Preparing for Kilimanjaro

 

The Guide Service

After reviewing a ton of web sites and personal climbing accounts, I chose Alpine Ascents International as my guide service. There are certainly many cheaper options. I went with Alpine Ascents for a number of reasons. I wanted a guide service that did the big mountains. If I get in trouble, I want to be assured there will be someone there that can handle the situation. I was also impressed with the itinerary that allowed for acclimatization.  Their web site was first rate and had a lot of information. I was also looking for a guide service who could provide me other mountain experiences down the road. I also liked their cybercast where they provide daily expedition updates on their web site. This would allow my family and friends to follow my trip.

So in November I plunked down my deposit. I have nothing but good things to say about AAI. Everyone I worked with was first rate. The information packet they sent me outlined the entire trip, equipment lists, insurance, passport/visa requirements, etc.  I e-mailed their staff numerous times with various questions. I generally got an answer back in an hour or two. I even sent one question in on a Saturday and got a reply that day. I think Gordon works 24 hours a day.  Prior to AAI's first Kilimanjaro trip, Allen Carbert called me to introduce himself. Allen would be the guide for this trip.  He gave me a number I could call him with questions before he left for Africa.

Training

I started a regimented training program in January.  I sort of followed the AAI training plan for Denali. I deviated by only doing weights twice a week on my upper body. In the piedmont of North Carolina it's not easy to find any "real" mountains to train on. I did drive sometimes to Pilot Mountain and Hanging Rock State Parks. It's a 4 hour round trip to these parks. The best training I did was steps at Duke University's Football Stadium. I would wear my mountaineering boots and pack with weight in it. Here is a summary of my training.

 

Running 11.5 hours / 48 miles Both me and my body hate running. 
Stair Stepper 12.5 hours Boring
Elliptical Trainer 21.25 hours  
Bike 5 hours Not a fan of indoor biking
Hiking 38.5 hours / 134 miles  
Warm up/cool down 18.25 hours  
Duke stadium steps 26.5 hours  925 rows up or 41,625 steps

Medicines/Vaccinations

I got the following vaccinations for the trip:

Yellow Fever

Hepatitis A & B (series of 3 shots)

Tetanus

 Meningitis

Typhoid Fever (series of pills)

I took the following prescription medicines with me:

Cipro  - High powered antibiotic  (did not take any)

Diamox - For altitude sickness    (did not take any)

Malarone - Anti-malaria tablets    (took 1 a day)

Sonata - Sleeping pill that really helped with jet lag, took in Tanzania first 2 nights.

Route

We will be taking the Machame route to the top of Kilimanjaro. Click on the small map below to see a larger map of our route.

Equipment

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