Subject: Re: Kilimanjaro
Hello Ziners:

I climbed kilimanjro 30 years ago and i know people who have climbed it recently. you cannot realistically acclimitize at a 'base camp' on kilimanjaro like you do on most mountains since your base camp is a town at 3000 ft. or so - the standard route allows you to take a vehicle to 6000 feet, sleep at 9, 12 and 15,000 (or so) on the way up and then 12000 again on the way down. You do acclimatize reasonably during this process if you are in decent physical condition. But you won't really know until you are approaching the third hut and especially on the summit day, of course.

So do some preparation ... hard hiking or backpacking or bicycling ... if possible, go to elevation. If nothing else you will enjoy yourself alot more.

When I went, one could pay about $30 hut fees and go on your own. So you could spend extra time at different huts if you so desired and regulate your climb. Now you have to be in a 'party', hire porters, etc and you pretty much go on the fixed schedule as i described (unless you get a permit for your own climb) and there really aren't other easy options.

That said, the climb is not bad if you are in reasonable condition. The first three days are short my mountain standards. In reasonable conditions you can be at your destination in 3-4 hours and can rest and do short hikes the rest of the day - that helps. Even the summit day is just a loooong slog. The guides will get you going real early - like 1 am (try to time your climb to coincide with a full moon - i did, but it was overcast the whole time so we barely saw it) Just don't go too fast when you start. A good guide should keep you in check - just go very slow - 10 steps and rest, 10 steps and rest - and you'll make it to the first peak by sunrise. Then you have to really commit and take 2 hrs to traverse around to the true summit. Its worth it!

You'll descend in 1 hr what took 7 on the way up. If you have specific questions respond directly.

have a great holiday season and new year

harold