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Kilimanjaro Questions

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Kilimanjaro Questions

Postby scalba123 » Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:39 pm

I've signed up to hike Kilimanjaro in June 2012 with Tusker. In the course of my research, I've developed a series of questions that I thought I would ask those on this site that have previously done this hike:

1) What there something that you brought on the trip that you wished you'd left behind? Was there something that you did not bring that you felt was needed?
2) How much money did you bring? Did you keep it all in US currency throughout the entire trip or did you convert it into another currency at some point? If so. at what point did you convert and into what type of currency (was it Euros)?
3) Are glacier glasses really necessary on this hike?
4) What type of energy snacks did you bring? Did something work better than other snacks?
5) Besides the summit, what was the hardest part of the hike?

Thanks in advance for any information that you can provide. I'm sure that I'll have other questions before June.

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Re: Kilimanjaro Questions

Postby kman » Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:07 pm

I did Kilimanjaro in Feb 2009 via the Machame Route.
1) Everything that I brought, was definitely put to good use. One thing that I did not bring that I wished I had, was goggles! The wind was really blowing hard and kicking up the fine lava dust during our summit bid.
2) All lodging and meals (for both the climb & Safari) were included in the trip price, so I only brought $300.00 for extras (drinks & souvenirs). I converted it to Tanzanian Shillings upon landing at Kilimanjaro Airport.
3) I brought glacier glasses, but really didn't need them. There are no glaciers left on the summit, only on the sides. (see photos). We never got too close to them.
4) As far as energy snacks, I brought a lot of Clif Bars. Quite honestly, we were treated like royalty by the cooks, and ate VERY well. Tusker (I've heard) is a good outfitter, so I'm sure you'll eat well too! I guess what I'm saying is bring energy snacks, but don't over-do it! I would recommend Power Bar Energy Blasts (cola flavor!!).
5) The hardest part of the hike (to me) was the descent. We dropped almost 10,000 feet from the summit to the Mweka Camp in one push! We then exited the Park the next day.
Hopefully you will also be going on Safari post Kilimanjaro. I highly recommend a camera with a substantial zoom!! The large animals are everywhere and easily seen, but a camera with a nice zoom feature will help with the more elusive animals, particularly those in the trees!
Enjoy your trip!
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Kilimanjaro Feb 2009 483.JPG
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Kilimanjaro Feb 2009 498.JPG
Kilimanjaro Feb 2009 498.JPG (208.02 KiB) Viewed 1809 times
Last edited by kman on Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Kilimanjaro Questions

Postby highcomm » Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:32 pm

My wife and me summitted with Tusker Oct. 2010 for our honeymoon via Lemosho Route. Tusker is a great company. What route are you taking?
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Re: Kilimanjaro Questions

Postby MountainHiker » Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:16 pm

1. We were pretty good on what we took with us. On summit day not everyone I saw was dressed as warm. I was glad to have the down parka. We took more bars than we needed and gave several away. We were glad to have some of our own snack food though.

2. We booked directly with a local company so we paid them with US dollars. They have ATMs but credit cards were useless. We tipped with US dollars but spent local currency. It was common for souvenir merchants to not have change, so “why don’t you buy this also. “ Having a bunch of US one dollar bills often cured that problem. I forget how much extra cash I took, but our guide company provided almost everything. In my trip report I indicate how we tipped. You also need to allow for a visa. We also had some lay-overs on the way.

3. It is high elevation, so even if you don’t have actual glacier glasses, you want to have better wrap-around sun glasses for eye protection.

4. I took the usual stuff I use here. Bars and Gu. You can buy some things locally.

5. Dust. It’s a volcano. Volcanic rock breaks down finer than our mountains. There wasn’t really one part that stood out as a lot harder. We were in good shape and we paid to add an extra day. That was huge. The day before summit day got split from a long hard day into two easy days at an elevation that helped with acclimation.

Here is my trip report with some details:
http://www.summitpost.org/kilimanjaro-machame-route-7-day-utm/493811
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Re: Kilimanjaro Questions

Postby scalba123 » Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:35 am

highcomm wrote:My wife and me summitted with Tusker Oct. 2010 for our honeymoon via Lemosho Route. Tusker is a great company. What route are you taking?


I'm doing the Machame route.

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Re: Kilimanjaro Questions

Postby Trail Doc » Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:40 am

Take a look at my trip report, if you haven't already. I went with Tusker as well, and felt it was a first class operation. They highly recommended bringing an umbrella, and I did, but never used it. My standard gortex raingear came in handy, though. When it doubt about bringing a warm piece of gear, bring it. It was colder than I expected from the first night on. I developed a cough that kept my wife and I up at night, so cough suppressant would have come in handy, but in a pinch, a narcotic like lortab works just as well, and it also doubles as a painkiller! I agree with what everyone says about the sunglasses, you don't need glacier glasses if you have a good pair of wrap arounds, and I'd recommend at least one back up pair in your group. Sunglasses are like parachutes, if you lose yours and don't have a backup, you're screwed. Snack-wise I went to Sam's club and bought individually wraped jerky, trail mix and half size clif bars. I like to have a variety, and I brought enough to share with our guides, they appreciated it.
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Re: Kilimanjaro Questions

Postby MountainHiker » Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:46 pm

An umbrella? I’d suggest a plastic rain poncho instead - one big enough to go over you and your pack. Also trekking poles, both for the slick mud if it rains and the loose stuff the rest of the time.
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Re: Kilimanjaro Questions

Postby SteveBonowski » Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:42 pm

If you don't take an umbrella, do take a pack cover to keep your things dry. While my outfitter (Marangu Hotel) is very good, I always tell my CMC participants to wrap key stuff that goes into the duffels hauled by the porters, particularly sleeping bags and extra clothes. I second MountainHiker's comment about trekking poles. They're also useful for the descent.

I also second the notion of doing at least a budget safari. No point going all that way if you're not also going to head out to see the "critters."

Write back if you have other questions. I've been on the mountain eight times, including seven times leading it for CMC. Steve

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Re: Kilimanjaro Questions

Postby MountainHiker » Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:51 pm

You can use kitchen size garbage bags to wrap stuff inside the duffle bag the porters carry.
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Re: Kilimanjaro Questions

Postby fleetmack » Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:22 am

1) What there something that you brought on the trip that you wished you'd left behind? Was there something that you did not bring that you felt was needed?

I'm pretty sure I have an extensive list of what I brought on my TR -- you can read it ( http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=9336&parmuser=fleetmack&cpgm=tripmain&ski=Include ). I'd say the ~only~ thing I brought that i wouldn't have was snack foods -- cliff bars, shot blocks, power gel's, etc. Only used 1 pack of cliff blocks on summit day.

2) How much money did you bring? Did you keep it all in US currency throughout the entire trip or did you convert it into another currency at some point? If so. at what point did you convert and into what type of currency (was it Euros)?

Tough to say as I did safari and zanzibar afterwards. I'd guess I probably brought $1000 or so. Can't remember what I tipped out, but we tipped in American money (for Safari as well). I came home with most of what I bought, everything is cheap there.

3) Are glacier glasses really necessary on this hike?

No, but have something with good side protection - goggles or wrap-around sunglasses, for the secent from the summit back to Barafu camps is extremely dusty. Bring a bandana to cover your mouth with, too -- you won't be disappointed with this decision.

4) What type of energy snacks did you bring? Did something work better than other snacks?

Per above, we brought a ton of stuff, roughly 2 cliff bars and 1 pack of shot blocks per day. Only used 1 pack of shot blocks the whole time

5) Besides the summit, what was the hardest part of the hike?

Going as slowly as they'd like you to go gets frustrating sometimes, but I made the summit, so probably not a terrible thing. There are no technically challenging days; they warned us that the Breakfast Wall on the way out of Barranco en route to Barafu would be hard. I strongly disagree, it was the most challenging technically I guess- but never above class 2 -- the hike into and out of Barranco was my favorite part of this adventure!
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Re: Kilimanjaro Questions

Postby scalba123 » Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:16 am

Follow up question:

Did you get any of the shots? It looks like from my research that none are required, but just wanted to make sure. Did you bring anything to show the authorities that you were up to date on your tetanus, etc?

I'm getting great information from everyone. Thanks again for sharing your experiences!

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Re: Kilimanjaro Questions

Postby fleetmack » Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:41 am

scalba123 wrote:Follow up question:

Did you get any of the shots? It looks like from my research that none are required, but just wanted to make sure. Did you bring anything to show the authorities that you were up to date on your tetanus, etc?

I'm getting great information from everyone. Thanks again for sharing your experiences!


Yellow fever is required -- if you don't get it you won't be let into Tanzania. Check your insurance, for me it was cheaper to get it at Walgreens than to pay it through Kaiser Permanente. I also got a Hep-A shot (got a series of them, now vaccinated for life methinks). I did NOT get hep-B or rabies shots.

Also got prescriptions for Diamox (altitude), Malarone (malaria), and some prescription-strength diarrhea medicine just in case (didn't need it)
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