Kilimanjaro isn’t technically challenging, but at 19,341′, the altitude is.
Almost every climber will experience some of the effects of altitude. Despite what you may have heard, there’s no way to “train” for this, and your fitness level does not affect your chance of experiencing these symptoms. Instead, it’s best to stay informed on what to expect and how to overcome any discomfort you may experience.
What Can Happen at Altitude?
As you gain elevation, air pressure drops, causing your body to work harder to perform basic functions. Side effects range in severity:
- Minor. Low appetite, nausea, and headaches are common effects of altitude.
- Moderate. AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) is a rare but dangerous side effect of altitude.
- Severe. High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE), a buildup of fluid in the lungs and brain, respectively, are highly unlikely possibilities.
How Can You Combat Altitude’s Effects?
Thomson trekkers have a 98% summit success rate. Here’s why our score is so high:
- Longer routes. Ample acclimatization time is the single most effective tool against altitude-related symptoms, and the routes we offer are 6+ days.
- Unlimited purified water. Staying hydrated on the mountain can help mitigate mild altitude symptoms.
- Nutritionist-designed meals. Thomson trekkers are served breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day, and snacks are distributed throughout the trek. Energy and nutrients are necessary for easing the effects of altitude.
- Highly trained guides. With Thomson, your guides are trained in high-altitude medicine, and can recognize and effectively manage rare health issues associated with altitude sickness.
- Knowledgeable consultants. Before you even leave for your trek, we’ll send information on commonly prescribed medications to discuss with your doctor. Medications like acetazolamide (Diamox) and Ibuprofen might prevent or lessen symptoms of altitude.