Archive for April 16, 2015

10 Lessons to Learn from Kilimanjaro

There are many reasons people travel from around the world to climb Kilimanjaro. Here are 10 of the many lessons you will learn along the way.

  1. The mountain is king. There’s a reason that only half of the 35,000 tourists who try to climb Kilimanjaro each year are successful. Forget everything you think you know about how to eat, walk, breathe, or drink water. The mountain will dictate your actions, and you must treat the unfamiliar territory with respect.
  2. The guide is the master. With dozens to hundreds of successful climbs, the guides know the mountain better than anyone. Leading you, advising you, watching and encouraging you, your guide will make it possible for you to reach the top.
  3. It is a team effort. As you climb, dozens of Tanzanian porters will be there to support and help you along the way, along with your fellow climbers. Because no amount of training and preparation can fully prepare you to climb a mountain like Kilimanjaro.
  4. Focus on the goal. Look up ahead for a moment at a time and visualize where you are going. It may seem increasingly daunting, but it will continue to be a worthy goal, one to be proud of seeking.
  5. Take it step-by-step. But when the mountain looks too far and too high and you feel sure you will never make it, keep your head down and think only of the next few steps.
  6. How to breathe. Climbing from sea level to 13,000, 15,000, 19,000 feet means learning to breathe a lot differently. Guides will show you deep-breathing techniques that can see you through the climb–and even add relaxation to your life when you return.
  7. Don’t worry about the stink. Days without showers? Check. No running water? Check. Liberate yourself from the constraints of your daily life and just welcome the freedom.
  8. Embrace being technology free. When was the last time you turned off your phone? Or refrained from checking email or social media sites at any free moment? Enjoy real conversation and distraction-free relaxation to appreciate the lack of technology as you already appreciate the thing itself.
  9. ‘Pole, pole’. A refrain often heard going up the mountain, ‘pole’ is the Swahili word for ‘go slow’. Guides and porters whisper it as you climb, reminding you that slow and steady is the best way to acclimate to thin air and low temperatures.
  10. It’s all about the journey. After the long days of anticipation and all the hard work it takes to get there, many climbers only remain on the summit for a matter of minutes, due largely to the dizzying altitude. So savor every step of the way, the good and the bad, and celebrate each milestone you reach.

Kilimanjaro is considered the mildest climb of the seven summits of the world, and one that can be climbed by even inexperienced hikers. So don’t put off the greatest experience of your lifetime, plan your Tanzania visit now.

April 16, 2015 at 12:12 pm Leave a comment


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