Francis tackles Kilimanjaro
I’m over 50, a little overweight, not especially fit, have misshapen feet and dodgy knees, and I’ve recently climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for the second time, got to the top, and loved every bit of it.
It was an astonishingly good trip, stratospherically better than the one I did 20 years ago, and the things that helped set it apart included the following:
Ake Lindstrom, our climb partner in Tanzania, is an expert mountaineer and has climbed close to a dozen much higher mountains than Kilimanjaro. His scientific and personal understanding of altitude and tall mountains means he offers meticulous route and climb planning.
The Lemosho route is one of many up the mountain, but it’s the best of all for scenery, altitude acclimatisation, and seeing as much of Kilimanjaro as possible. It’s a longer climb than some, giving your body more time adjust to: the reduced level of oxygen; to walking for quite a few hours each day; ascending steep slopes; and keeping up with sleep and food intake.
Well trained and very experienced staff look after you all the way on the mountain. They are the A-Team in more ways than one, friendly, fun, helpful, enthusiastic, always keen to chat and wonderful ambassadors for Tanzania too. Their help and support gives us a 98% success rate for Kilimanjaro climbs.
This is what Ake and his team provide on every climb:
- Spacious tents, (designed for three but to accommodate two) big enough to stand up in
- Camp beds instead of just mattresses on the floor and excellent sleeping bags with liners
- A tent with a chemical loo, so you don’t have to use the public loos in the camp sites (they are pretty awful in most cases)
- A wash tent and the option of a hot shower each day
- Three cooked meals a day, even breakfast and lunch feature something hot and freshly cooked
- Hot drinks ad lib, a plentiful supply of safe drinking water, and snacks all day
- A comprehensive safety kit, and a unique twice daily monitoring system to ensure clients are staying healthy and coping with the increasing altitude.
- A spacious and cosy dining tent with tables and chairs
Essentially, you just turn up with your own clothes and everything else is taken care of. We had a team of 48, including three guides, looking after six of us. Kilimanjaro is a very beautiful mountain, with fascinating flora and fauna, complex and intriguing geology, and reaching the summit is a truly rewarding feat. If I can do it, then anyone can.