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Kilimanjaro Questions

Discussion area for peaks outside of the USA.
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Re: Kilimanjaro Questions

Postby MountainHiker » Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:29 pm

Train by doing. The more time you spend hiking and being at elevation the better. Also, don’t rush up the mountain. The paradox is the “easy” treks move up too fast with low success rates. The “harder” treks spend more time on the mountain in the middle elevations with higher success rates. If your trek has an option for an extra day, pay for it. That will turn a single harder day into a couple easier days at an elevation that will help you acclimate for the summit.
Red, Rugged, and Rotten: The Elk Range - Borneman & Lampert

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Re: Kilimanjaro Questions

Postby fleetmack » Thu Mar 08, 2012 2:22 pm

It was definitely required for us when we came in, though I'm not sure that they have an incredibly standardized immigration office though. I would err on the side of caution and prevent any unnecessary hassle coming into the country.


They absolutely checked my yellow card in Sept. of 2010. So not worth the risk of being turned away. Get it. Non-issue. Simple as that.

Another question - what is the best way to prepare for staying so many days at high altitude? I heard that camping at 12,000 ft prior to the trip should do it - any other advice?


Get out and hike! Think I did 10 14ers the summer leading up to my (September) trip. We focused on long ones -- such as Wetterhorn/Uncompaghre in one day, and Snowmass as a day hike to get in a "long day".... then we camped the weekend before we left near the Bierstadt trailhead and just climbed it again since we were already there.

I got my visa at Kili airport also. Having a visa in advance means one less line to wait in while crossing a border. It wasn’t a big deal.


We got ours in advance, but then the other people who were on our shuttle to the hotel had to get them at the Airport so, in theory, we waited in line with those people anyways. Either way is fine. Just make sure you carry your vaccination sheets on the plane with you (as well as irreplaceable things for the climb, see my trip report for suggestions) vs. putting them under the plane, they may lose your luggage.
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Re: Kilimanjaro Questions

Postby SteveBonowski » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:14 pm

Regarding getting a TZ visa, I recommend doing it in advance. I use a Denver-based service; for those who live here; called International Passport Visa (www.passportvisa.net). If you're going with your significant other; or just a couple other people, probably isn't a big deal to get visas when you enter. As someone who has led groups of 16-18, I get them in advance as it's one less hassle.

Matt Pierce wrote; about currency; no folds, tears, bent corners. To which I will add no markings of any kind, like pencil marks, ink marks, somebody's scribblings, etc. You want clean & crisp bills for exchange.

I agree with fleetmack: carry all your valuable stuff with you onto the plane, including all necessary paperwork. Use a money belt or a neck pouch. Also, while it may be a bit uncomfortable, wear your climbing boots onto the plane, or take in your carry-on. The vendor I've used for all my CMC Kili trips; Marangu Hotel; has a well stocked gear room with stuff for rent at a low rate. But you don't want to use shoes/boots that may not exactly fit as good as your own.

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Re: Kilimanjaro Questions

Postby ylingli » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:50 pm

Thanks for all the tips and thanks for the trip report! I'm also doing the 7 day Machame, so the information was very useful!

I have a question about sleeping bags & liners. Is a 0 degrees bag with a liner warm enough? I know it depends on whether you feel the cold or not, but I've heard that getting a warmer bag (minus 10 or 20 degrees) bag is better.....also costs a lot more too!!

Also, my main concern is the altitude. I live in Colorado Springs and have hiked Pikes Peak with no trouble (and no headaches, etc), but 19,340ft is quite a bit higher than 14.110ft!! Other than hiking 14ers as often as possible, and going very slowly on summit day, what else do you recommend?

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Re: Kilimanjaro Questions

Postby fleetmack » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:56 pm

ylingli wrote:I have a question about sleeping bags & liners. Is a 0 degrees bag with a liner warm enough? I know it depends on whether you feel the cold or not, but I've heard that getting a warmer bag (minus 10 or 20 degrees) bag is better.....also costs a lot more too!!

Also, my main concern is the altitude. I live in Colorado Springs and have hiked Pikes Peak with no trouble (and no headaches, etc), but 19,340ft is quite a bit higher than 14.110ft!! Other than hiking 14ers as often as possible, and going very slowly on summit day, what else do you recommend?


I used a 20 degree synthetic bag (10 years old, that i store in the bag full time (incorrect storage method)) and a liner and I was fine. Sleeping bags are overrated. Just put more clothes on when you go to bed and save yourself the $400

Other than hiking and pole pole, just get some Diamox (altitude sickness medicine) and take it as a prophylactic
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Re: Kilimanjaro Questions

Postby aaron479 » Thu Mar 08, 2012 7:13 pm

We climbed in July, and I used a 15d bag. I had a liner...and, never needed it. I slept in my thermo's, and wore a stocking hat.

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Re: Kilimanjaro Questions

Postby msmith7361 » Thu Mar 08, 2012 7:24 pm

Best way to train is to be in good shape. I went from 0 elevation in Iraq to Tanzania on R/R to climb Kili... Not that anecdotal evidence helps much, but just being in all-around good shape helps IMO (cardio, muscular strength, muscular endurance workouts 5-6 days a week).

Also, MountainHiker is right, go slow. You'll want to charge up the mountain most likely since it's pretty straightforward, but take your time and enjoy the scenery. You'll also maximize your chances of proper acclimation and summit success in the process.

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Re: Kilimanjaro Questions

Postby scalba123 » Thu Mar 08, 2012 7:58 pm

ylingli wrote:Thanks everyone for the tips! I was also wondering about the Yellow Fever, so will definitely get that shot!
I'm doing Kili in June this year, and am currently looking at visas. I've heard that you can get them at the airport on arrival and also at the border crossing (I'm flying into Nairobi and then crossing the border into Tanzania). Did you get your visas in advance? If so, which visa processing service did you use?


I got mine in advance for my June trip. Completed my paperwork, wrote a check for $102.00 and mailed it to Embassey in Washington DC. Got it back in about three weeks. Took care of the Yellow Fever and Hepatitus A/B shots. Have the yellow International Vaccination card in hand. The more that I can do up front...the better.

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Re: Kilimanjaro Questions

Postby climbing_rob » Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:00 pm

ylingli wrote: I have a question about sleeping bags & liners. Is a 0 degrees bag with a liner warm enough? I know it depends on whether you feel the cold or not, but I've heard that getting a warmer bag (minus 10 or 20 degrees) bag is better.....also costs a lot more too!!

Also, my main concern is the altitude. I live in Colorado Springs and have hiked Pikes Peak with no trouble (and no headaches, etc), but 19,340ft is quite a bit higher than 14.110ft!! Other than hiking 14ers as often as possible, and going very slowly on summit day, what else do you recommend?
I think a good, conservatively rated 15 degree bag should be fine, but ya know, on this trip weight is no issue, so if you already have a warmer, heavier bag no reason not to bring it. I do not ever remember being cold in my 15 degree on the Machame route.

Acclimation: simple, keep climbing 14ers or high 13ers just before the trip, and sleep high a couple times in the 3-4 weeks before as well. Try to get to 12,000 or so. Kite lake is a good choice; you can drive to 12K and sleep. I've used Berthoud pass parking lot for this as well.

Take prophylactic Pepto Bismol in small doses! I learned this one from Steve B. Roughly a third of our CMC outing (led by Steve) in 2007 got stomach ails that prevented them from a summit attempt. One or two tablets a day to keep things settled seems to work well for me in these third world locales.

Have fun. This was right up there with my favorite all-time fun climbs.

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Re: Kilimanjaro Questions

Postby emcee smith » Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:25 am

Sleeping Bag:

I had a 0 degree bag and a liner (as said, weight is not an issue). I was never really cold, but I went to bed cold many nights. You will want to take care to have warm clothes on when you go to dinner, as you will likely still be warm from the hike, but by the time dinner is over, it will be chilly. By the morning I was fine in shorts and a t-shirt, although it was chilly getting dressed.

My coldest nights were nights 1 and 6, when we were camping right at tree line. Maybe 45-55 degrees but a damp cold. Once we got above 12,000' I felt much warmer.

Stomach Issues:

Do whatever you feel comfortable with; I had no problems and I attribute to two things. 1. Keep your hands clean and to yourself. From what I understand and have read, most of the bugs travel around from contact. Think twice about reaching into that communal bag of trail mix, and use the Purell very liberally. 2. Doxycycline (Malaria) but basically an antibiotic.
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Re: Kilimanjaro Questions

Postby matt pierce » Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:44 pm

ylingli wrote:Thanks for all the tips and thanks for the trip report! I'm also doing the 7 day Machame, so the information was very useful!

I have a question about sleeping bags & liners. Is a 0 degrees bag with a liner warm enough? I know it depends on whether you feel the cold or not, but I've heard that getting a warmer bag (minus 10 or 20 degrees) bag is better.....also costs a lot more too!!

Also, my main concern is the altitude. I live in Colorado Springs and have hiked Pikes Peak with no trouble (and no headaches, etc), but 19,340ft is quite a bit higher than 14.110ft!! Other than hiking 14ers as often as possible, and going very slowly on summit day, what else do you recommend?


I took a Marmot Colouir 0 degree and it was a little warm - especially lower down on the mountain. But it sure was nice at Kibo Hut for the few hours I slept there :mrgreen:

If you are really concerned about altitude sickness you can consider taking acetazolemide (Diamox) but you should check with your doctor before doing so...

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Re: Kilimanjaro Questions

Postby Char7311 » Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:28 pm

I'm planning to hike Kili in early September with my brother and his girlfriend. We're deciding on companies and routes. I haven't read the rest of the thread yet but I browsed and saw there wasn't mention about sleeping in the crater on the Shira route. One company sleeps in the crater, which they say adds to their success rate and ability to enjoy summit day since the summit is only about an hour away from the crater. Another company doesn't for this reason:

"Sleeping in the crater is dangerous. You ascend from 15,500 ft to 19,000 and sleep there. That is too much of a large elevation gain for most people to acclimatize to. Of course, if you were able to acclimatize here, then the summit is very easy, about 1 hour away. But being able to acclimatize to 19,000 while asleep is far more difficult than climbing from Barafu to the summit and descending. Does that make sense? The standard schedule is 6-8 hours to the summit, then 6-8 hours down to Mweka."

I'll be hiking 14ers all summer which I hope will help at least a tiny bit with acclimatizing. My brother and his girlfriend will be physically prepared but will be coming from sea level.
Thoughts on whether "climb hike camp low" applies or if it's better to sleep in the crater for summit day in this instance?

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