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Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro

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    Title: Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro

    A guide to climbing the Mount Kilimanjaro in East Africa and a complete overview of dangers, and other health implications during the climb as well as the type of gear required for the exercise.

    Introduction

    Mt Kilimanjaro is 19,336 feet, snow-capped mountain found in Tanzania. The mountains magnetism attracts many climbers and has made it popular among tourists. The descent is not a difficult exercise though Climbing requires physical fitness and sufficient knowledge of the routes as well as a lot of planning. It requires the mental will and the enthusiasm of the climber.

       There are a number of geographically placed routes to the mountain summit. The routes have different distance and time frame to access the mountain top. Some take five days of trekking and other up to seven days of trekking. The area is inhabited by the Maasai and Chagga tribe’s while the flora harbors wildebeest, lions, elephants and gazelles (Lawrence, 2).

      Mt Kilimanjaro is a mountain which ordinary climbers can climb without necessary climbing gear. Any one who is enthusiastic about climbing and has no relevant skills or experience is fit to climb the mountain due to its peak accessibility. This has made the mountain an attractive spot to thousands of tourists. However it is important to prepare for the climb which often takes between five and seven days.

    Overview

    The concept of climbing the Kilimanjaro is basically based on the climbers understanding of the climbing analogy. This involves the examination of the dimensions and cordinates of approaching the mountain summit. Kilimanjaro’s geographic location and its summits location require a contour plot whereby any identical altitudes are identified through contour lines. The basic mental note for the climber should always revolve around gradual ascent until the peak is reached. This mental note is the physiology of climbing heights. The steepness reflects the various paths to the summit of the mountain and the response surface which is the determinant of the climbs level of challenge to the climber.

      Climbing is deemed a challenge that requires endurance. This means climbers have to maximize their climbing potential. This is only achieved through proper physical well being. This beats the huge obstacle posed by atmosphere, pace of climbing  and the possible satisfaction of the climb.

    Preparations

     The best climbing is in January up to March and September to October. This is because the weather is dry and hot making it safe for climbing. Apart from regular preparations to optimize physical well being, the art of alpinism is a source of morale. Alpinism concept involves confronting the greatest dangers with the greatest prudence.  One has to bear in mind that reaching the summit is not the prime of climbing, but after getting there one has still has to come down.

      Alpinism offers the guidance of having clear overviews of the impeding challenges hence the mental well being reduces the challenges threat since the climber hardly sees them. The concept of climbing Kilimanjaro lies within the context of keeping the summit as the key element of the objective. Daumal suggests that, one should keep his eyes on the summit. He suggests one should watch his step since the last step depends on the first.

    Warm up before the actual climb

      Lawrence Roy (2006) argues that wearing climbing boots and with a heavy pack on then hiking some heights including stairs is an essential warm up exercise for the actual Kilimanjaro climb.

    Physical fitness and weather conditions

    Trekking the Kilimanjaro requires a level of physical fitness, stamina and a realistic awareness of the potentially damaging effects of high altitudes. Lawrence advices that one should consult a physician and have a physical and all fitness check up before going for the mountain.

      Great endurance is what is described as the key to climbing the mountain. Being in sound physical condition is the most important aspect for climbers to maximize their climbing potential (A. Milton,  Mehra, Schwinger2007). The climb usually is an experience which involves mean weather conditions. The weather conditions along are characterized by bad tropical weather, strong winds, and extremely cold temperatures.

     Preparation involves exercising 4-5 hrs every day before the actual climb to improve on the cardiovascular fitness of the climber. This is known as cardiovascular conditioning.

    Basic Requirements

     There lots of requirements as advised by tour company Thomson’s. The basic requirements for this exercise include the following

    Waist rucksack for carrying water, camera, food, binoculars, sunscreen cream, inner wear and clothes, 4litres of water every day, Water and wind proof hooded jacket and a poncho

    Warm clothes and underwear, Socks or polypropylene leggings and a pair of mittens, Balaclava, sunglasses, trainers and a powerful flash light, Sleeping equipment like sleeping bags, Moist wipes and toilet paper, Headache tablets, blister plasters and also lip balm and sunscreen cream, Gaiters walking pole for the trek and climb and an ice axe plus a tent

     For recording the events of the trek essential include a notebook, pencil, and ear plugs masking tape, zip loc plastic bags, address list for post cards (Lawrence 3, 4).

    Prescribed medical package

     The area is highly prone to Malaria hence a medical kit for the tropical diseases that one could be infected is necessary. There is also a high altitude disease common when one is mountaineering. It is recommended that one should carry a dose of Acetazolamide. Other necessary prescriptions suitable for the climb are as below. Diamox is recommended so as to cope with the altitude effects (Thomsons, 2008). Aspirin, imodium, laxatives, antibiotics, bandages, malaria tablets, gauze, adhesives, betadine, throat lozenges and eye drops (Lawrence 2006).

    Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro

     There are several established routes to climb the mountain. However the most favorable and interesting is the Rongai route and the Marangu route. The Rongai route is dry and wildlife is rife especially Columbus monkeys, elephants and gazelles. The route takes a climber up to seven days and six nights. The higher you climb the better the view of the expansive land becomes beautiful. Apart from having this overview on the route its common practice among climbers to talk to the mountain, sometimes flatter it, insult it, promise, and threaten. And you’ll imagine that the mountain answers, as if you had said the right words by speaking gently, by humbling yourself. This offers convectional confidence to both the body and the mind hence an increased morale.

     Common understanding is that, the right shoes determine a climbers well being, the response surface on Kilimanjaro requires good climbing boots. The better they are the more the comfortable the climb is..

     Day 1

    Recommended time to start 0830hrs.The trek begins with first getting to Namanga border point then to Arusha at 1300hrs then at 1400hrs be at Moshi

    Day 2

    The climb begins here, the Rongai gate where each climber is registered. This is Montane forest environment. Rongai gate altitude is (1950m). Caves are within this altitude. The camp at altitude is 2600m. Climbing takes 5 hours. The gradient is not steep and the response surface is friendly.

    Day 3
    the first cave is at 2600m above sea level and the Kikelewa Cave which is at 3600m above sea level are the conquest achieved in the ascent. The best trek hours are 6 – 7 hrs in the moorlands. The mountain becomes steep, the other caves is at 3450m above sea level. The trek is now headed to Kibo.

    Day 4
    This is at the spectacular and interesting Kikelewa Cave which are3600m above sea level. The nearest camp is Mawenzi Tarn camp which is 4330m above seal level which is a high altitude.  The best time to ascend the mountain is 3-4 hours in the beautiful moorland. This is real climbing. The gradient is sharp but the grass and the spectacle sobers the tiredness.

    Day 5
    Alpinism is derived from the Alpine environment. The Kilimanjaro Alpine desert environment is where alpinism becomes functional and the concepts of mountain climbing become essential tools. Mawenzi Tarn camp is 4330m above sea marks the beginning of climbing the Mt Kilimanjaro. Kibo hut is at proximity and it is at an altitude of 4700m above sea level. Recommended trek time is 4-5 hours so as to avoid over tiring. The temperatures cause headaches.

    Day 6

    The response surface is stone scree and ice capped and it poses a great opportunity to reach the summit. However, climbers might be in problems to get to the summit if their understanding of the contour approach is not well coordinated. The best hours to climb are 8 hours to get to Uhuru which is the peak of the mountain. The climbers using the correct contour dimensions spend 6 hours to go down to Horombo. The total trek is composed of 6km ascent to Horombo hut and 21km descent to Uhuru Peak at the altitude of 5895m above sea level and the Horombo hut 3720m above sea level.
    The climbing is exciting and challenging since you are walking on rocky ruts to the Hans Meyer cave which is the resting point as you edge closer to the summit. The altitude is 5150m above sea level. The trek is heads in a spiral/zigzag path to Gillmans point which is at the craters edge. The climber is at 5681m above sea level.

      The steep stone scree requires energy, will and physical strength; the climber will climb through snow in a very steep and demanding. The climber is inching closer to the summit of the Kilimanjaro which is named the Uhuru peak standing at 5895m above sea level of the dormant volcano.

    Day 7
    From the Horombo hut down to Marangu Gate it takes 6hrs trekking down the Kilimanjaro. Don’t not to pay the porters any tips until you get the gear at the gate.  At Marangu gate you sign your name in the register and if you were one of the best you will receive a summit certificate. A green one for anyone who made to Gillman’s Point 5685m ASL and a golden certificate if you made it to Uhuru peak 5895m ASL. Get to Moshi board a bus to Nairobi you made it.

    Works cited

    René Daumal’s Mount Analogue: A Tale of Non-Euclidian and Symbolically Authentic Mountaineering Adventures, Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 2004, pp. 105–108,

    Jacarada Hotel, Visit the Kilimanjaro camps, a tour guide to climbing the Kilimanjaro. Jacaranda Hotel 2007, (pgs 1-3)

    Lawrence Roy, Tours Travel Africa, an experience, climbing the Kilimanjaro, Tours and Travel Africa consultants, 2006, (pg 1-4)

    Thomsons Travel, Tour guide, Guide to climb the Kili 2008

     www.thomsonstravel.com

     K. A. Milton, Jagdish Mehra, Julian Seymour Schwinger Climbing the Mountain: The Scientific Biography of Julian Schwinger, google books www.google.com

     

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