Kili Weather

Kilimanjaro Factfile

At 19,340 feet, Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the only one of the seven summits (highest mountain on each continent) that is accessible without mountaineering equipment and experience.

It's the highest freestanding mountain in the world and one of the largest volcanoes, dormant rather than extinct.

On the summit, the lungs can only absorb half the amount of oxygen compared to sea-level.

The summit at Uhuru Peak is more than 1,600 feet higher than Everest base camp.

Estimates vary, but around 20,000 people attempt to climb Kilimanjaro each year. Almost half fail to reach the summit.

Friday, 9 March 2007

A swim too far

Went swimming again yesterday after missing last week's session. I overdid it the week before, learning the hard way that pushing a new form of exercise isn't a good idea. I'm not only the slowest swimmer ever; I'm also the least efficient. I expend huge amounts of energy for very little gain in distance. Seventeen lengths wasn't far but I used too much muscle power that hasn't been exercised for a long time. Maybe next time I'll heed those warnings about beginning any new exercise program gently. Just because I can walk up steep hills doesn't mean I can go straight into power swimming after only one session. Last week, my chest felt a bit like it did when my ribs were crushed by a cow. By the beginning of this week, the discomfort had eased, so yesterday I swam eighteen quite leisurely lengths without any signs of strain beyond a slight attack of cramp in my left calf. I discovered the jet of the pool's filtration system gives an excellent massage to affected muscles.

Went for an eight mile walk last weekend up Aberedw rocks and over Llandeilo Hill , which is a good simulation of the kind of terrain I can expect on Kilimanjaro – some steep sections and a long, slow climb of about three miles.

Discovered I'd made a bad mistake by only buying one knee brace when I was in London last November. Lilywhite's were selling off Lonsdale neoprene braces at half price, but I had no way of knowing if they would be effective for me at the time. So, I gave in to my mean streak and didn't risk getting one for each knee. Big mistake. I used the brace for last week's walk, putting it on my 'bad' knee (i.e. the one that's given trouble all my adult life and had surgery some years ago), and had no pain at all – the knee was fine both during and after the walk. My 'good' knee (which hasn't been all that good since it was hit by a charging ram fifteen months ago) hurt during the descent and then stiffened up horribly during the evening and following morning. The pain wore off in the afternoon, but it's obvious I need another brace before tackling any more long descents. The Neoprene works really well, giving plenty of support without rucking behind the knee. It's warm and comfortable to wear, and wicks moisture away from the skin to the surface. Highly recommended. I'll admit I was biased against it since having to wear a neoprene sling 24/7 for three very hot weeks in July two years ago, but this brace has converted me.

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