Kilimanjaro Daily Routine
“What will our daily schedule look like?”
This is a common question we receive from prospective climbers. In this section we will look at the trip from start to finish. For simplicities sake, we will consider Day 1 the day you arrive in country.
Arrive in Tanzania. Once you arrive, you will process through customs and immigration and recover your luggage. A representative of Kilimanjaro Climbing Tours will be on standby to recover you and any other climbers arriving on your flight. Once everyone is accounted for the driver will take the group to the hotel to check in. Once you are checked in, you will meet with your lead guide for the trip, who will brief you in more detail on what to expect, answer any of your remaining questions you have, and establish a group meeting time for the next morning.
After the briefing, the guide will conduct a mandatory inspection of each climber’s gear. This is to ensure that each climber has everything required, as well as to ensure that the gear is adequate for the expedition. In the event a climber is missing a critical piece of equipment this inspection allows the guide time to supply the climber with rental equipment before the next days departure. The gear inspection is also the ideal time to ready your day pack for departure. Any items that will not be used during the hike will be packed into a waterproof bag that will be delivered to the porters the following morning.
After the inspection is complete, the climber is on their own to relax for the remainder of the evening. If you like, this would be an ideal time to meet up with your fellow climbers and head to a local restaurant for a final night off your feet before the adventure begins!
The second day will see the group depart for the mountain. Before doing so, each climber will eat a hearty breakfast, conduct last minute gear checks, and hand off your camp bag to the porters. Before departing the hotel, each climber will pack any unnecessary items into a separate bag that will be securely stored at the hotel for the remainder of your climb. Generally, this consists of any non-outdoor items, such as dress clothes and shoes, laptops and tablets, documents and passports, or anything else best left in secure storage. Due to liability, our porters will not carry any documents or valuable electronics in the camp bag and due to weather conditions and the extreme nature of the environment, it is recommended that items that you require to travel home or anything you cannot easily replace be left in secure storage.
Once these bags are handled and hotel check-out is complete, the group will assemble to meet the rest of the support team. The group will take some pictures and load into buses for the trip to the mountain. Before arriving at the mountain, the bus will stop at a small store and pharmacy to permit each climber to buy any snacks, batteries, or other small accoutrements they need before the final departure. After loading back on the bus, the next stop is the mountain! Once the bus arrives at the national park, all climbers will unload, grab their day packs, and meet to eat lunch together while the guides register each climber’s name with the park service, and the porters weigh their loads. Each porter will carry no more than 15kg (about 31 pounds) of equipment for each climber, so consider this when you are packing your personal gear. If it goes over that amount, you’re carrying it yourself! We pride ourselves on protecting our porters and treating them fairly, so this is very important.
As we prepare to enter the national park, rangers may decide to spot-check your groups pack for plastic water bottles, as these are not permitted inside the park. Once cleared we are off to the races! The rest of the day will see the group ascend through the rain forest on the way to their first camp, where they will spend the night. We always try to get our group into camp before nightfall on Day 1, but with so many moving parts delays do arise from time to time. Please ensure that each climber has a head lamp available, just in case the day runs long, and we are required to walk in the dark for a few miles.
By the time the group arrives in camp, the porters will have already erected your tent, and boiled water for you to wash with. Generally, dinner is close to being finished by the time we arrive. Once we have accounted for everyone, we feast! The group will meet in the mess tent, eat a hearty meal, and discuss the next days hike. Before the group breaks for the evening, a guide will conduct a brief medical check on each climber. The med check consists of a pulse rate and oxygen reading, coupled with a short questionnaire about your appetite, energy levels, and any symptoms you may be manifesting. The guide will pass any information the group needs to know for next day, such as departure times and route information, and then it’s off to bed!
DAY THREE - UP TO SUMMIT DAY
The third day, (as well as all subsequent days until Summit Day) starts with each climber being woken by a member of the support team who will bring each climber hot water to wash before breakfast. Once clean, each hiker will pack up their day pack and camp bag and load it onto a tarp before heading to eat breakfast. After eating, the group will depart on for the hike. Each day hike is different, depending on the route you have chosen. For more information on each path, please go to the routes page.
Some days may be longer than others, depending on time, you may be given a pack lunch with snacks to eat during your hike. When you arrive in camp, your tents will be set up, and lunch will typically await you. Followed by a few hours of free time and then dinner, med checks, a rundown on the following day and finally time for bed.
Also known as Approach Day, this is always the second to last day on the mountain. On Summit Day, the climbers will have a somewhat shorter day, arriving in camp earlier than usual, as the push for the summit will general begin around 11pm, or midnight that same day with the intent of arriving at the summit in time to see the sun rise. In camp, climbers are encouraged to eat, rest, and mentally prepare for the final approach, which is by far the most difficult day of the trip. Of all the days thus far, this will be the coldest. Long underwear is required, gloves and mittens are a must, and extra snacks and water are advised. Climbers should be prepared for 20-degree temperatures or even colder, often it is so cold that one’s water bottle or bladder may freeze solid, so it is a good idea to carry hand warmers.
Around midnight, the group will depart camp to begin the climb. Dependent on what camp the approach begins, an average time of 6-9 hours to the summit should be expected. The trail will be steep and consist of many switchbacks. Climbers are encouraged to keep moving and to not stop for extended periods of time, as resting for too long tends to make it hard to get re-started. Though cold, climbers must remember to stay hydrated and eat as needed. It’s a heavy exertion!
Once climbers reach the summit the guides will organize everyone for a group photo and snap individual pictures for everyone as requested. Often there are a significant number of other climbers waiting for their pics, so try to be considerate!
After pictures and a quick rest, the group will begin the descent back to the previous camp. As everyone moves at their own speed, different smaller groups or pairs will arrive back in camp at different times. Thus, the group will remain in camp until everyone arrives before descending to the next camp for the evening. Once at the next camp, evening routine recommences.
On the last morning everything will be as each morning before. The group will pack camp as quickly as possible and begin the descent to the gate of the national park. Once everyone is accounted for the guides will take everyone to the ranger station to ensure that everyone is signed out and has a chance to sign the trail log to document their climb.
After the formalities are handled, it is back on the bus and the group will depart for a short ride to a small restaurant and curio shop where the team will eat, drink a couple of beers, and can spend some time shopping in the local store for any souvenirs they may want to bring home.
The next stop is the hotel, where the group will overnight and prepare for their upcoming departure. As previously mentioned, one airport transfer is included in each climbers stay, so please ensure that one of our guides is aware of your departure time to ensure an on-time pick-up the next day.
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