Have you ever thought you’d like to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, only to dismiss the idea as fanciful due to your age, fitness level etc? Well … Vancouver-based BikeHike Adventures would like you to re-consider. Read on …
To offset the various prevailing misconceptions associated with climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, BikeHike Adventures debunks five central myths surrounding the world famous African trek.
“There exists a vast amount of counterfactual beliefs regarding Kilimanjaro treks,” says Trish Sare, owner of BikeHike Adventures. “For serious climbs such as Kili, it’s important that curious travellers receive accurate information to make an informed decision on whether to attempt the climb and how to go about it.” To provide safety, awareness, and encouragement, BikeHike Adventures releases this list of five debunked myths surrounding the Kilimanjaro climb:
Myth 1: You’ll Need Oxygen
In most cases, you will not need any bottled oxygen to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. There is approximately 40% less oxygen per breath at an altitude of 12,000 ft (3,600 m) compared to sea level. An emphasis should be placed on the importance of properly acclimatizing, rather than merely offsetting thin air with bottled oxygen. Oxygen is carried on Kilimanjaro treks for emergency use only and is not used routinely.
Myth 2: You Will Be Using Ropes, Harnesses and Ice Picks
To summit the highest mountain in Africa, many people think they will need ice-climbing equipment such as ropes, harnesses and ice picks. With the exception of the western breach route, Kilimanjaro is not that kind of climb. In fact, it is more like a trek, with many stretches of low graded hills.
Myth 3: The Fittest Person Has the Easiest Climb
High altitude climbing is an oddity in that speed and fitness take a back seat to stamina and endurance. In most cases, it is the altitude that you are fighting, not your apparent lack of fitness. As a result, climbers in peak physical condition are often overconfident and fail to take the proper precautions while adjusting to the altitude. Successful climbers come in a wide variety of fitness levels, but are always wise enough to move slowly and let the mountain come to them.
Myth 4: Older Climbers Have a Poor Success Rate
Mature climbers are often deterred from summiting Kilimanjaro for fear of being too old. Contrary to popular belief, older people have a good success rate. Why? Firstly, they are wise enough to forgo the competitive pursuits of youth. Secondly, they often aren’t fit enough to commit the blunder of walking too fast.
Myth 5: With Determination, You Will Reach the Summit
Although the success rate is very high, it is difficult to tell which climbers will prevail. Successful climbers are the ones that take the proper precautions in preventing altitude sickness. This is just as much a mental game as it is physical. If it happens that you experience altitude sickness, it is best not to press on. Continuing your climb in poor health is not worth the potential complications.
BikeHike Adventures offers Mt. Kilimanjaro treks on Tanzania – The Roof of Africa Kilimanjaro & the Serengeti. It is a 15-day multi-sport vacation featuring trekking, biking, hot air ballooning and a wildlife safari. Trip costs start at $4,999 USD (land only). BikeHike Adventures Inc., 200-1807 Maritime Mews, Vancouver, BC, V6H 3W7, Tel: 1 888 805 0061