Most people in good physical condition can climb and reach the summit since it does not require technical climbing—only walking. You should be able to run or jog for 30 minutes or more without feeling short of breath. If you are unsure of your fitness, take a 6- to 9-mile hike carrying an 8-pound backpack in the hilliest terrain you can find locally. If you enjoy the experience and complete it without any serious physical ailments, you can probably climb Kilimanjaro.
The best thing you can do to ensure a successful climb is to get yourself in the best physical condition beforehand by losing extra pounds and building up your strength and stamina.
The trails are not dangerous. Many people do acquire blisters on their feet from improper or ill-fitting footwear. Always wear two pairs of socks or double –layer socks to avoid friction against the skin.
If you have any pre-existing conditions related to knees, feet, heart, respiration or vision impairment, discuss this with your physician or Journeys staff.
Age is not a particularly good factor predicting success. We have had clients as old as 72 reach the summit, and the record age of a summiter is 93. Younger climbers seem to be more susceptible to altitude sickness. According to the Tanzania National Park Authorities, the minimum age limit for trekking to Uhuru Peak is 10 years old.
Altitude sickness is always a concern. Your guides will be looking for the symptoms and offering regular and insistent instructions on how to avoid altitude problems. The most immediate treatment for serious altitude sickness is rapid descent, which is always possible on Kilimanjaro. If upon reaching the final campsite before the ascent your guide judges you to have serious symptoms of altitude sickness, you will not be permitted to attempt the final climb. Bottled oxygen is not routinely available on this climb and not included in the price of the trip. Oxygen may be available on an emergency basis or at an added cost. Read more information on altitude sickness from the CDC.
No one with a sore throat, cold or breathing problems should climb above 10,000 feet, as conditions can become severely worse.
Being in the right mental state is important. Do everything you can before the trip to ease your mind about your own physical health and to lift your stress level. Something as simple as an extra night in a hotel before the climb could make a large difference when it comes to possible fatigue during the climb.