Can I Climb Kilimanjaro With No Training?
While it might be technically possible for someone to climb Kilimanjaro without training, it’s definitely not recommended. The night of the summit attempt will be especially hard if you have decided to attempt Kilimanjaro without doing any physical preparation.
If you’re tempted to try Kilimanjaro without training, here are some of the top reasons you should definitely be preparing for your climb as much as possible before departing for Tanzania.
Training Increases Your Chance of Summiting
Climbing Kilimanjaro is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most people. Getting to Tanzania is a long journey that is costly so you want to make sure you train to give yourself the best chance of summiting without wasting all your money and effort.
Not training before the climb decreases your chance of summiting which can really put a damper on your whole trip.
Prepares You For Walking
Most people know that climbing Kilimanjaro does not require any technical climbing skills. In fact, it’s mostly just a long walk to get to the top. To summit, you need to be prepared to walk anywhere from 4 to 9 hours a day, and even more on the summit night.
If you don’t train, this is a lot of walking to take on. If you’re already fit and you do some practice walking, you’ll find being on your feet is much easier.
Keep in mind walking on Kilimanjaro also involves lower oxygen levels and higher elevations so even though the walking is slow, it can still take a toll on your physical and mental energy levels.
When it comes to 6-9 days of constant walking, there is an increase in injury compared to if you were just taking a simple day hike. Without training and getting your knees and ankles prepared for walking, an injury is much more likely to happen.
Training is especially important for when you need to down steep descents where you could accidentally trip or twist an ankle. Walking on uneven ground can be difficult for many people especially those that have not trained with hikes and walking outside.
Actually Enjoy the Climb
Kilimanjaro offers stunning views of glaciers, the savanna, and many other landscapes. Some routes also have wildlife that you can encounter. When you are mentally and physically prepared for the climb, you can actually focus on all the beautiful things around you rather than just being hyper-focused on getting up the mountain.
When you think back on your time climbing Kilimanjaro, you’ll remember all the scenery instead of wishing you had trained better or harder.
Better For You, Better For the Guides
I think we’ve covered why training is better for you, but it’s also better for the guides. Your head guide and assistant guides are well prepared for the climb and their main job is to ensure you get up the mountain safely.
However, when there are several clients who haven’t trained well, it makes the guide’s job much harder. They will have to check on you more often and worry that you might fall ill.
If you end up getting injured or sick, they will need to use a portable stretcher to ensure you get down from the mountain safely.
Altitude Sickness and Training
Even those who have trained well could fall victim to altitude sickness. Acclimatizing to high altitude can be very difficult for some people’s bodies.
Even though you can train and still become ill, you’ll be able to overcome altitude sickness much easier if you train because your body will be overall stronger and you will feel less exhausted because your body is used to physical activity.
If you don’t train, your body will need to overcome altitude sickness and body weakness all at the same time which can significantly increase your recovery time.
If you have other activities in Tanzania planned for after your climb, you want to make sure your body can recover quickly so you can enjoy your safaris and touring.
Test Your Boots and Clothing
The boots and clothes you bring on the climb are very important because they ensure you’re comfortable and dry while climbing in all different weather conditions.
When you train outdoors, you can break in your boots and decrease the chance of getting blisters and foot injuries on the mountain.
You can also train when it’s raining to make sure your boots and clothes can withstand the water and keep you dry.
Avoid High Medical Costs
If you don’t train, you have a higher chance of becoming ill and not being able to summit. There is also an increased chance you will have to be evacuated off the mountain which can be extremely costly especially if you do not have insurance.
If you do have insurance, you will have to file claims with them for the evacuation procedures and this can also take time and effort.
The Bottom Line
Climbing Kilimanjaro takes physical preparation and should not be attempted without first doing some physical and mental preparation. The good news is that most people summit the mountain fairly easily as long as they stay active and follow a training program in the months leading up to the climb.
Trying to climb Kilimanjaro without training will make the entire climb difficult and overwhelming. By getting fit, you can really enjoy your climb and avoid complications on your journey to the peak.