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Kili - Tips for dust control

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Kili - Tips for dust control

Postby Wish I lived in CO » Fri May 25, 2012 9:45 am

The wife has wanted to climb Kilimanjaro for some time, I wouldn't mind myself. Last year I was just starting to get serious about planning it then I begin to realize how dusty it is and she is very susceptible to dust and respitory issues in general. She decided at that time due to the dust for a NO-GO. Despite the dust, she now wants to give it a try, likely this September.

1) Anyone know what routes might have less dust than others due to the trail, wind directions, or other?
2) Time of year ... I suppose the rainy seasons keep dust down
3) Any "neat" little tricks of what to wear (bandanas, masks, etc.) to keep the hacking down?

Also, I know this has been discussed, I'll look up some old threads, but anyone have a favorite guide company?
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Re: Kili - Tips for dust control

Postby Scott P » Fri May 25, 2012 9:56 am

I’ve only climbed the lesser known mountains in the region, but maybe this will be useful anyway.

1) Anyone know what routes might have less dust than others due to the trail, wind directions, or other?


The least used routes would probably have the least dust (which is true on any dry mountain).

2) Time of year ... I suppose the rainy seasons keep dust down


April, May and November are the wet months in that part of the world.

3) Any "neat" little tricks of what to wear (bandanas, masks, etc.) to keep the hacking down?


Speaking from experience of trying to keep my face warm in extreme cold (which is a different reason for face cover, but the result should be the same), covering your nostrils and mouth makes it harder to breath at high altitude.

PS, unless you are in the rain forest or there during the rainy season, East Africa in general can get pretty dusty, even in the towns. Dust mask may help, but they may be hard to use at high altitude.
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Re: Kili - Tips for dust control

Postby scalba123 » Fri May 25, 2012 11:02 am

I'm doing the Machame route with Tusker four weeks from tomorrow. I'll keep you posted on the dust situation when I get back.

I'm planning on taking a couple buffs to cover my lower face from the dust. Hopefully that will work.

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Re: Kili - Tips for dust control

Postby MountainHiker » Fri May 25, 2012 1:21 pm

In general the mountain has less moisture on the north & east side. For that reason the Rongai Route might have more dust.
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Re: Kili - Tips for dust control

Postby matt pierce » Fri May 25, 2012 3:16 pm

1) Anyone know what routes might have less dust than others due to the trail, wind directions, or other?
Ive been on the Machame, Marangu and Rongai and Rongai was the best but definately the dustiest!
I'd probably recommend Machame for you...

2) Time of year ... I suppose the rainy seasons keep dust down
Ive been there in Feb and August - cant really say - the wet season is a tough climb up high though on Kili...(not technically speaking, just considerably colder etc)

3) Any "neat" little tricks of what to wear (bandanas, masks, etc.) to keep the hacking down?
Bandana for sure, lightweight one that is easy to breath through/around...
Also - wear short ankle gaitors - those are a big help as you hike the long distances

Marangu Hotel for sure is a great guide company and hotel

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Re: Kili - Tips for dust control

Postby highcomm » Sat May 26, 2012 11:54 am

My wife and I went in October 2010 and did the Lemosho Route. There was some sort of percipitation everyday and dust wasn't a problem. However, it was dusty in the town below, Moshi.
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Re: Kili - Tips for dust control

Postby scalba123 » Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:04 am

scalba123 wrote:I'm doing the Machame route with Tusker four weeks from tomorrow. I'll keep you posted on the dust situation when I get back.

I'm planning on taking a couple buffs to cover my lower face from the dust. Hopefully that will work.


I just got back from Kilimanjaro a couple days ago (I wasn't able to reach the summit, I decided that getting a case of hypothermia was more fun).

The trail down from the Barafu Camp down to Mweka Camp was definitely the dustiest. I didn't use anything to cover my face, but a buff should be sufficient if needed.

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Re: Kili - Tips for dust control

Postby fleetmack » Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:18 am

Funny how the memory fades, I remembered summit to Barafu being dusty, but didn't remember the rest being dusty. However, I just searched my trip report ( http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=9336&parmuser=fleetmack&cpgm=tripuser ) for the word "Dust" and found many more entries. From my trip report on Machame:

From Machame Hut to Shira Cave (day 2):
8:30 was our start time. This trail is steep, and extremely dusty. Dust. Dust. Dust.


From Barranco to Barafo (day 4):
From here we went up and down a fun valley, where it got dusty.


Day 5 - Round trip from Barafu - Summit - Barafu

And now we headed down from Stella Point. I cannot emphasize this enough - it is time to get dirty. DUST!!! DIRT!!! If you do this hike, for the love of God, please bring something to cover your nose and your mouth (and eye protection!). I had a bandana over my mouth & nose and was still coughing up dirt the next two days. We basically skied down the scree, uneventful descent


Day 5 - Barafu to Mweka:
12:30 we left Barafu for the 3 hour hike to the final camp. Very dusty.


My bottom line. Wrap-around sunglasses are a must. Gaiters are optional, but will be nice for the descent from Stella Point to Barafu. Bandana at the BARE MINIMUM to protect mount & nose. Note: you will get very warm on the descent back to Barafu from the summit!!
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Re: Kili - Tips for dust control

Postby njx9 » Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:22 am

I did Marangu in June 4 or so years ago and don't remember it being horribly dusty. My jeans definitely turned brown around the cuffs, but any dust we kicked up seemed to stay pretty settled (my ankles were dusty, my knees weren't). I definitely don't recall having any breathing issues. Though, we were also the fastest group on that trail, so it's entirely possible that some of the groups further behind us, or who started later in the morning, were having a worse time. I can't think that anything covering my mouth and nose would've been comfortable, especially lower on the mountain, but a fair number of people were wearing closed ski-mask things on the summit.

I wonder if simply selecting a slower paced climb, off of the main routes, would help? It'd be easier to take your time, break if necessary, and might make wearing some kind of dust guard easier.

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Re: Kili - Tips for dust control

Postby ylingli » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:52 pm

I just got back from Kilimanjaro (and Tanzania & Kenyan safaris) a few days ago. We summited mid June (everyone in our group of 12 made it to the summit!), and the weather was perfect! None of us wore any kind of face-mask and no-one had any problems with the dust. I think it depends on the time of year and which route you hike. June is considered one of the best times to climb Kili with the great weather and small crowds! :D

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Re: Kili - Tips for dust control

Postby skiwall » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:57 pm

I have absolutely no idea about Kili, but I've looked at these before in running stores in SLC (during winter when inversions get bad... I have asthma, and these are suppose to help, although the last time I looked, they didn't filter out PM2.5, which is the worst of the pollution, so I didn't buy one):

http://www.respro.com/products/sports-leisure/running-walking/sportsta_mask/

Not sure I can imagine wearing one hiking around, but I have a friend with one. She wears it biking around town and says she has no problems breathing.
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Re: Kili - Tips for dust control

Postby WarDamnPanic » Fri Jul 06, 2012 5:40 pm

I am also doing the Machame route in August. What kind of clothing should I wear for the climb?

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