You just saw someone you follow on Instagram post a photo of themselves standing in front of the sign on top of Mount Kilimanjaro. So you ask yourself, “Can anyone climb Mount Kilimanjaro?” (The second question you probably asked is “How’d they get so many likes?”)
The answer to that question may surprise you. The short answer is “probably not”. But wait, let’s look at that question a little closer. There are three areas you need to address to climb Kilimanjaro. 1. Logistics—such as when to go, the cost, whether or not you want to climb with a group or book a private climb, and the climb operator. 2. Capability—Are you able to get in shape to climb Kilimanjaro and do you really want to? What’s your motivation? and 3. Gear—Do you have all the gear required to take on such an amazing challenge?
Let’s start with the logistics. First of all, can you afford it? The cost includes the flights, which can range from $1,300 and up depending on the time of year. Additionally, you are required to get travel insurance. This should protect you in case of trip cancelation, delayed or canceled flights, getting sick, lost luggage, being hospitalized, and trekking up to 6,000 meters.
Secondly, and most importantly, You need to pick a reputable company to lead your climb. Climbing Kilimanjaro with a mid-range operator is the most economical way to climb Kilimanjaro. Sure, there are budget operators that are cheaper. But do you really want to trust something this important to an unreliable guiding company? You could spend a couple dollars less and pay for it with a terrible experience, or potentially being ripped off, or worse, getting altitude sickness and having to get medical attention while being halfway around the world.
Furthermore, set a budget for tipping. You’ll see, the guides and especially the porters are very hard working people. Without them, you would not be able to make the summit. Tip them well. You can read more here: http://www.peakplanet.com/tipping-on-kilimanjaro/
Your guide service is the single most important factor in determining the success of your climb.
You will also need to pick a time of year where you have a minimum of 10 days to go. This, of course, depends on the route. We recommend June though October or December through February. Tanzania has two rainy seasons—March through May and November.
And finally, You will want to decide if you want to join a group or book a private climb, add a safari and/or a Zanzibar extension.
Am I capable of climbing Kilimanjaro? The answer to this question is yes. This, of course, relies on your conditioning and fitness level and whether or not your body can handle the extreme elevation. Give yourself enough time to get in really good shape before you go. The better condition you are in the more likely you are to reach the summit. If your body isn’t struggling with the hiking, it can better adapt to the elevation. Also, make sure to eat and drink enough along the way. We know it is difficult to do, especially when you are cold and wet. That is why our guides will tell you to drink throughout your trek.
Of course, you also need to be motivated to climb Kilimanjaro. Social Media is a good motivator. Imagine how sick it would be to post all your pics causing your friend’s phones to blow up with all your photos…
Lastly, do you have the right gear? Here is a minimum gear list that Peak Planet recommends. Many people are not accustomed to “roughing it” so they find this list to be a bit on the minimalist side. Do your research and pack more clothes if you get cold easily. Make sure to read the materials given to you by your operator. It is full of important information. We find that the biggest mistake people make is not reading the provided material and being underprepared. If you fail to do your homework, the only person who will suffer is you.
In conclusion, the questions shouldn’t be “Can anyone climb Mount Kilimanjaro?” but rather “Can I climb Kilimanjaro?” We hope your answer is yes, and we would love to guide you on an epic trip of a lifetime.