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About Kilimanjaro

Food and Water

Food and Water on mount Kilimanjaro – we have a variety choices of menu to offer on the mountain, the food is plenty and delicious spiced up with fresh fruits. We boil and sieve water to drink on the mountain.

You will be provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner each day spent on the mountain. The food, specifically selected to help your climb, are high energy carbohydrate foods that are easily digestible. The primary carbohydrate of the meals are rice, potatoes and pasta. Fresh fruit and vegetables accompany every meal. Meat is served on the mountain but not in large quantities because it is not easily digestible at high altitude and nor does it keep well on the mountain. For longer climbs, we resupply the team with fresh food near the end of the climb.

Food and Water

Water is collected from mountain streams. It is filtered with the Platypus GravityWorks system or boiled for purification. There is no need for further treatment of water. Water is provided only at the campsites so you need to carry enough water, usually about 3 liters, to stay hydrated while you hike.

Below are sample menus for your 3 meals: Food and Water.

food and water. food and water. food and water.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate
Vegetable Soup Vegetable Soup
Toast, Biscuits with Margarine, Jam, Peanut Butter, Honey Bread, Biscuits or Pancakes with Jam, Peanut Butter, Honey Bread, Biscuits or Pancakes with Jam, Peanut Butter, Honey
Eggs, Sausages or Bacon Sandwich with Meat or Cheese, Boiled Egg, Fried Chicken Roasted Chicken, Beef or Fish
Porridge or Pancakes Snack: Peanuts, Popcorn, Cake, Cookies Potatoes, Rice, Pasta
Fresh Fruit: Mango, Orange, Pineapple, Banana, Avocado or Watermelon Fresh Salad: Tomato, Cucumber, Onion, Carrots, Green Peppers Fresh Vegetables: Carrots, Peas, Tomato, Beans, Greens

You may want to bring some supplementary “comfort” foods, such as candy, gum, chocolate, health bars or powdered energy drinks. We can accommodate vegetarian and vegan diets. For those with special diets, please contact us to discuss what we can or cannot do. Note that food selection is limited in Tanzania, so although we will try to please all clients, in some cases clients will be asked to bring their specific food items to us, which our cooks will prepare. Food and Water. Food and W

life-on-kilimanjaro-2

Daily Plan on Kilimanjaro – the typical day on Kilimanjaro starts with a wake up call from the waiter who will bring you a warm water to wash before you warm up yourself with a cup of coffee or tea followed by full breakfast. Daily Plan on Kilimanjaro.

Daily Plan on Kilimanjaro

Our typical day… Daily Plan on Kilimanjaro.

Around 5.30-6am our porters wake us with a steaming cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Bleary eyed this is a welcomed sight after a potentially restless night. A bowl of hot water is also awaiting as we unzip our tent door to have a hot wash and wake up properly! Breakfast is usually served at around 6.30am and at around 7.30am we begin trekking as a group.

We spend around 4-5 hours trekking in the morning, stopping for breaks until reaching our lunch stop. We take a longer break here before continuing in the afternoon for around another 4 hrs depending on the day’s distance. On arrival at the camp our tents will already be pitched up by porters with our luggage waiting, so we can kick off our walking boots and get into some warmer clothes. Our porters will rally around, working for us with well deserved hot drinks and snacks before dinner at around 6pm. After dinner our Kilimanjaro Climb Leader will brief us on the day ahead before we settle into our sleeping bags and attempt a full night’s sleep!

While the hours vary from day to day, your average walking time will be around four to five hours per day. During the walk, your guide will decide the pace and when to take a breaks depending on his assessment of the party’s performance. The porters consistently move ahead of the group in order to prepare food, collect water, and set up tents so that everything is ready when the party arrives. Lunch may be a boxed lunch or on occasion a hot lunch if the day’s hike is a short one. Daily Plan on Kilimanjaro.

7 Days Lemosho Route

Once you arrive at the campsite, snacks are served. Then, before dinner, a pan of water is again provided for clean up. Dinner is served around 6:00 PM. The guide will discuss the next day’s events with the group after dinner. Down time is spent chatting with your fellow climbers, staff and others sharing the campsite, reading, or otherwise relaxing. Daily Plan on Kilimanjaro.

Summit Day. Daily Plan on Kilimanjaro.

Summit day is a tough, 11 to 16 hour day. This monumental effort is what makes climbing Kilimanjaro an achievement. It begins very early as guides try to time their trekking party to reach Uhuru point at sunrise. Climbers go to sleep after an early dinner the night before and are awaken around midnight to prepare for the summit attempt. After a light snack, climbers ascend in the darkness, cold and wind. It goes without saying that under these conditions, climbing is difficult, especially on loose rock and up a very steep slope. Once you reach the summit, a short time is spent celebrating and taking photos, before returning to high camp, either Barafu or Kibo Hut. There, you eat lunch and regain your strength, before continuing the descent to a much lower camp.

During the trek, it is common that someone may have to turn around on the mountain due to altitude sickness, exhaustion or a variety of other matters. Each group will have a lead guide, a number of assistant guides depending on the party size, and lead porters – all of whom are able to escort climbers down. Therefore, if a person cannot continue the ascent, one of the staff members will accompany this climber while the lead guide takes the group onward. The remaining party is unaffected and continues their climb as scheduled. Daily Plan on Kilimanjaro.

/life-on-kilimanjaro/

Accommodation before/after

Accommodation before/after Kilimanjaro climbing is usually included in the original plan with the price we send to you. The accommodations are offered in 3 star hotels located near the mountain and if the days are clear you can see the challenge before your trekking commencement.
Our standard hotel we provide before and after climbing Kilimanjaro is Key’s Hotel located in the direct for good view of mount Kilimanjaro, on the outskirts of Moshi town. This simple, clean hotel is about 45 minutes driving from Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO).
In some reasons, Key’s hotel may be unavailable and we will provide accommodations of similar or higher standards in Moshi. Some amenities may be different in other hotels.

Life on Kilimanjaro

Life on Kilimanjaro – switch off your noisy, hassled, polluted electronic world and enter a completely a different one – not as a tourist but as a conscious human being with simple needs. If you are thinking of signing up to a Kilimanjaro climb, but you are not sure what to expect, here is a little insight into life on Kilimanjaro. Life on Kilimanjaro. Life on Kilimanjaro.

Life on Kilimanjaro

Our typical day… Life on Kilimanjaro.

Around 5.30-6am our porters wake us with a steaming cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Bleary eyed this is a welcomed sight after a potentially restless night. A bowl of hot water is also awaiting as we unzip our tent door to have a hot wash and wake up properly! Breakfast is usually served at around 6.30am and at around 7.30am we begin trekking as a group. Life on Kilimanjaro.

We spend around 4-5 hours trekking in the morning, stopping for breaks until reaching our lunch stop. We take a longer break here before continuing in the afternoon for around another 4 hrs depending on the day’s distance. On arrival at the camp our tents will already be pitched up by porters with our luggage waiting, so we can kick off our walking boots and get into some warmer clothes. Our porters will rally around, working for us with well deserved hot drinks and snacks before dinner at around 6pm. After dinner our Kilimanjaro Climb Leader will brief us on the day ahead before we settle into our sleeping bags and attempt a full night’s sleep!

Glorious food… Life on Kilimanjaro.

We offer a selection of food on Kilimanjaro, You will also be accompanied by a skilled mountain cook who will take care of your well-being. He will prepare all meals, often even including a packed meal for a picnic lunch. Early morning eggs and sausages, coffee and bread, snacks and evenings with stews and salads, Serengeti Joy Tours’ cooks can create delicious 3-course meals with only a gas cooker and a sharp knife… Life on Kilimanjaro.

The tents and food will be set up and prepared for you, so that you can just relax and enjoy your trekking on Kilimanjaro, we do ensure there is plenty of food which is varied and wholesome.

Keeping hydrated…

Every day our porters will have boiled and chemically treated water and that is the first thing in the morning, at lunch and before dinner. We recommend having a 3 litre hydration system to fill for trekking and a 1 litre water container in camp, and to drink as much as possible throughout the day to avoid de-hydration. Flavoured powered energy drinks are fantastic at replenishing vital body salts you may lose during trekking. You can even create your own banana and chocolate recovery mountain shakes to enjoy at the end of a day! With this in mind, we strongly advise against any alcohol consumption whilst on the mountain. We will have plenty of time to party at the end of the Kilimanjaro climbing!

In sickness & in health…

Through sickness and in health people get to the summit of Kilimanjaro. Some fair better than others and our daily health becomes part of life on the mountain. We can all make things a lot more pleasant by taking some simple steps.

Hand Sanitiser.

Using on a regular basis prevents us picking up bacterial infections.

Food.

Taking on as many calories as we can, little and often keeps our energy levels high. Life on Kilimanjaro. Life on Kilimanjaro.

Water.

Drinking at least 3-5 litres of fluid keeps us hydrated. Our daily in-take of water can also be combined with flavoured energy mixer and re-hydration salts. Life on Kilimanjaro. Life on Kilimanjaro.

Positive Mental Attitude.

Breaking down our trekking into small stages allows us to mentally achieve every step of the way. Treating ourselves to our favourite snacks as reward along the way also helps!

Stretch & Rest.

We stretch down at the end of the day and recommend people bring some muscle rub to alleviate any aches and pains in the evenings before resting for the night.

Altitude.

A very real issue on a Kilimanjaro climb, altitude affects everyone differently. As such, we have devoted a whole section to this subject.

Summit Day…

As summit day approaches, anticipation and excitement builds, and perhaps a little apprehension. Throughout our journey there have may been highs and lows, but this is it! As midnight approaches, we get ready for our ultimate summit attempt.

If ‘Life on the Mountain’ feels like it’s for you, you can join one of our many Open Group Kilimanjaro climbs throughout the year that bring like-minded people together to share in the Kilimanjaro journey. Sign up today from just $1000! Or if you have your own private group, we can help you organise the perfect Private Kilimanjaro Trip.

If you have any questions, please send us an email to

info@tanzaniatravelers.com

www.tanzaniatravelers.com

Medical advice

Medical advice on mount Kilimanjaro – Knowing what medicine you will take before or on Kilimanjaro climbing is important since some medicine should not be taken on high altitude.

Medical advice

A Kilimanjaro medical advice kit.

We advise you to take a medical kit with you onto the mountain – as Serengeti Joy Tours, at least for the budget end, will have one. In theory many of the mountain huts have first-aid kits, but take one anyway just to be on the safe side, for you never know what we’ll have or how far you’ll be from the nearest porter when you need help.

A medical advice kit for Kilimanjaro.

A medical kit to take with you up Kilimanjaro should include the following:

  • Antiseptic cream. For small cuts and grazes.
  • Plasters
  • Bandages. Useful for twists and sprains as well as for larger flesh wounds.
  • Compeed. For blisters.
  • Elastic knee supports. For steeper gradients, particularly if you have knee problems.
  • Anti-malarials. Though you’re highly unlikely to catch malaria on the mountain (you’ll be above the anopheles mosquito’s maximum altitude for nearly all the trek), if you’re on a course of anti-malarials you should continue taking them.
  • Ibuprofen/Aspirin/Paracetamol. Or other painkillers, though do read the discussion on AMS in this website and the medical indications in the packet before scoffing these.
  • Bismuth subsalicylate. The active ingredient in Pepto-bismol, which could be useful for settling upset stomachs.
  • Imodium. Stops you going when you don’t want to go, which could come in handy.
  • Insect repellent. Useful on the first and last day, though above the tree-line the climate is too cold for most insects to survive.
  • Rehydrating powders. Such as Diarolyte. Usually prescribed to people suffering from diarrhoea but useful after a hot day’s trekking as well.
  • Lip salve or chapstick/vaseline. Useful for that nighttime haul to the summit, where the wind will rip the skin from your lips.
  • Throat pastilles. Useful, as the dry, dusty air causes many a sore throat.
  • Any current medication you are on. Bring with you all your needles, pills, lotions, potions and pungent unguents.
  • Diamox. Diamox is the brand name for Acetazolamide, the drug that fights AMS and which many people use prophylactically on Kilimanjaro. To help you decide whether you want to bring some of these with you, visit recommended Diamox
  • Sterile needles. If you are having an injection in Tanzania, insist that the doctor uses your new needles. Carry everything in a waterproof bag or case, and keep at least the emergency stuff in your day pack – where hopefully it will lie undisturbed for the trek’s duration.

Carry everything in a waterproof bag or case, and keep at least the emergency stuff in your day pack – where hopefully it will lie undisturbed for the trek’s duration.

Parking lists

Parking lists on Kilimanjaro plays big roles for summit success and the Kilimanjaro packing lists below is a selection and recommendations from our last Kilimanjaro trips. Some equipment on the list will be provided at no any cost while others will be brought by climbers. We advise you to go carefully through the list and pack as we recommend or just contact us we will be happy to help.

Parking lists

Recommended Parking lists on Kilimanjaro trekking tours and trips?

We supply the sleeping tents, sleeping pad and all eating utensils.
The following is a recommended packing list of what you should bring with you for trekking, but everyone has their own unique requirements, so you should consider this to be a suggested list only.

Clothing recommended.

  • 4 pairs of underwear
  • 1 down jacket
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 1 long sleeve shirt
  • 1 fleece pullover
  • 1 rain jacket. Parking lists.
  • 4 pairs of wool socks
  • 1 pair of light gloves
  • 1 pair of winter gloves
  • 2 pairs of long underwear
  • 1 hat with brim. Parking lists.
  • 1 toque or balaclava
  • 1 pair of sunglasses
  • 1 pair of rain pants
  • 1 pair of hiking boots
  • 1 pair of running shoes

*Cotton should be avoided wherever possible and replaced with breathable fabrics.

Equipment recommended on Kilimanjaro.

  • 1 daypack backpack
  • 1 waterproof duffel bag
  • Water bottles or bladders that hold at least 3 litres
  • 1 sleeping bag rated to -10 degrees Celcius
  • 2 Trekking poles
  • 1 set of Gaiters. Parking lists.
  • 1 headlamp (plus extra batteries)

Medications.

  • Diamox (if prescribed)
  • Anti-diarrheal
  • Ibuprofen or Tylenol
  • Water purification tablets

Toiletries.

  • Roll of toilet paper
  • Face tissuesUnscented,
  • biodegradable wet wipes
  • Anti-bacterial hand sanitizer
  • Solid deodorant
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm. Parking lists. Parking lists.
  • Hair brush. Parking lists. Parking lists.
  • Band-aids. Parking lists.

Technology.

  • Phone

Training for Kilimanjaro Trek

Training for your trek involves physical, emotional and mental preparation before you embark on a trek. Trekking falls into the category of extreme sports. Training for your trek is one of the most important things that you need to do before embarking on a trek in Kashmir. Kashmir is a high altitude area and trekking here can be difficult for those that are not in good enough physical shape or condition.

Most of the trekking routes that you’ll encounter are pretty tough, some more than others. However, on an average all of them are pretty tough because you will be trekking in a hilly area; this means that there are plenty of inclines and declines, uneven ground and more. For all this you need to be physically fit and able bodied. It’s essential that you do a bit of training for your trek.

Our recommendations for training for your trekare climbing five flights of stairs every day for at least three weeks before the trek, or cycle every day for at least an hour 20 to 25 days before the trek. This will improve your physical fitness levels, and prepare you for the challenges ahead.

ALTITUDE SICKNESS

Altitude sickness is what people suffer from the thin air and lower oxygen levels at high altitudes. Typically, a lot of places where these treks occur are at high altitude. Due to this altitude people generally feel more exhausted than they would normally at sea level, apart from this exhaustion other symptoms of altitude sickness includes a headache and nausea.

To get relief from this all a person needs to do is refrain from strenuous work and simply allow your body to adjust for a day or two, at the end of this period you should be feeling fine.

WHAT TO EXPECT ON A TREK

Essentially a trek is an extreme sport, it is designed to push your body to the limit at times and the thrill of the sport is and the conquest of the distances and the terrain. Given the fact that trekking is an extreme sport, one should be able to understand the physical demands it places on the body.

Before you go for a trek you need to consult with your doctor or medical practitioner about any conditions, ailments or injuries that you may have. You need to get a go ahead from your doctor, so that you can trek in peace.

MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL OF FITNESS

Very often a trek pushes you to the limits not just physically but mentally and emotionally. Generally, when an individual is pushed to their physical limits it has an effect on the mind as well and this in turn can influence your emotions. Training for your trek emotionally and mentally is one of the most important things that a person needs to undertake for a successful trek.

Under such circumstances an individual that is not prepared can end up facing a lot of problems during the trek. It’s always better to be aware of what it feels like to be physically exhausted and/or completely drained off energy.

Very often during a trek a member that is physically out of shape can hold up the entire team, this is why it’s so important for all the members of a team to be roughly in the same physical fitness category.

Tanzania Travelers provides you with all the necessary basic Training for your trek before we embark on the trek. However, it always helps when individuals are well prepared in advance for the challenges that lay ahead of them.

Training for your trek is something that is absolutely imperative and an individual needs to do everything they can to ensure that their capable of traveling on foot, over hills and rough terrain for at least a week

Mount Kilimanjaro Full Moon Trips

Some climbers prefer to summit during a full moon.

Summiting Kilimanjaro on a cloudless full moon night is without a doubt an unforgettable experience. The glaciers glittering in the moonlight are absolutely stunning. For obvious reasons the moonlight will also make the final night climb on your summit night easier and most of the time it will be unnecessary to even switch on your head lamp. Planning your summit attempt to coincide with the full moon dates can enhance your whole trek up the mountain and offer you some magnificent night views of Kibo from most of the overnight camps.

To summit during a full moon, a 7-day climb should start 5 days prior to the full moon date. It is not necessary to summit on the exact full moon date to take advantage of moonlight. Reaching the summit on the day before or day after is just as good.

For those who favor a less crowded climb, avoid the full moon completely as these dates attract many climbers. Another method of escaping crowds is to choose an “off” day of departure. Most climbers will begin their climbs on Saturday, Sunday or Monday.

Month
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018

January

27
15
4
23
12
1/31
February
25
14
3
22
10
March
27
16
5
23
12
1/31
April
25
15
4
21
11
29
May
25
14
3
21
10
29
June
23
12
2
20
9
27
July
22
12
1, 31
19
8
27
August
21
10
29
18
7
26
September
19
8
27
16
6
24
October
18
8
27
15
5
24
November
17
6
25
14
3
23
December
17
6
25
13
3
22

Mt Kilimanjaro Safety when Climbing

Our attitude to safety is unique in that our director is from time to time contracted by Kilimanjaro National Park Authority to conduct safety work on the mountain and to advise on route selection and accident prevention. He was responsible for determining the cause of the rockslide in January 2006 that killed 3 climbers. (See the Western Breach Accident Investigation Report, a discussion of the causes and proposed reaction of the National Park following the tragic accident of January 2006. Further information and videos are available on our dedicated Western Breach website).

Aids to safety on Kilimanjaro?

Some prospective climbers who have spent time reading the websites of other Kilimanjaro expedition organisers have asked us why, if Tanzania Travelersare renowned for our mountain safety, do we not appear to place the same emphasis and encourage the same dependence that other companies do, on the use of our safety equipment on our climbs? For instance, why do we not use our Gamow Bags as standard on Kilimanjaro, or administer supplemental oxygen en route to the summit, as some others claim to? Such enquiries – which erroneously presuppose that Gamow Bags and supplemental oxygen will ensure that a climber is safer on Kilimanjaro – make it necessary to address the matter of alleged ‘safety’ equipment that some poorly trained agents appear to be marketing as a means of reassuring climbers that they will be safe if they climb with expensive companies, and of frightening away climbers who have no background in mountaineering, from more reasonably priced competitors who often will not carry these items.

Climbers will note that our discussion of these matters is probably very much at odds with what they have read elsewhere. This is a deliberate attempt to address a serious concern we have that climbers have often been misled into believing that the presence of certain items on their kit list is effectively an insurance policy against the risk of death at high altitude. The reality is however, that of the thirty or so deaths that occur each year on Kilimanjaro, probably fewer than half would ever have been avoidable, regardless of what equipment had been carried. So while readers may have found elsewhere that climb organisers have advertised their use of some of the following items as a means of assuring climbers of their personal safety, they will please notice that we are hereby strongly discouraging climbers from any psychological dependency on hardware as a means of ensuring their safety. The mountain is a dangerous environment where at times you will breathe only half the oxygen that you are used to. Unless strapped into a re-breather on supplemental oxygen for the assault – which, sensibly, no-one currently offers on Kilimanjaro – no amount of equipment can change this fact and climbers should understand that when attempting Kilimanjaro they are implicitly accepting a known risk that statistically, for every thousand people attempting the summit, one person will die trying, or descending from the summit.

Climbers should be aware that in at least two cases in the last four years deaths have occurred within the care of reputable companies that carry hyperbaric chambers. While some deaths are totally unavoidable, some deaths are avoidable and we have at times observed that the inclusion of some items as standard on an operator’s kit list can serve to communicate to an inexperienced guide that a company’s management expects the support staff to go firm and administer prolonged palliative therapy in hostile conditions at high altitude, rather than brief pharmacological first aid followed swiftly by immediate and rapid descent to a safe altitude, and evacuation to a facility where the casualty will receive professional care and specialist supervision – as TK guides are trained to ensure. We would therefore wish climbers to understand the limitations of reliance on equipment commonly understood to promote climber safety. In short, it is not hardware that saves lives on Kilimanjaro, but rather the unhesitant implementation by highly practiced guides of tried and trusted procedures. Frequent and accurate communication with your guide, and careful self-monitoring are therefore key to best ensuring your personal safety when climbing.

The following titles cover the most of the equipment and facilities that are commonly discussed in connection with safety on Kilimanjaro:

Use of Gamow Bags / Hyperbaric Chambers / Portable Altitude Chambers on Kilimanjaro

We have seen these advised for Kilimanjaro by prominent ‘experts’ but experts with evidently nil awareness of the topography of Kilimanjaro. A Gamow Bag is a very simple portable sealed chamber large enough to accommodate a reclining adult. A foot pump is attached to a valve inlet enabling the chamber to be filled with enough air as is required to simulate a desired altitude with respect to the principle that air pressure increases with lower elevations. These devices are an excellent idea for expeditions to Mount Everest – where on the north side it can sometimes take 4 days to reach a safe elevation if evacuation becomes necessary and regular 30 minute sessions inside the bag will hopefully ensure a climber’s SpO2 is temporarily raised to a sufficiently safe level as to stave off the onset of cerebral and pulmonary oedema while the evacuation is effected – but on Kilimanjaro deploying a Gamow Bag would generally impose unacceptable delays and is unlikely to be helpful, with immediate descent nearly always being seen as preferable.

A poor quality hyperbaric chamber assembly can take as much as 30 minutes to set up and pressurize. The most likely site where a Gamow Bag would be used is the Crater Camp at 5729m. From a starting point of 5752m (Stella Point) descending rapidly with two support staff it is realistic to expect to be able to descend some 300 to 450 vertical metres within 30 minutes. A 300m loss in height usually represents a sufficient pressure increase to ameliorate a critical condition. So, Gamow Bags are good for mountains from which immediate rapid descent is not practicable, but they are not generally useful on a mountain that it is humanly possible to descend from summit to gate in 2 hours 20 minutes (Simon Mtuy, 26th December 2006).

It should be understood that Gamow Bags are designed not to be airtight and require the user to stop every few minutes to pump more air into the bag so that the pressure can be maintained. This requirement slows down an evacuation considerably. Contrast this with a recent case on 16th October 2007 in which one of our guides, Deodatus Na’alli, judged that a disabled-from-birth climber’s condition at 5200m merited immediate descent. The team began the evacuation at 0545 while our UK office liaised with the zonal park warden and we had the casualty in the ambulance by 1150, which our UK office had requested to drive part-way up the mountain to 2300m. By 1230, just 6 hours and 45 minutes after beginning the evacuation from close to the summit, the climber was receiving medical care at KCMC in Moshi. (The climber recovered fully subsequently and has since himself become a climb coordinator).

Where a climbing group has a pre-determined wish to be equipped with one of our top of the range Gamow Bags this is available at a supplementary charge of USD 240 per climbing group per Gamow Bag. Our bags are pictured above at right.

Using Expired Pressure Retention Masks in the event of succumbing to HAPE on Kilimanjaro

These masks are a standard item of equipment on our climbs and are used for the treatment of High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema. The affected climber breathes normal air through a one-way inlet valve, while expired air is forced out through a resistance valve. The slight pressure upon exhalation makes breathing feel quite difficult but results in increased air volume in the lungs with this back-pressure serving to force fluid out of the alveoli, helping to prevent alveolar collapse. Use of these masks also raises a climber’s SpO2 and is beneficial as a temporizing measure until descent is accomplished. Above at right, Deo Shayo is demonstrating the mask’s use, with Venance and Vincent looking on.

Using the Helicopter Evacuation and the Flying Doctor Scheme when Climbing Kilimanjaro

In 2006 Tanzania Travelerswere approached by Air Alpha to join forces towards a new privately run high altitude rescue facility that would involve the use of state-of-the-art Eurocopters that are easily capable of landing on Kilimanjaro’s summit or effecting rapid evacuations from the crater (5730m). The programme would have enabled air support to be with a casualty on Kilimanjaro’s summit within just 25 minutes of being contacted. Regrettably, however, the proposal was rejected by Tanzania National Parks Authority – because, we conjecture, for political considerations TANAPA requires that the job of rescuing should remain with the National Park Authorities – and so currently there is no facility for air rescue close to any of the usual locations at which evacuation is typically necessary.

Should a climber have an insurance policy that covers the Flying Doctor rescue scheme, this is of no advantage as there are currently no fixed-wing landing sites anywhere high on the mountain, and the helicopter collection points on Kilimanjaro are as follows:

Horombo Huts, 3714m (some 3-5 hours’ stretcher evacuation from the crater)Barranco Huts, 3984m (some 3-5 hours’ stretcher evacuation from the crater)Shira Huts – where an ambulance is capable of reaching in 75 minutes from LondorossiTanzania Travelershave been pressing to add a rescue point much closer to Barafu, at 4,245m elevatuion, grid 3° 7’0.23″S, 37°24’0.27″E, but as at October 2008, this was yet to be agreed by any of the Nairobi-based companies contracted by the Flying Doctors.

Tanzania Travelers are still engaged in dialogue with the Flying Doctors of Nairobi in an effort to promote the use of fixed wing aircraft that can be brought in from Nairobi Wilson airport to effect rescue from the crater within an hour, but as things stand there is no cause for optimism that progress will be made with this as the Nairobi-based aircraft companies that FD contracts appear to be reluctant to subject their aircraft and pilots to the inherent risks associated with effecting highly-specialised rescues at high altitude and in poor weather, when such operations could only ever constitute a small proportion of any pilot’s training. We do not therefore recommend enrolment in the Flying Doctor Scheme for Kilimanjaro and climbers should be aware that until TANAPA accept Air Alpha’s proposal, helicopter rescue from Kilimanjaro is not a useful means of evacuation in the event of succumbing to a life-threatening condition.

Use of Supplemental Emergency Oxygen when Climbing Kilimanjaro

Again, rapid descent should be seen as a preferable course. Once a climber is administered oxygen it is no longer safe for him or her to continue to ascend as the 99% oxygen inspiration de-activates the body’s triggers which accelerate its Haemoglobin production. We administer emergency oxygen in conjunction with rapid descent only. We carry the same aluminium canisters and regulators as are supplied to the US State Department, and in our view these are of the most reliable quality available worldwide. We would reiterate however, that supplemental oxygen is issued to the support team for use in emergencies only; not as a means of assisting a climber to the summit.

Use of a Pulse Oximeter when Climbing Kilimanjaro

This is a small plastic clamp fitting over a finger from within which two wavelengths of light are shone into the tissue of the finger. The amount of light of a certain wavelength that Haemoglobin absorbs is correlated to the level of saturation of oxygen of the blood. The resultant reading effectively offers a reliable approximation to the user of the instantaneous amount of oxygen in the person’s blood. The climber should however breathe normally while these measurements are being taken as hyperventilation and then immediately holding one’s breathe will generate a low pulse rate / high SpO2 reading.

The reason that we actually advise against the use of pulse oximeters, except where a qualified physiologist with special understanding of altitude accompanies the expedition is that all users without exception that we have questioned on Kilimanjaro have demonstrated a poor understanding of how the reading should be interpreted. It is commonly assumed that a high SpO2 is a good thing and an indication that the climber is faring better and is therefore safer than a subject with a lower SpO2. This kind of false interpretation is potentially dangerous to the climber and serves to mislead the person monitoring the climber into thinking that the high reading indicates that the climber is safe, whereas death can occur from altitude-related complications even while a climber has a relatively high SpO2 reading. What we have consistently found however is that people in poor condition will often have triggered an emergency response that will raise their SpO2 at relatively low altitudes while the bodies of athletes whose demanding habitual training regimes regularly take them beyond their anaerobic thresholds don’t acknowledge any requirement to alter their physiology until quite high up as the state of mild hypoxia is interpreted by these bodies as something that is relatively normal. A healthy and adequately acclimatised athlete can therefore show an Sp02 of 70% at Barafu (4681m) while an unfit person might have a reading of 80%. It is perfectly possible to develop a cerebral oedema with a saturation of 80%. Oximeters are therefore not usually advised as readings are only useful to qualified persons and the non-device reliant ability of an experienced guide to recognise danger symptoms in a casualty should be considered preferable.

Where a climbing group has a pre-determined wish to be equipped with one of our pulse oximeters this is available at a supplementary charge of USD 45 per climbing group per pulse oximeter.

Taking a Portable Defibrillator on an ascent of Kilimanjaro

This is arguably a good idea for someone with a known serious cardiac disorder who is determined to attempt Kilimanjaro whatever the risks. Sir Ranulph Fiennes claims that his life was saved by a portable defibrillator at Bristol Airport however we have never heard of one saving a single life on the mountain, and it is questionable whether many – if any – attempted resuscitations are likely to succeed in the crater where the barometirc pressure is typically around 500-550 millibars, and where statistically, fatalities have most often occurred throughout the mountain’s history. AEDs are usually voice-guided and very simple for anyone to operate.

Where a climbing group has a pre-determined wish to be equipped with one of our Philips Heart Start portable defibrillators this is available at a supplementary charge of USD 190 per climbing group per portable defibrillator. However in this event the request for inclusion of a portable defibrillator on a climb must be understood to imply that all participants on the climb agree to indemnify our staff against the consequences of resuscitation in an oxygen-starved environment where long term brain damage may result. Our defibrillators are pictured above at right.