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.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Slow going

No progress to report recently, as I've been busy with other projects for the past week or two. I had my second hepatitis B injection last Tuesday, so I'm now half way through the list.

I've been looking at some cheap flight sites for the trip but haven't yet made a concerted effort to finalise a booking. I have to say I'm confused by the choices offered – can't even decide which airport to leave from, let alone whether to fly direct to Kilimanjaro airport or via Nairobi then on by plane or minibus. The choice of airlines seems to go on and on. Kenya Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, Air Emirates, Air Quatr – the list seems endless, though strangely doesn't include British Airways unless I'm willing to pay double the economy fare to travel business class, which, of course, I'm not. That's an irritation because I'm entitled to a 10% discount as a BA shareholder. I've owned the shares for more than 20 years and this is the first time I've had the opportunity to take advantage of the discount.

It looks as if my latest Ebay purchase is going to be a godsend. I'd been thinking of buying a lightweight folding luggage trolley for a while, to make carrying my extra-large holdall easier (sleeping bag, down jacket, sleeping pad etc. take up a lot of space in luggage). Last week, I finally bought one, though it hasn't arrived yet. The Glasgow airport bomb fiasco will no doubt mean vehicles will be banned from dropping off or collecting people from the terminals, so a trolley is presumably now an essential piece of travel kit. I know a lot of modern luggage has built-in wheels (my own suitcase has them), but wheels are a no-no for Kilimanjaro. Kit needs to be packed in soft-sided bags or rucksacks without hard projections so the porters can carry them on their heads.

This week will be the second anniversary since I dislocated my shoulder and it's still not 100% recovered. Lifting even moderate weights at arm's length is difficult – silly things like pouring water from a jug aren't easy, and I recently discovered it hasn't regained as much strength as I'd thought; when I stayed with a friend whose bath is the opposite way around from mine, I had difficulty getting out of the tub. The upper arm muscles that were paralysed by nerve damage have regained feeling and movement, but not full strength despite two years of exercise. It shouldn't affect my climb, but I am really afraid of another dislocation. I've had some success with training myself to fall on my side or shoulder when I slip on steep slopes (a regular occurrence in my muddy fields), rather than the normal reflex of putting out an arm to save myself. It was this reflex that caused the original injury. The possibility of this kind of fall on Kilimanjaro does bother me, and is another hazard to add to altitude sickness and evil bugs from recycled aircraft air. Any one of these could put an end to a year of preparation. I have contingency plans to deal with the last two, and intend to be very careful to avoid falls of any kind.


annie said...

Hi Sar

My husband and I are also climbing Kili on the Rongai Route. We're starting on Sept 17; I'm not sure if we'll meet each other on the way there. I was wondering what kind of training you've been doing to get yourself ready. We've been doing hikes near where we live in Toronto, Canada - you can check out our blog at If you feel like sharing some training/preparation tips, please drop me an email (you can find my address on the blog).

Look forward to hearing from you.

Cheers, Annie

SAR said...

Hi Annie,

It's good to hear from someone else who is going to attempt the climb around the same time. It looks as if you'll be a day behind me, but from the schedule, it looks as if we're likely to meet up at Kibo.

I've also been doing local hikes (though probably not as many as I should)and daily climbs up the farm with my weighted daypack. I'm not sure I have any tips -- I need a few myself. It's quite hard, sticking to the training schedule alone, so I'd be happy to compare progress and updates with you.