How Does One Pack for A Trek in Nepal?

hiking, trekking, packing, Nepal, trip, travel

In about 6 days, I leave on a trip to Nepal.  Once again, I will be trekking with Trekking for Kids to improve the lives of children around the world.  This is a special trip for several reasons, one of which is the devastation from the April 2015 earthquake calls for the world’s support for this developing nation.  It has been long enough where our presence will not be a hindrance to the important efforts that happen immediately post-earthquake.  Our aim is to fundraise the monies needed to re-build the school in the remote village of Kumari, pretty much destroyed during the earthquake and still not recovered.  The school serves about 400 children and we got news this week that the building permit and plans were approved by the local authorities.  If you would like to contribute, please visit my fundraising page and donate, nothing too small (or too big!).  After we visit Kumari and spend a few days with the kids and doing some projects, we will depart to do a 5-day hike that, weather permitting, will allow me to see Mt. Everest in person.  I will not be going to Everest Base Camp as it takes an extra week that I cannot afford with work but that’s OK.  I will get to spend time with some folks I have trekked before and I am looking forward to that!

So the point of the post was to share with you how it looks to pack for this type of trek with multiple elements to it.  This is my spare bedroom, all loaded with my stuff.  Now, to figure out how to fit it in the orange bag on the left and the hiking backpack that will serve as my carry-on piece.  Wish us luck!

hiking, trekking, packing, Nepal, trip, travel

 

Top 14 Items to Bring When Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

ilivetotravel in Shira Camp in Kilimanjaro OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is quite the experience – an achievable one for most people with some training and mental readiness for the effort.  But climbing to the “roof of Africa” is also an operational endeavor!  Lots of planning for the clothing and other items that are needed, balancing need, cost, and weight.  The following picture sort of gives you a visual of the amount of stuff involved in the trek!gear, Kilimanjaro, clothing, Olympus, hiking, climbing

I have written before about what to bring as far as clothing if you are climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro but I also want to share the other items that you ought to bring along.  In no particular order, here are the top 14 items that were important for me in my hike.

1.  Sleeping bag

Get a good one.  One that keeps you warm.  Remember that some of them work best when you wear the least amount of clothing.  I know.  It seems counter-intuitive.  But it is true.  Zero (Fahrenheit) -rated is recommended.  If not, get a liner with extra warmth.  But the best is just a good sleeping bag as the liner would be just one-more-thing to get into and out of…  The mummy style works best.  You want that tapered shape instead of a rectangular one – the rectangular one has more space for air inside that will need to be warmed and that heat comes from you body.  The tapered one is better in that regard.


2.  Wipies

Oh, wipies, thou art so versatile!   Whether it is cleaning yourself after a day of hiking or cleaning yourself after nature calls – or just to wipe your hands after eating, these little suckers are quite helpful.  Take some.  Take a good amount.

3.  Pee bottle

“Huh??,” you may say.  That’s what I said too.  But, stay open-minded.  Picture this:  middle of the night, you zipped into your zero/sub-zero rated sleeping bag, in a tent, with two pairs of zippers in your way to go outside, you with little clothing on, outside freezing cold, you needing to put on clothes, shoes too, stumbling to find the headlamp so you don’t stumble outside OR, middle of the night, you zipped into your zero/sub-zero rated sleeping bag, stumbling to find the bottle (i.e., the pee bottle), then trying to carefully point/aim.  Done.  Yea, I thought so.  Pee bottle.  A tip:  Get a wide mouth bottle (improves the odds of filling it not your tent).  Another tip:  Make sure it seals tight so, when it tips over as you move in your sleep, it will not fill your tent.  Final tip:   Make it big enough.  Do not underestimate how much pee comes out in one “go” plus you may go more than once per night.  Any questions?

4.  Headlamp (with plenty of batteries)

The headlamp will be key on summit night as you start the hike up to the summit at midnight.  You will need to watch your step even if you go with a full moon.  Additionally, at camp at night and in your tent, you will make use of the headlamp.  Make sure you bring extra batteries and save those for summit night.  An extra little light bulb may be good but if the one you have is new, you may not need it (I didn’t).

5.  Pain killer

While my personal preference is to deal with the pain without the need of meds, this approach is suspended when I am trying to climb a 19,340 ft mountain, you know?  I was not sure how my knees would perform nor what other pains may arise during this week long adventure.  I only used them on the descent (not at the start while going down the scree field but after leaving base camp).  It is EXTREMELY rocky in this part of the mountain and I could feel my knees were going to have issues.  I took 2 preventive Advils and repeated once later during the descent and then with dinner that night.  Whether because of my preventive measures or not, I had only very slight soreness on my knees.

6.  Ambien

I was leery of using Ambien at altitude not knowing what effects, if any, it could have on me (other than making me fall asleep).  I had them more for the flight and my first night in-country not for the hike.  But our lead guide said it was OK and maybe even a good idea to take half an Ambien to take the edge off and be able to fall asleep in the evenings since rest was so important during the hike.  So I did and it all worked great.

7.   Hiking poles (two of them!)

Yes, this hike will be a lot easier with two, not one, poles.  Poles give you impulse as you climb over a big step and also you can push off with them as you move forward.  However, they shine in the descent:  my knees would have been pulp (more than they were) if I had not had these poles to soften the impact when stepping down over rocks.  Can’t recommend using them enough (even if you are “tough” – everyone has them) – and if you can score the ones with shock absorbers, even better!

Do try them out somewhere as the grip will be important.  I liked the foam grip and cork handle as it would feel better if my hands got sweaty either way I held it.  I could unscrew the handle to use it as a camera mount (though I did not use that feature during this hike).  Also, make sure they are adjustable:  when you go up, you may want them shorter than when you are going down when you may want them longer!  There are hiking poles at every price point so just check them out in person, ask questions, and then pick!  Or even better, borrow them from someone you know 🙂


8.  Duct tape

You never know what you will need this for and therein the beauty of duct tape:  it fixes anything.  OK, I exaggerate.  Most anything.  I roll it on a pencil as taking the roll itself is bulky.  You can use it to fix a broken backpack or to nip a budding blister before it becomes a nightmare.  You choose the color!

9.  A camera!

OK, this may be obvious.  I was trying to keep the weight down in my “carry-on” during the hike but I clearly needed a camera.  How would I otherwise take magnificent pictures??  I did make a good decision to get a high quality pocket camera instead of my regular bulky camera.  Good call – I got plenty of great photos but without too much bulk/weight.  The views and the moments are worth the camera weight!

 10.  Quick dry towel

While you are not showering for the duration of the hike, you will be brushing your teeth and, likely, your porters will have warm water ready for you when arrive at camp to wash your hands, face, etc.  The quick dry part is likely self-explanatory (when you leave a camp, you don’t return to not a lot of time for the towel to dry out).

 11.  Pad for the sleeping bag

The ground you will be sleeping on is often hard and cold.  In fact, at a couple of places it was even rocky.  The little pad the hike organizers provide for you to lay your sleeping bag on is rather thin and will not do a good enough job to add cushion or protection from the soil.  I took with me an inflatable pad that made my sleep more comfortable – and that is priceless.  A fellow hiker was going to let me use her pump but I ended up having no problem blowing up the pad even at higher altitudes (good job, my lungs).  I got to practice my forced breathing by blowing up the pad so it was good all-around!  (I did HATE every morning deflating it and folding it up…)

12.  Notepad

You may want to bring something to write on as you will have a lot of time at camp after a day’s hike and you may have things from the day to jot down so you don’t forget.  I wrote down start/end times, hours walked, and even what I ate.  I also took notes on funny things or things I experienced – not quite a diary, just quick notes.  On the topic of a lot of time at night, you may want to bring anything else that may amuse you (cards, Sudoku sheets, etc.) but don’t add too much weight to your bag!

13.  Water purification method

Water is boiled at camp but that is only for cooking.  It takes too long to boil water at altitude and your porters will not be able to boil water for you to drink.  You will need to bring your own purification solution of which there are several options (purification tablets, ultraviolet radiation, etc.).  The tablets, such as iodine tablets, are lighter to carry but you have to wait before the water is ready to drink and the iodine causes an odd taste.  SteriPENs are a portable ultraviolet radiation option that is quick and easy.  I had brought the tablets but others had SteriPENs in the group and I quickly realized how much better the SteriPEN approach was.  They all offered the rest of the group their SteriPENs so I traded using one of the hiker’s SteriPEN for sterilizing her water bottles in return – a win win!  Just know they can be temperamental and be sure to bring enough batteries!

 

14.  But the most important item…

Hopefully, this list has been helpful so far – if you have any questions on the above items or any other, feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you.  While the list is not all-inclusive, it is the list of the items I most appreciated having with me.  However, the most important item I brought along was… a photo of my family.  This photo went with me to the summit which meant they went up Kilimanjaro too, with me…

Uhuru Peak, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, hiking, climbing, Olympus

Want to read how the hike went?  Start on Day 1

The items recommended are recommended for their key features, not because I have an opinion on whether they are the best in their class! 

Gear for Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro – Clothing

ilivetotravel in Shira Camp in Kilimanjaro OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Special request:  After reading the article, would you share with me via the comments what you found most helpful about it?  Just trying to learn what helps the most for future writeups.  Thanks!

Planning my hike of Kilimanjaro and the subsequent safari was not an easy task.  Good research was key.  That research took many forms:  talking to people who have hiked Kili, reading blogs or websites about hiking, talking to the great folks at REI, and the list and advice given to me by the trek organizer (Trekking for Kids).  In the end, I still had many decisions to make on what felt could be important things.

So, this post is geared (sic) to those contemplating climbing Kilimanjaro to reach its peak:  Uhuru Peak, an adventure that requires both cold and hot weather gear.  I will attempt, as an amateur, to share over a couple of posts what made it to my packing list and how it helped.  This post will focus on clothing.  If you are reading this and planning a similar trek, please feel free to leave any questions as comments and I will reply and try to help.  In addition, should you have other suggested items or even better suggestions than mine, please share!

Before I get on to that, a few key items:

  • I did a safari after the hike so I include in the list things for that very different experience.
  • Kili has multiple climate zones ranging from hot to extreme cold.
  • I am not laying out all the options possible, especially in clothing, but will share what all the advice led me to.
  • I did write about my 7 top items to take on this hike.  It was a high-level view of the question but hopefully this will get more details!

Clothing – Lower Body

From the bottom up:

  • Hiking boots – Get good ones and do your practice hikes with them so you break them in well.  Otherwise you may suffer more during the hike, including dreadful blisters.  Some folks went for shoes that were more like hiking shoes but I like the safety of the ankle support since I am bound to get sloppy and then twist my ankle when tired.  The following are some boots that read well from the product descriptions (mine were REI waterproof hiking boots from a long-time ago so no image at Amazon for them!) – study these and keep in mind that waterproof and comfort reign supreme in terms of choosing one.


  • Gaiters – These help keep mud and scree from doing a number on you.  You will need them at summit for sure and probably on the first day if it has rained recently (it had not for us so I did not use them that day).
  • Socks – Socks for the hike and the safari were very different types.  For the latter, you may not need to be told what to get.  But for the former, remember to use a liner to wick moisture from the feet and then woolen socks over them.  For summiting or the colder days, you need very thick woolen socks.  I was still a little cold in my feet even with the sturdiest of these.
  • Pants – A rainproof outer shell was a must to avoid getting soaked.  However, it does not need to keep you warm (I used under layers to handle the cold).  The outer shell is about rain and, also, wind.  I got a hard shell (you can get a soft shell instead if you want).  When I was not using the outer shell (which was most of the time), I used hiking pants as my exterior layer.  Zip-off (convertible) hiking pants are great for quick adaptability if it gets too hot during the day but also because I could save carrying pairs of shorts for the safari later 🙂  The following are sample hard shell pants – showing you a range but a key feature that I like are the long side zippers to facilitate quick putting-them-on (the Eddie Bauer ones have it).  The STORMTECH ones have gaiters.  Read through all the details of each – bottom line:  wind-proof and water-proof! On the convertible hiking pants shown, they both look basic but basic is fine with me. Mine were the basic REI ones and they worked well enough for me! (NOTE:  When it says “My Picks” below and in other sections, that is text I cannot change.  I show these as illustrative items not as my picks per se.)


  • Base layer for the legs – Base layers (long leggings) made from merino wool (the best) will be important to keep me warm.  This layer, given the material, will also keep odors from building up which makes them re-usable for more than one day (saving the load of what needs to be carried by the porters and taken in my luggage on the trip to/from Africa).  You can use polypropylene for this layer but I hear merino wool just performs better.  On summit day, you may need two layers of base layer.  I wore two under the hiking pants and then the hard shell on the outside.  I was consistently told before the trip that silk is about the best material to help retain warmth next to the skin.  I was surprised when I heard that.  I just happened to have this pair of silk leggings but, once on Tanzania, our lead guide told me to use the two merino layers I had instead of the silk pair and one merino pair.  It worked well enough for me on summit night!
  • Shorts for safari – I wore shorts during the safari (the zip-off hiking pants and an extra pair) but I also did wear my full hiking pants to better protect me from the sun (and bugs, I suppose).  Of course, shorts will also be things you wear in the evening or when exploring towns.

Clothing – Upper Body

  • Base layer– The upper body layering approach is much like the lower body’s.  I used base layers for the colder days – again merino wool.  Usually one but two on summit night!
  • Mid layer – I got a merino wool mid-layer to have for the evenings at camps lower than base camp. On summit night, this jacket would serve as the mid layer between the skin-hugging base layers and the outer layers I will mention next. Of the ones I show below, the Tasc one is interesting as it mixes their signature bamboo fabric with merino wool; I am a fan of their regular bamboo fabric shirts so I am curious how this one would work. The Icebreaker one has the power of one of the best-known and valued brands in terms of quality of the merino wool. Normally that means a higher price point but this one seems quite reasonable. The SmartWool brand, in my short years of serious hiking, has proven to be a good and reliable one; so theirs is worth reading more about when selecting a mid layer top. Finally, the Duofold is mainly polyester and only 11% wool. I include it as a caution that when you search and include the term “wool,” you need to make sure you read the product details as it may not be truly all or mostly wool!


  • Outer layers – For lower altitudes, a regular long sleeve CoolMax shirt.  If needed, a base layer under it.  I had a hard shell for rain and wind.  I also had a synthetic down jacket which was great because it was very compact when packed.  I could use it in the evenings while at camp on cold nights and, of course, on summit night.  To summarize for summit night:  two merino wool base layers, the merino wool light jacket, the hard shell (for wind, not rain), and the synthetic down jacket – which I was not wearing at the beginning of the ascent but which I wore during breaks and once it got too cold even while moving.
  • Shirts for safari – I had quick-dry short sleeve shirts that also had side vents – very comfortable in warm weather and preventing odors from building up…
  • Head- and neck- gear –  I used different items to cover my head from the cold and from the sun – both very important.  A typical sun hat to protect against the sun (with a rim) was a very good idea.  A skull cap was one of the items I used in cold weather.  In very windy or in rainy conditions, the hood from the hard shell helped a good deal.  I also had a buff which I used when the skull cap seemed like a little much.  In fact, the buff served many purposes, like loosely hanging around my neck to avoid burning up when in the sun.  I also used it to cover my mouth and nose when it got dusty on the trail or in the safari.  Finally, I brought a balaclava for summit night.  It would offer lots of protection with only a small space open to look out.  I could also just use it around my neck (would keep it warmer than the buff would).  So quite a few options!
  • Outer gloves –  You are going to want some extreme gloves! The gloves should be waterproof because you don’t want gloves getting wet where it is cold! And some good heavy duty insulation (e.g., PrimaLoft). You will still need liners underneath (you would think an extreme glove would be enough…).  My fingertips were still a little cold on summit night even with the liners! But that eventually passed as I entered “the zone” (read how summit night unfolded!)  You also need to decide on the type: mitt or separate-fingers. For that outer layer of gloves, I chose mitt. Plus: less “surface” exposed to the outside, so keeps more warmth around your fingers. Minus: Lower usability of your fingers since they cannot move independently. However, my rationale for mitts was that most of the time, I would be holding hiking poles in my hands during the ascent and for that, the mitt grip worked. Once I wanted to reach for tissues or take a photo, yes, I would have to take the mitts off but that was not a big deal. Even fingered style gloves may have been too thick for some of these motions.
  • Liners – I only used the extreme gloves summit night but the liners I used a lot on the days and evenings prior to summit night.  Maybe bring two pairs of liners of different thicknesses, or one pair of liners and one pair of lighter gloves.  The Grabber hand warmer thingies that generate some heat can be helpful though they do not always seem to generate the same level of heat at high altitude.  Nevertheless, any heat helps so you may want to bring some.

Clothing – sleep time

OK, do I really think you need help with this?  No and yes.  No, because sleep wear is such a personal comfort thing.  But yes because part of it is slightly counter-intuitive.  When you are sleeping in the super-cold weather sleeping bag at night at the higher altitudes and on colder nights, the less you wear, THE BETTER.  No, no, nothing kinky about that statement.  Simply the interior of the super-cold weather sleeping bag will make you feel your own body heat warming you as it leaves your body.  So the more clothing you wear, the less your body heat will work with the sleeping bag to keep you warm.  Other than that, keep the jackets, pants, etc. close to the sleeping bag because when you wake up in the middle of the night to relieve yourself (and, trust me, you WILL if you are taking Diamox), you will need to put those on because you will not be able to go outside in your “sleepwear”!

ilivetotravel Shira Camp with Mt. Kilimanjaro Olympus camera

A happy if tired hiker by his tent and the roof of Africa!  Wearing the merino wool mid layer and the synthetic down jacket.

Can I help you any more?

So, this is the run-down of the clothing for a hike of Mt. Kilimanjaro.  These are the things I got and used on the hike (and on the subsequent safari) and they served me very well.  Others may have different opinions or additional suggestions and I hope they will share those here.  Finally, I hope if you were not considering hiking Kili or were uncertain, check out my other posts on the topic (which I list below) and know that it is fairly attainable with good training and preparation!

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Day 1 of the hike

Day 2 of the hike

Day 3 of the hike

Day 4 of the hike

Day 5 of the hike

Day 6 of the hike (summit night!)

Day 7 of the hike (going down!)

The Machame Route

7 Items you won’t see me without on Kili

Preparing to Hike Kilimanjaro: More than Training & Gear

Kilimanjaro, schoolchildren, kids, Tanzania, Africa, vista, view, Olympus, travel, photo

I sit here, two weeks before my departure for Tanzania, asking myself “Oh my, what did I get into??”.  As you may have read, I am headed to Tanzania to hike Mt. Kilimanjaro, something that 5 months I would have told you was the furthest thing from my bucket list.  Seriously.  As I contemplate the process so far, I have learned a few things and I wanted to share those with folks who may be thinking of hiking Kilimanjaro.  Conditioning and gear are two important elements,  But there is a less immediately obvious element in being prepared…

Before that:  How did I decide to hike to Kilimanjaro?

I already knew I wanted to do more treks with Trekking for Kids (with whom I trekked the Transylvanian Alps) because of the great work they do with orphanages but I was not expecting Kili would be the trek for me.  I attended a TFK event last September where I heard Len Stanmore speak about his incredible journey of extreme outdoor adventure.  His story is quite inspirational and others started talking about TFK’s upcoming trek to Kilimanjaro in February 2013 at the reception afterwards.  I was hooked.  Somehow.  Not really sure what had just happened but I was in.  ALL IN.

Besides the orphanage work (fundraising for it and actually spending a few days there), there are three key aspects for me about the hike itself:  training, gear/packing preparations, and a third that I have yet to name at this point in this writing…

Kids, uniform, Tanzania

The kids at the Kili Centre orphanage sporting the new uniforms paid by funds raised by this trek

First – Training for the hike

Fortunately, when I decided to go on this trek, I was still relatively fresh from my Romania hike and had continued exercising in general.  It makes for a good starting point!

I started more serious training by getting on the treadmill and increasing the incline over a few weeks to 15%, ending up doing this for a couple of hours.  I also used a backpack whose weight I kept increasing beyond the expected weight we would carry on the hike (about 15 lbs for our day needs; porters would be carrying the rest) .  I was doing great with this and was planning to mix in real hikes by going to small but still helpful Kennesaw Mountain near Marietta, Georgia, where I trained for the hike in Romania.  And that is when a mini disaster struck:  I over-stretched my Achilles tendons (both legs!) likely due to the imperfect simulation of a 15% incline on a treadmill.  It all seems obvious now but I had not contemplated that I could hurt myself that way – you just don’t know what you don’t know!

That set me back about 6 weeks at a point when the intensity of my training was really beginning to pay off.  (I am almost back to normal and training again at this point.)   Not only that but I gained weight due to the double whammy of Thanksgiving and Christmas falling squarely in that 6-week period…  So now I will carry even more weight uphill 🙂

Advice:  If you embark on something like this without that type of starting point – don’t fret!  Just be sure to start gradually.  Aggressive training from cold is more than likely counterproductive if not outright a risk!  That’s the easiest way to get injured.  And also, stretch even of days you are not training.  Stretching is your best ally in physical readiness.

Second – Getting in gear.  Into gear, that is.

After being in good conditioning for the hike, the next item on the list is all the stuff that I will need on the hike.  That short word “stuff” covers a wide range of things that I will need to make this a successful trip.  After getting the packing list from TFK (VERY thorough!), I did an inventory of what I had and what I needed to research/acquire.  I started staging all my items in a spare bedroom.  It looks like a mess but it does two things for me:  1.  allow me to start gathering in one place all that I will need to pack making packing later a lot easier and 2.  allow me to start enjoying the upcoming trek by seeing it shape up!

packing gear for hiking trip

The “mess” in the spare bedroom!

Advice

  • Get a good packing list for the type of hike
  • Go talk to your local outfitter before you acquire things to learn about what they recommend, what materials are out there, criteria for choosing items, etc.
  • Then proceed with sourcing the items (borrow or buy).

Let me share some more specifics about gear and packing here (for a more detailed description of the clothing I took, go here)…  But do check out this post on what I considered my 7 key items for this hike (written BEFORE the hike) and then the top 14 things I took (written AFTER the hike)!

I am happy to email you a copy of my packing list!

Clothing

Mt. Kilimanjaro covers multiple climate zones ranging from forest where one may be trudging through mud to extreme cold and windy terrain towards the top.  Guess what?  That means carrying gear to deal with all the climate zones but, most importantly, to deal with the extreme cold and wind which is far more dangerous to a hiker.  The key to all this is layers.  Not rocket science, I know.  I hear the cold towards the top is brutal!

The list I was provided by TFK was very clear on what was needed.  I went (a few times!) to my favorite outfitter and explores the options available for each category of item needed.  I have learned WAY more than I thought I’d ever learn about gear.  And spent way more than I ever thought I’d spend.  But two things help:  one, I have bought thinking of re-use especially at ski time or in future treks and, second, I have tried to borrow some items (though it has not been as much as I would have hoped for).

Advice My advice to you is to borrow, or buy used if possible, and think of re-use as you make choices on what to get.  For example, instead of buying the absolute best gloves for the extreme temperature, think of using liners, etc. so the gloves themselves can work for you in less extreme weather back at home.

Accessories

This covers a whole range of items like the hiking poles (with shock absorbers!  see here for more on them), headlamp (not only to read at night or go potty in the middle of the night but also for the night hiking we will do on summit day!), sleeping bag liner (to make it warm enough for the coldest nights), sleeping bag pad (for comfort and further insulation from the very cold ground), cameras (yes, plural:  the big one is not summiting with me – too heavy), even duct tape!

Advice:  Borrow, or buy used if possible.  Buy new if that suits you better.  However, another possibility is renting some of the items on-site.  This helps you in two ways:  not buying stuff if you are not going to be hiking/camping more than this trip and also reducing the amount of stuff you have to lug half way around the world!  However, some potential downsides of this:  you don’t know the condition of the item you will rent (dirty, torn up, etc.) and you may not find the right type for the item you are looking for.  For example, you need to be sure that sleeping bag will be warm enough.

Health/”Medical”

For this destination, one does have to be ready with anti-malarial and other items as recommended by the CDC.  I have all the hepatitis stuff from prior travels so the anti-malarial (which is taken for every trip) and the typhoid (which I needed) were on the must-have list.  But the medical category is not just the innoculations/vaccines.  Things like ibuprofen, Cipro (for the potential digestive maladies that could affect a traveler…), and maybe even something to help you sleep get on the list.  Other items, such like the iodine tablets, sunblock with DEET, high-SPF chapstick, etc. are more preventive in nature but just as important.  This list is very important and is sometimes less obvious than the gear and clothing lists.

Advice:  Do your research, ask people who have gone before (feel free to ask here!), and don’t try to save money by skimping on these items!

Third – Is it the emotional preparedness?

I will have to get back to you on this after the trip for a full report.  However, I had heard that a lot about hiking Kili is the mental strength to power through tough conditions like mud and rain, tiredness, perhaps pain, and other discomforts.  So I am thinking this would fall under emotional preparedness.  I have heard from people who have hiked it before that, in the end, this is the most important elements in preparing for Kili.  You may be fit, you may not.  Altitude sickness could keep you from summiting and that is independent of your fitness level (amazing!).  But if you don’t have some toughness in this realm, you may fall short of your goals.

We are lucky that our lead guide is one of the foremost mountain expedition leaders in the world, Luis Benitez.  He is also a Board Member of TFK!  In an email he sent the trekkers last week, he told us that the best thing to do in this category is to expect discomfort, understand it will happen, understand it starts and it ends.  All that so that when it hits at any point in the trip, you remember it will pass and you don’t let it bring you down (figuratively speaking!).  I think this is a great piece of advice that will serve ME well in these 2 weeks before I leave for this hike.

Advice:  Listen to Luis’ advice!

Final thoughts…

I am almost done doing all the things that I need to do to be ready but, in the end, it is the emotional preparedness that I am not sure how to measure.  I cannot check it off a list, like I can do with the other items on my packing list.  Yet it is likely one of the most important success factors in this trek.  I don’t know if altitude sickness will beat me to the summit.  I can’t control that.  But I sure hope I am ready enough to control my willpower and discomforts to summit or get very close to it!  Kili, I shall meet you very soon!

Uhuru peak or Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

P.S. – Thanks for all the words of support, advice, and for orphanage donations via Trekking for Kids!

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A month after this post went up, I had completed climbing Kilimanjaro and started writing about every day in the trek (7 total days) and about the route we were to take.  Check it out!

–  The Machame Route

–  Gear for climbing Kili:  clothing

–  Day 1 (and links to the subsequent days)

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