How Do You Climb Kilimanjaro

Gear and Preparation

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is no easy task – and it definitely takes the right gear and preparation in order to complete a successful summit. Since Kilimanjaro rises from tropical to alpine climatic zones, it is important to have the right layering of clothing and equipment that will ensure your comfort and protection along the way. It is recommended to check in with an expert or guided tour to ensure that you have the right gear and supplies for the trek. You should plan to bring thermal and waterproof clothing, appropriate shoes (such as trekking boots), sunscreen and bug repellent, a medical kit, water and food, among other items. It is also important to note that it is best to begin acclimatizing to the change in altitude at least 48 hours beforehand. This is important in order to properly prepare your body for the effects of high altitude.

Choosing a Route

When attempting to climb Kilimanjaro, it is important to choose the route that is most suitable for you. There are six main routes to gain the summit – Marangu, Machame, Umbwe, Lemosho, Rongai, and Shira. Marangu is a popular route as it is known for its pleasant surroundings, as well as providing hut accommodations for trekkers along the way. Umbwe is considered a demanding route and an “extreme wilderness” experience for those who are seeking a greater challenge. Lemosho is another route that is known to have spectacular views along the way, and Machame is known for its steepness and the ability to get to the summit within seven days. Lastly, Shira and Rongai are known to frequently be taken by trekkers who are looking for a less-revered but still challenging route.

Climbing the Mountain

When climbing Kilimanjaro, it is important to take regular pauses in order to allow your body to rest and recover. Trekking at a slow, steady pace is the key to summit success. During your journey, it is important to stay hydrated and stock up on fluids and energy-boosting snacks such as fruit and trail mix. As for the physical aspects and terrain, it is best to be prepared for a range of obstacles from large boulders, to intense winds and even night-time snowfalls. It is highly recommended to rely on the expertise of a guide in order to avoid being overcome by the challenge and fatigue of the journey.

Clothing and Weather

In order to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro, it is important to dress appropriately for the changing weather conditions. It is important to properly layer your clothing in order to ensure both comfort and safety in various temperatures and locations. Additionally, it is important to have sun and rain protection such as sunscreen, water-resistant clothing, and bug repellent to protect yourself from the elements during the climb. The temperature and weather can be unpredictable at the 25,000 feet of Kilimanjaro, and it is therefore best to be adequately prepared for whatever conditions you may encounter.

Altitude Sickness

Despite the extreme beauty of Kilimanjaro, climbing it can still be a dangerous endeavor. One of the main dangers to be aware of is altitude sickness, which can affect any individual who is not properly acclimatized to the high altitude. Altitude sickness causes symptoms such as headache, nausea, and difficulty breathing, and can put a trekkers overall health in jeopardy if not addressed immediately. It is therefore advised to take breaks if needed, and to descend quickly if any of the symptoms appear. Additionally, it is highly recommended to travel with a guide who is knowledgeable on altitude sickness and can advise on proper precautions to prevent it.

Dangers and Challenges of Climbing Kilimanjaro

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro can be a both a physically and emotionally challenging endeavor. With its extreme cold temperatures, unpredictable weather, and high altitude, it can be dangerous for anyone who is unprepared for the journey. Additionally, many people find themselves struggling with moral dilemmas along the way. The only thing that keeps one going is a commitment to the mental and physical feats needed to reach the top. Climbing Kilimanjaro is both a test of one’s physical and mental capacity and the rewards of reaching the summit remain deeply personal.

Safety Considerations

It is always important to be mindful of safety when trekking in any manner and this is especially true when it comes to climbing Kilimanjaro. It is essential to be equipped with the right gear and preparation and it is highly recommended to travel with an experienced guide. Additionally, having a partner who can watch out for your well-being is also beneficial. Ultimately, safety first is a key rule that should always remain top of mind when considering any kind of hiking or mountain climbing.


The mantra “Teamwork makes the dream work” certainly applies to the challenge of climbing Kilimanjaro. Reaching the summit is no small task and having others to support you and cheer you on is one of the most effective ways to get to the top. Finding a group of friends or experienced guides to support you on this journey can make a world of a difference and can get you through some of the toughest parts of the climb.

Fitness and Strength

Since Kilimanjaro is such a challenging mountain to climb, it is important to have adequate physical fitness and strength before attempting to summit. While much of the discomfort can be alleviated by drinking plenty of water and taking regular breaks, physical strength and stamina still play a critical role in reaching the summit. It is therefore advised to embark on a rigorous physical training regimen to ensure that your body is properly prepared for the challenge.

Mindset and Mental Toughness

Climbing Kilimanjaro is not only a physical challenge – it is also a mental one. Having the right mindset and mental fortitude and toughness is equally as important as the physical aspect in order to reach the summit. Climbing Kilimanjaro can be one of the most mentally and emotionally challenging endeavors, and it will often require you to push yourself beyond your own comfort levels. It is therefore important to channel mental toughness and to stay positive and motivated, even in moments of doubt.

Herman Shaw is a passionate traveler and avid photographer who has seen many of the world's most awe-inspiring monuments. He has developed expertise in various aspects of world architecture and culture which he enjoys sharing with his readers. With deep historical knowledge and insight, Herman's writing brings life to these remarkable artifacts and highlights their importance in the grand scheme of human history.

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