We’re happy to host the second guest feature from Forever Manchester supporters, VS Group, whose Managing Director Kevin Penman will be climbing Kilimanjaro to raise funds for us later this year. Keep up to date with his training on social media using the hashtag #KevinVSKilimanjaro, and of course donate to his climb for Forever Manchester via his JustGiving page.
So you’ve decided that you are going to climb Kilimanjaro… congratulations! Perhaps our previous article might of somewhat persuaded you…? Either way, to help you out on your epic trip, we are sharing 10 top tips that may help you with your preparation.
1. Strength in Numbers
Opting for a guided group tour means that a lot of the technicalities will be taken care of for you, in terms of the route and the logistics, allowing you to focus your energy on the climb itself.
There are many tour operators that offer Kilimanjaro climb packages to suit an array of different budgets and abilities. Take your time and do your research – make sure you go with a reputable one and choose a route up the mountain that suits you in terms of your fitness, sleeping preferences, and other factors that you may want to take into consideration.
In addition to this, the support from the follow climbers in your group can be instrumental when it comes to staying motivated and helping each other along the way up Kilimanjaro… and down again!
2. Practice at Local National Parks
Getting in as much practice before our Kilimanjaro climb is essential and will only help you when it comes to doing the real thing. There are many national parks across the UK that have fantastic mountains to train on. Some of these include the stunning Lake District and the Peak District National Park. You can get your friends involved and make mini-getaways of your training expeditions too!
3. Altitude Mask
Altitude masks can be very helpful when it comes to training for a big ascent such as a Kilimanjaro climb. They can be bought online and are designed to mimic the high-altitude oxygen conditions, which can help to train your breathing accordingly. The masks fit over your nose and mouth and can be worn whilst doing sports. Although they are not essential for training, many people attest to their benefits.
4. Mental Strength
Kilimanjaro is one of the biggest mountains in the world, so there is little wonder why climbing it requires not only physical strength, but also a great deal of mental strength. It is so important to believe that you can do it and sure enough, you will. Let your friends and loved ones know about your expedition, so they can share their encouragement and kind words with you. Think positively and get excited about the journey ahead.
5. Aerobic Stamina
It is essential that you are fit enough to climb Kilimanjaro, primarily for safety reasons. That’s not to say that you have to be on par with an athlete or anything, just that you should try to get the to best fitness within your ability, as this will massively assist with your climb. Walking, running, hiking and cycling are all good examples of activities that will boost your aerobic stamina, if you do them often enough.
6. Get the Right Gear
Ensuring that you have the correct gear to carry out the climb is essential, both for safety and practicality. The equipment that your climb will command will depend largely on factors such as the route you choose to take and the weather conditions at the time. Do your research and check with your tour operator, who should be be able to provide you with a full and extensive equipment list. Don’t cut corners when it comes to your equipment – mountaineering is dangerous and you could be putting your life at risk if you are not adequately prepared when it comes to the actual climb.
7. Break in Your Gear
Once you have sussed all of your kit requirements for your climb, you may need to prepare some of it by breaking it in. For example, it is absolutely essential that your climbing boots are broken in before you embark on your climb, or else you could get some severe blisters on your feet, which could render you unable to climb properly and potentially having to abandon your expedition.
8. Eat Right
Giving your body the right fuel is so important when it comes to strengthening and nurturing your body to prepare it for the long climb. Mountaineering is high-impact on the body, so make sure that you are getting plenty of protein in your diet to ensure that you body can repair and strengthen sufficiently. You expend a lot of calories when it comes to climbing up a mountain, so bringing high-energy foods with you is essential to ensure you can sufficiently fuel your body. That’s not to mention the importance of keeping your body adequately hydrated. Find out if your tour operator will be taking care of the food and water during the trek or weather you will need to create a customised meal plan for the journey and bring your own.
9. Physical Strength
When it comes to mountaineering, physical strength its very important. Not only because you need to be able to carry yourself up the mountain, but also to carry all of your equipment up the mountain, usually enough to last you days. Pop down to your local gym and train on the weights, rowing machine, stepper and cross trainer – these will all help to prepare you.
10. Get Motivated
It is all well and good getting your physical side in check, but what will really get you up that mountain is motivation. Many people have a motivating reason behind their climb – for example to dedicate it to a late-loved one, or even a charitable organisation that has significant personal meaning to them. Raising money for charity as part of your climb can be a really great motivating factor.