on each continent? Bet no one's done that before.
Man, go climb a mountain because its beautiful, or it has a fine line on it, or its never been climbed, or its got a particular challenge you wanna try. But dont climb it just cos its on some arb ticklist. By all accounts Kenya is way more value than Kili, especially if u wanna get alpine experience for the bigger stuff


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 9:38 pm 
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Dude, at the end of the day, i just wanna climb, whether it's for a reason or not, I love mountains and wanna climb them.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 1:41 pm 
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Hi Madcrazyhaha

Run Like a Girl is organising a trip to Kilimanjaro in September. We are a company that organises adventure workshops for women, but also organise Kili trips for everyone. We are offering a package that includes R7500 worth of gear for R17895 (worked out at an exchange of $1 = R7.4, which includes flights, the entire trip with food, parksfees etc and the gear). Since an ordinary Kili trip with a reputable company that has high standards will cost you in the region of R15 000 this is a good deal. The gear we provide you with is everything from hiking boots, trekking poles, down jackets, waterproofs, headtorches - the whole lot and this gear is then yours to keep. Check out www.runlikeagirl.co.za to get a complete list of the gear.

Obviously there are tons of options when it comes to Kili, but we think we have a particularly lovely one - let me know if this would be something you would be interested in :)

Also Destination Africa Tours is running the expedition - they are very reputable - they take all the necessary safety precautions and look after you. The route we are doing is the Machame route which is a beautiful alternative to the standard \"coca-cola\" route.

If you are interested or have any inquiries, contact me at gosia@runlikeagirl.co.za or (021) 5320549.

:)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 10:27 pm 
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@Gosia
SOunds like a plan. I'll look into it and let you know. It's definately an option and thank you.

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