Many people over the age successfully climb Kilimanjaro every year and they have an amazing time while doing it! If you’re 50 years old or older, you might be wondering if you can take on Kilimanjaro. You might also be curious about the difficulties you might face.
Maximum Age to Climb Kilimanjaro
There are no age restrictions for climbing Kilimanjaro, but older climbers are recommended to get a medical examination from their doctor before coming to Tanzania just to make sure nothing hinders them from successfully climbing.
50-Year-Olds and Kilimanjaro Training
Like all people who plan to climb Kilimanjaro, people who are 50 and above need to do a training and preparation program.
This ensures you have the skills and endurance needed to summit. In addition to training, you also need to ensure you stay active. This means getting in some physical activity every day even if it’s only going for a short walk or doing a 15-minute weight lifting routine.
Summiting Kilimanjaro is also a huge mental task, not just a physical one. Some people find that incorporating yoga and meditation into their training routine helps them to prepare physically.
Am I Healthy Enough to Climb Kilimanjaro?
We get this question a lot from people, regardless of their age. As long as you train for the climb and don’t have any serious health conditions, you are probably ready to climb Kili.
When in doubt, always meet with your doctor and ask them for advice.
You can also ask yourself these questions to see if you’re ready:
- Are you able to walk several hours a day for about a week?
- Are you able to sleep in a tent for a week even in adverse weather conditions like rain and snow?
- Are you able to walk in cold and wet weather for some parts of the trek?
- Are you willing to eat different foods required to keep your energy up even though they might be different compared to the food you eat at home?
If you answered yes to all these questions, you’re ready to go! If you answered no to some of them, could you change the answer to yes with the right preparation and training?
Advice and Tips
Now that you have the basic information needed to summit as a 50-year-old, here are some advice and tips to consider as you plan your climb.
Choose a Longer Route
Longer routes allow you more time to adjust to the altitude which increases your chances of being able to summit. We recommend those 50 and older choose a trek that is at least 8 days long.
Consider Getting Medical Insurance
Although emergency medical situations on the mountain are rare, it’s still a good idea for you to prepare yourself financially by getting medical insurance.
Your insurance plan should include basic travel-related incidents as well as emergency medical evacuation for 6,000 meters or above.
Choose Gear and Clothes Wisely
As we age, some of our joints become weaker making it harder for us to do strenuous activities like hiking a mountain for several days in a row.
One of the main complaints from older climbers is that their knees really bother them during the climb. If you have knee or joint problems, talk to your doctor before the climb and see if your knees are up for the challenge.
One of the main ways you can protect your knees is by getting the right gear and shoes for the trek. We recommend bringing along a pair of sturdy, waterproof hiking boots that help to stabilize your knees and ankles.
Trekking poles can also make a huge difference. Make sure you get adjustable poles so that you can change them for the different uphill and downhill parts of the mountain.
If you don’t have space for trekking poles in your luggage, Climbing Kilimanjaro rents them to climbers as well as many other items.
Invest in a Good Head Lamp
If your eyesight has changed as you’ve gotten older, you might find it harder to hike in the dark. There are some days of the climb where you might need to walk the last hour or so in the dark depending on your speed and when you reach the camp.
Everyone will have to climb in the dark on summit night as you will begin around 11 pm or midnight.
A headlamp is required for the climb and is one of the items we talk about on our Climbing Kilimanjaro packing list. Make sure you get a good quality one and bring along some extra batteries.
If you’re worried about your eyesight and climbing in the dark, you can also sign up for a full moon climb. On summit night, the full moon will light the path and make it super easy for you to see until sunrise.
Don’t Forget Your Medications
If you are currently taking any prescription medications, make sure you bring them along with you. You should also ask your doctor if Diamox, an altitude sickness prevention medication, is right for you. Your doctor will be able to give you a prescription and ensure that it doesn’t interact with your current medications.
If you’re ready to climb Kilimanjaro, no matter your age, contact Climbing Kilimanjaro today and we can give you all the information you need to get started preparing for your climb!