UIAA doctor gives Kilimanjaro ascent advice

Mountain Medicine

A UK member of the UIAA Medical Commission has compiled an easy-to-understand document on how to stay safe and healthy when ascending Kilimanjaro. The document can be downloaded here.

Doctor Jeremy Windsor has gathered information and tips aimed at the thousands of mountaineers wanting to stand on Africa’s highest peak.

“Strange as it may sound, Kilimanjaro is perhaps one of the most dangerous mountains in the world”, writes Windsor. “Despite reliable weather and straightforward access, illness and injury are commonplace. Of the 40,000 visitors Kili attracts each year, between 50 and 75 percent turn back before reaching the summit.”

Windsor points out that cold temperatures, dehydration and acute mountain sickness are the most important reasons why trekkers have to turn back. Prevention measures are therefore the key to climbing the 5,895m mountain.

In order to prevent altitude sickness, it is important to allow plenty of time for acclimatisation during the trek, advises the doctor. He recommends using the Lemosho Glades Route, because of its possibilities for steady ascent.

In the document, Windsor also gives potential trekkers advice on issues such as vaccinations, clean water, weather conditions and the importance of quick decent when someone gets acute mountains sickness.

You can find more information and advice on mountain medical issues from experienced doctors in our Medical section.