1. Don’t use caffeine at high altitude. We don’t know where this false assumption came from, but likely from the fact that caffeine is a mild diuretic (makes you pee). The concern is that it could dehydrate you and contribute to altitude sickness. This concern is unfounded unless you drink pots of black sludge coffee a day and little else. In reality, caffeine stimulates your brain, kidneys and breathing, all of which are helpful at altitude. And for those people who drink several caffeinated beverages a day, stopping abruptly can cause a profound headache. 2 .Diamox masks symptoms of high altitude sickness. Taking Diamox to prevent AMS will not mask symptoms. It works on the same pathway that your own body uses to help you acclimatize. It is a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor that makes you urinate a base chemical called bicarbonate. This makes your blood more acidic and therefore stimulates breathing thereby taking in more oxygen. It speeds up your natural process of acclimatization and if you stop taking it you will not have rebound symptoms. It is one of the main medicines doctors use to prevent and treat acute mountain sickness (AMS). 3. Physical fitness protects against high altitude sickness. Physical fitness offers no protection from altitude illness. In fact, many young fit athletes drive themselves too hard at altitude prior to acclimatizing thinking they can push through the discomfort. They ignore signs of altitude illness thinking it can’t affect them because they are fit and healthy. Everyone, regardless of fitness, is susceptible to AMS. 4. Drinking extra water will protect you from high altitude illness. Staying hydrated is important at altitude. Symptoms of dehydration are similar to AMS. In reality you only need an additional litre to a litre and a half of water at altitude. Too much water is harmful and can dilute your body’s sodium level (hyponatremia) causing weakness, confusion, seizures, and coma. A good rule of thumb to assess for hydration is to check your urine. Clear urine indicates adequate hydration, dark urine suggest dehydration and the need to drink more water. 5. Children are more susceptible to high altitude illness. Several studies have shown that children have similar rates of altitude illness as adults. No evidence exist that children are more susceptible to the altitude. If your child is otherwise healthy and the basic rules of acclimatization are followed they will likely do well at altitude. Children do get altitude illness and the main challenge in those very young is that they can’t communicate their headache and other symptoms. Excessive crying in a baby the first 1-2 days at altitude could be altitude illness. Children with AMS bounce back quickly with treatment as do most adults. Source: Institute of Altitude Medicine ^JOIN GROUP SCHEDULE DATES ^CLIMBING PREPARATION >TRIP PLANNING & CHOOSING A CLIMBING ROUTE Planning the Mount Kilimanjaro trip Planning Kilimanjaro climb with HFO Brothers prepare earlier the necessary gears for your Mount Kilimanjaro climbing at a high altitude. Bring those items that are not optional but essential for your comfort, safety and enjoyable climbing. Physical Preparations It is important that your body is adequately prepared for the physical challenges of Mount Kilimanjaro. Mental Preparations It is possible to summit Kilimanjaro successfully, before you have succeeded this should be topmost in your mind when preparing for the summit attempt. You should always remain in a positive state of mind, planning now Kilimanjaro with HFO Brothers. Travel insurance Make sure that you have adequate travel and medical insurance in Kilimanjaro. Go slowly Go slowly as it’s very important to ensure you enjoy the scenery and time you give your body to acclimatize. Drinking enough water Make sure that you drink at least 3 – 4 liters of liquid a day – preferably water. Walk high-sleep low. Walk high- sleep low” Try during the hike or after arriving to the designated camps as is essential on your acclimatization day. Climb light Climb as lightly as possible; this becomes even more important on your summit night. Extra weight will slow you down and will also make breathing more difficult. Packing You need to take enough clothing and packed items should be wrapped in plastic bags to prevent them from getting wet in case of rain. Clothes You need underwear, thermal hiking socks, gloves and mittens, warm head protection, rain coat, sunglasses and sun protection cream and hiking boots and a walking stick. Choose the outer jacket that keeps you keeping you warm, protect you at temperatures of as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius, keep the wind out and yet still “breath” Other clothing like shorts, sweaters and T-shirts are strongly recommended, especially during hiking on the lower slopes, when the day temperatures are still high. The only way to ensure that you are dressed warmly is to follow the principal of wearing the correct clothing layers, starting from against the body. Acute Mountain sickness(AMS) AMS commonly affects people at high altitude, be sure to prepare well and seek medical advice. Malaria Malaria occurs below 1800 meters and you should use the recommended prophylactics. Please consult your doctor about these. Currently, there are various preventative medication products available which will be effective against the malaria strains currently found in Tanzania. Women using oral contraceptives should consult their physicians before using prophylactics. Other useful tips Wet wipes There is no washing water at Barafu, Kibo and Arrow Glacier camps. Wet Wipes are very useful. Snacks Take enough snacks like energy bars etc. Avoid the toffee like energy bars as they get very hard and difficult to eat in low temperatures but rather but the cereal type energy bars. Sun protection Wear a good quality pair of sunglasses (with UV protection) and use adequate sun protection cream with a protection factor of at least 20+. Thermal Flask Use a thermal flask for your water on the summit night, other water bottles might freeze solid. Camera Taking pictures with a fully automatic camera at the summit of Kilimanjaro is possible, and most people do this. Keep safe your battery in your camera when going into cold areas at high altitude. A mechanical camera works just as well, provided you have the knowledge to operate it successfully. Cameras exposed to cold do not cease functioning, but remember that if you keep your camera inside your jacket and the lens becomes warm, chances are that it will form condensation when suddenly exposed to extreme cold. This condensation will freeze under conditions at the summit. Therefore, keep your camera dry at all times. Moisture freeze at the summit will cause your camera to stop functioning if it’s not kept dry at all times. Film Camera ASA 200 film is good for taking photographs in relatively little light. You might reach the summit just before sunrise and may not wish to wait due to the altitude and the cold. After sunrise, film with ASA 200 or 100 are fine. There are numerous classic photo opportunities, some of which are only available in low light conditions. If you can, and if you are a serious photographer, we recommend that you take a small, portable tri-pod with you. Also remember that it is sometimes so cold that you cannot even hold the camera steady. Water we recommend that you be on the safe-side and use water purification tablets before drinking or using purification pumps Mount Kilimanjaro Trails For Mount Kilimanjaro, climbing trails are well marked and maintained periodically. No technical skill required to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, but only some sports like Machame trail at Barranco wall where you need to scramble a bit for about an hour from 13,000 feet to 14,000 feet, top of Barranco wall.
“Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.”