Kilimanjaro Selecting the Best Route

kilimanjaro - selecting the best route ©

Porter nearing the summit of Uhuru Peak - Kilimanjaro National Park, Tanzania ©

Airfare – $1200. GoreTex jacket, fleece jumper, and glacier glasses – $695. Four sleepless nights with a throbbing headache, wretching your guts out, and missing your summit opportunity – Pricey.

If we were to recommend one thing regarding selecting the best route up Africa’s highest peak it would be take your time, acclimatize properly and spend at least 8 days on the mountain.

As economical and efficient as shorter routes, such as the Marango (aka ‘the coca cola’ route) appear, recent studies have demonstrated “budget” routes are associated with poor summit success rates and higher occurrences of acute mountain sickness, a potentially debilatating condition caused by poor acclimatization due to ascending too quickly.

Consider the following excerpt from a study following trekkers on the Marango route:

The incidence of AMS for all trekkers was 77%, which is among the highest incidence rates of any trekking location in the world. In addition, only 61% of trekkers reached the summit (5895m).

Davies – Determinants of Summiting Success and Acute Mountain Sickness on Mt. Kilimanjaro (5895 m) Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, 20, 311-317 (2009)

Odds are this is something you’re only going to want to attempt once.  As the old adage goes – if something is worth doing then do it right the first time.

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One Comment

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