Off the wall Kilimanjaro questions

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Jay521
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Off the wall Kilimanjaro questions

Post by Jay521 »

OK - So I am in the very early stages of planning a hike up Kili - a bucket list item of mine I'd better do soon or I might be too old to make it (if I'm not already too old...). I've read many threads on guide and route recommendations and it's almost too much information - sorta like taking a drink from a fire hydrant. So, I will ask a few questions that might draw out some things I need to think about.

For those of you who have done it, Is there anything that you didn't do that you wish you had done? And conversely, what did you do that you wish you hadn't?
On that same line, what about gear? Take something you wish you hadn't or not take something that you wish you had?

Did anyone really dislike the route they took and/or the guide service they used?

And maybe the most important question for me, anyway. My wife wants to go on the trip with me but is NOT a hiker or climber. Are there things she could do while I'm off living my dream that she might enjoy? She loves history, learning new things, etc. But as her husband, I am a bit concerned about an unescorted woman. Any and all thoughts would be great.

I'm not adverse to going on my own but if there is someone that like to join me, I'm open to that. I'm loosely thinking of late 2024.

Thanks in advance!!!!!
I take the mountain climber's approach to housekeeping - don't look down
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Jon Frohlich
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Re: Off the wall Kilimanjaro questions

Post by Jon Frohlich »

Jay, first off, you're not too old. When I went our group had a 73 year old summit and no offense to him but I think you're a far more capable hiker. I did this way back in 2005 so at this point my knowledge is ancient history compared to others that I'm sure have been more recently. I did the Machame route over 6 days and it was great.

I'm sure your wife could join a group safari trip or sightseeing excursion while you were on the mountain. There's so many companies over there offering trips that I can't imagine it would be too tough.
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Re: Off the wall Kilimanjaro questions

Post by ScottLovesRMNP »

I did the Lemosho Route (8 days) last year with Climb Kili and they were absolutely great! The route is very scenic as it takes a day longer than the Machame Route but traverses 3 sides of the mountain offering many different perspectives on Kili. I was very glad I chose that route. The slow pace was pretty easy for me to handle, coming from Colorado.

I didn't necessarily plan this in advance, but our company had us camping at Kosovo camp (rather than Barafu camp) right before our summit attempt, which saved us at least an hour of climbing on summit day, for which I was very thankful. Most groups were at Barafu camp, so that's probably more standard, but might be worth asking about, as I thought it made a real difference.

The worst part of the climb for me was post-summit, as they do lead you down the mountain pretty fast (just 1 day), and that descent trail is steep and rocky. My knees didn't love me after that!

The guide company should give you a gear list. I followed the one I was given to a T and it was just perfect. I was never wanting for anything. My company offered to carry stuff for me if I was over-burdened, so there was really no risk with bringing too much stuff. They will take good care of you and their goal is to get you to the top in as painless a manner as possible.

My parents are not climbers, so they flew over about 3 days after I started my Kili climb and did some preliminary stuff on their own over towards Kenya (with a guide company called Access 2 Tanzania), and when I came off the mountain, then we continued together for the remainder of our safari together. Again, the guide service my parents had was excellent.

Of course, this is not the experience to take if you are hoping for a huge amount of solitude. I literally saw hundreds if not thousands of others on the mountain (I went in July). I saw people from all walks of life, all stages of life, with every type of strength and weakness you can imagine. I saw numerous people summit who -- at first glance -- you might think not capable of doing so. It was truly inspiring and a testament that the guide companies know what they are doing to get people to the top and back safely. Definitely a bucket list item, and I'd definitely encourage you to go for it!
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Jay521
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Re: Off the wall Kilimanjaro questions

Post by Jay521 »

Jon - Thank you for your response. And I like your thoughts about my wife joining an excursion or safari of some sort. I will continue to do research on that.
And - congrats on the new addition to your family! We are about to have our first granddaughter in a couple weeks.

Scott - I really appreciate your input. Especially the last paragraph. I will follow up on that. And yeah - I know that solitude isn't gonna happen on this trip. I have just been hooked on Kili since I read Hemingway's Snows of Kilimanjaro He's my fav author. I guess it's a good thing he didn't write about the Snows of Everest or I'd be in real trouble... :-) Thanks for taking the time to answer me.
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jsype
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Re: Off the wall Kilimanjaro questions

Post by jsype »

Jay, I think this was one of the most rewarding climbing trips I've experienced - not only accomplishing the feat of climbing Arica's highest peak, but becoming immersed in the cultural experience of interacting with the wonderful people of Tanzania before and after the climb. I went with a local guide group contracted with REI and climbed via the Marangu route. The convenience and "luxury" of sleeping in the huts and eating in the mess halls is really nice at the higher camps. There is only one piece of equipment I wish I had brought with me (I had even asked the REI equipment guy if I should bring it and he laughed) - and that is a pair of ski goggles. We got hit with a wicked blizzard on summit morning at the crater rim.
As others have mentioned, I think a safari adventure for your wife would totally be possible while you are on Kili. Have fun!
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Scott P
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Re: Off the wall Kilimanjaro questions

Post by Scott P »

If going during the dry season, I'd choose the Lemosho or Northern Circuit Route. If going in the wet season (April, May, or November), I'd choose the Rongai Route.

There is plenty to do for your wife. Does she hike at all? If so, I'd recommend doing Little Meru as you see a lot of wildlife.

Normally, I'd suggest that climbing Meru is more scenic and interesting than Kili and to do that too, but maybe doing both is too long away from your wife.

Rather than leaving her alone for a week to climb Kili, you might want to do a safari and other activities together and then she flies home before you and you climb Kili. It might work better that way.

We used Gladys. They were really good and are woman owned, a rarity in Tanzania.
I'm old, slow and fat. Unfortunately, those are my good qualities.
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Re: Off the wall Kilimanjaro questions

Post by Scott P »

ScottLovesRMNP wrote: Mon Sep 04, 2023 4:05 pmOf course, this is not the experience to take if you are hoping for a huge amount of solitude. I literally saw hundreds if not thousands of others on the mountain (I went in July).
We went in May and saw two people the first two days then zero other people at all until the top. The weather usually isn't as nice then though, but we lucked out.

Anyway, the best times to go are probably February, March, September, and October. The weather is usually good then and it's not so crowded. January, June, July, August, and December tend to be very crowded.
I'm old, slow and fat. Unfortunately, those are my good qualities.
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Re: Off the wall Kilimanjaro questions

Post by Dan_Suitor »

For those of you who have done it, Is there anything that you didn't do that you wish you had done? And conversely, what did you do that you wish you hadn't?
I did not have time for a safari. Wish I had, although had done some on other trips to Africa.

On that same line, what about gear? Take something you wish you hadn't or not take something that you wish you had?
I wish I’d brought more reading material. There were long periods of time waiting around at camp.

Did anyone really dislike the route they took and/or the guide service they used?
I did the Machame (Whiskey) route. I included a short scramble (Probably class 2 – 2+) and really enjoyed the entire route. I think most of the guide services offer equally good service. I found that tipping is customary, almost a requirement that is expected as part of the guide service’s fee. I was ok with this because I knew the tip money went straight to the lead guide/porters rather than through the guide service.

And maybe the most important question for me, anyway. My wife wants to go on the trip with me but is NOT a hiker or climber. Are there things she could do while I'm off living my dream that she might enjoy? She loves history, learning new things, etc. But as her husband, I am a bit concerned about an unescorted woman. Any and all thoughts would be great.

I visited an animal sanctuary ( Kilimanjaro Animal Center for Rescue, Education and Wildlife › Kilimanjaro Animal Center ( https://kilicrew.org/ ) ) and really enjoyed it. They offered horseback rides at the time, which was great fun. I never felt threatened traveling alone, but I’m a guy, so I can’t speak for how single women travelers fare. Probably the scariest thing would be having her venture into a Tanzanite store alone with a credit card :lol:
Century Bound, eventually.
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12ersRule
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Re: Off the wall Kilimanjaro questions

Post by 12ersRule »

I definitely want to do Kili someday as well, but am in the same boat as you as far as what does the non-avid-hiking spouse do. I would probably try to team up with another couple in a similar situation so that your wife has a traveling companion.

I'd say....hey go with the wife and I, but Africa has slipped on her international travel priorities due to the degree of difficulty getting there, knowing that there is a mountain in Africa that I am pining for, etc. etc.

Also, would you be good with missing out on all the lions, wildebeasts, etc. that your wife will see while you're bagging Kili?
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Re: Off the wall Kilimanjaro questions

Post by Conor »

I know this is about kili, but don't forget about margerhita peak. It even has a "glacier" and is empty (we didn't see anyone above the first camp). A spouse could stay at a lower hut or if you're in shape you can make summit push from the same hut. Bonus is afterwards they have gorillas in the wild which is one of my top traveling experiences.

I've convinced my wife in the past to go on trips with me, which she has committed to training for (corderilla blanca, alps, margherita, greenland). I get its not everyone's cup of tea...
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Re: Off the wall Kilimanjaro questions

Post by nyker »

Jay,

Call a couple of reputable travel agencies, maybe they have some ideas. African Travel inc It is one I've used in the past that was pretty good at organizing everything including last minute changes and have several levels of pricing depending on what you need or want.

All things equal I would not be a fan of separating from your wife on an international trip, particularly in Africa but that's just me.

Is there a chance she could go with you up to a lower camp and then you go for the summit, she stays in camp with others there just while you're on your summit push so any separation is shorter in duration. The porters would likely carry most or all of her stuff so she wouldn't have to carry much weight but she would need to hike in some...
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Re: Off the wall Kilimanjaro questions

Post by pvnisher »

I was looking for some off the wall questions.
These are all very standard, reasonable questions.
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