Kilimanjaro ? Altitude Sickness
Every year a small number of tourists die climbing Kilimanjaro. What action should one take to avoid altitude sickness?
To be fit and ready to climb is essential. When climbing take your assent slowly, this will be emphasized again and again as you climb ? in Swahili pole-pole [slowly slowly]. Anyone is susceptible to altitude sickness and your guide will be on the lookout for any tale tale signs.
Before you climb the mountain, try to avoid an overnight in Moshi town. It is better to stay as close to the Kilimanjaro Park Gate as you can. As you sleep in the mountain village, your body is starting to acclimatize. If you can spend two nights before your climb all the better.
Acclimatization is the key. An extra day spent on your climb is a worthwhile. It is offered as an extra at a cost of usually US$120 per person. I would recommend spending this extra money; it increases your chance of success in reaching the top of the mountain. If you feel tired, if you are vomiting if you are passing blood tell your guide. These are all signs of altitude sickness. If you start to suffer then to get to a lower altitude as quickly as possible is the best advice. Do not hang on thinking you will be fine, get off the mountain as quickly as possible.
Once you have succeeded in climbing to the top and have taken your pictures then a quick decent is also advisable ? there will be one night only on the mountain during your decent.
To recap, a pre-night close to the park-gate helps acclimatize. Spend an extra night on the mountain to help your body adjust; and most of all do not race up the mountain walk slowly and enjoy your climb.
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