Miscellaneous Tips

During hotel stay

  • Bring earplugs to block out extremely drawn out "dog concerts" during the nights at the hotel. Hey, you're in Africa!
  • Bring plenty of $1-bills and keep them handy for various tips.

During trek

  • Use your earplugs to block out the voices of the porters as they chill out after you've hit the sack and want (need) to sleep.
  • For me the 2 most important body parameters during the 6 days were:
    1. My resting heart-rate (Is my body acclimatizing ?)
      A rule of thumb that I learned says that if your current resting pulse is more than 20% higher than that at home, then your body isn't yet ready to ascend any further.
      My normal resting pulse at home is 56bpm. On some nights as we ascended I went to bed with it up to around 80-85bpm. The next morning it had dropped to e.g. around 65-70bpm signaling that my body is working to acclimatize.
    2. How well hydrated am I ? (urine color)
      Only once did I get a little behind in my H2O-consumption. Be sure to drink, drink, drink!
  • Clear goggles on the summit night.
    On our summit night we had a clear night with unusually extreme gusty winds. After several hours of fine dust blowing in our faces I had lost 50% sight in my left eye (like being in a thick fog) with partial loss of my stereoscopic vision. Various others in our party were similarly affected, two of them with more than 50% loss in both eyes. These members were helpless and had to be guided by the arm. Fortunately the effects wore off within hours of returning back to Barafu Camp.

More on water...

I used a 3 liter bladder system for my backpack in an insulated bag and added flavored energy powder.
The system worked great as one is able to constantly sip small amounts of water, which the body can better assimilate. The bladder had 2 drawbacks though:

  • You can't readily tell how much water you've been drinking.
  • On the cold summit night my drinking tube froze up despite blowing the water back into the bladder after each drink! Luckily I had a small thermos bottle handy just in case.

Responsibility on the Summit Night

Use your good common sense during the trek, especially during the summit night. Keep an eye on your party members and be responsible. After reading many Internet accounts of Kilimanjaro summiting, and partly due to personal experience I believe that many Kilimanjaro trekkers become "summit blind", whereby all else is forgotten. Symptoms of altitude sickness, decreased reasoning skills and even hypothermia are ignored.