Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness - Introduction and Cause
Technically an ascent of Kilimanjaro is classified as entry into the Extremely High altitude zone. Altitude is defined on the following scale: High Altitude Classification of Zones
- High 2,500 - 3,500 meters
- Very High 3,500 - 5,500 meters
- Extremely High 5,500+ meters
No specific factors such as age, sex, or physical condition can be used to predict susceptibility to altitude sickness. Some get it and others simply don't. Most people can go up to 2,500 m without significant discomfort.
What Causes Altitude Sickness?
Air at sea level comprises about 21% oxygen, while the barometric pressure averages about 1 bar (1000 mbar). As altitude increases, the oxygen concentration remains the same but since the pressure falls the number of oxygen molecules per breath is reduced.
At 3,500 meters the barometric pressure is only about 630 mbar (depending on weather conditions), so there are roughly 40% fewer oxygen molecules per breath. In order then to supply adequate amounts of oxygen to your body your breathing rate - even while resting - must increase.
This extra breathing increases the amount of oxygen in the blood, but not to sea level volumes. Since the amount of oxygen required for activity is the same, the body must adjust itself to coping with less oxygen. This process is known as acclimatisation. Failure to give your body the opportunity to undergo this process may lead to a dangerous condition known as AMS, or acute mountain sickness.
Many people spend a lot of time and money training and equipping themselves for a Kilimanjaro climb, only to fail in their objective of reaching the summit. Failure is avoidable and we really want trekkers to understand how to prevent it.
As from March 2021, PCR testing (or rather, sample-taking) is now available at Seronera and Ndutu airstrips in the Serengeti. This facility has been implemented to prevent clients having to either curtail their safaris or dissect their safaris with a journey to Arusha or, more recently, Karatu (FAME Hospital), mid-safari - so as to satisfy the "less than 72 hours old" validity rule that most airlines are required to enforce.
Arusha Pedal Series club aims to organise a group ride three times a week - on Mondays, Wednesdays or Thursdays, and Saturdays. All keen cyclists are welcome to join.
We read widely divergent estimates of deaths on Kilimanjaro, but how dangerous is it really? In this post we share our own experience of the dangers.
First of all - you can definitely still climb Kilimanjaro during COVID-19! There is absolutely no impediment within Tanzania. Issues only potentially arise with your own country's rules.
Although there is no requirement to have a PCR test for COVID in order to enter Tanzania, many climbers are nonetheless required by their airline to show evidence of a negative COVID test before boarding the flight home.
This following information is provided to reassure prospective climbers that there is a straightforward way to enjoy the incredible tourism and adventurous opportunities that Tanzania offers, while ensuring that returning home afterwards is stress-free.
Kilimanjaro’s Western Breach is a beautiful and breathtaking place but represents the most risk-associated assault route to Kilimanjaro’s summit, of the four options currently sanctioned by Tanzania National Parks.
I think the question of how much it costs to climb Kilimanjaro is a little like asking, how much it costs to buy 'a car'! Apart from the obvious question of how many people you want the car to carry and whether you want it to have offroad capability, there are more subtle considerations.
Kilimanjaro has been climbed from the park gates to the summit in a little over just 5 hours, and yet the Royal Geographical Society suggests that trekkers should not spend less than 10 days reaching the summit? So, how long does it usually take and what is safe?
While we've assisted people in their 70s, a 5 year old, amputees, and quadriplegics to the summit, and while in theory, pretty much everyone could climb Kilimanjaro, nonetheless, many people have told us that climbing Kilimajaro is the hardest thing they've ever done in their lives - and some of these people have been professional athletes (rugby players).
This area of the site aims to stay up to date with developments in Tanzania and on Kilimanjaro, and to respond to queries that arise that the main area of the Team Kilimanjaro website doesn't adequately satisfy.