So how fit do you need to be to climb Kilimanjaro? It's a great question and one of the BIG questions that crops when people are thinking of climbing Kilimanjaro.
Climbing Kilimanjaro or 'Kili' as it's affectionately called, is a tough, tough challenge. If climbing Kilimanjaro is your first taste of high altitude, you wouldn't be on your own. We get a high number of altitude first-timers on Kili, and most people summit Kilimanjaro successfully without any issues, even with no large training beforehand. However, it's a big challenge and tends to be very tough for them. On the flip side of that, you get the people who do put the hours of training in and the hard work, some are out hiking all the time and some are already climbing mountains and they have a far more enjoyable experience.
Fitter you are, the better experience it will be.
That's the big thing when climbing Kilimanjaro. In terms of fitness, the fitter you are the more you will enjoy your trip. I'm not saying you need to be at the level of a triathlete or running a half marathon. It really doesn't come down to that. We have had some individuals who have literally turned up having done not a lot of training at all, maybe a hike or two and they summit Kilimanjaro. They did find the experience extremely difficult but as with most challenges, In our opinion, it comes down to having the right mindset along with the right motivation but the amount of training you do beforehand will help hugely.
Get out for some multi-day hikes
When training for Kilimanjaro, this is all part of the enjoyment and build up to the trip. If you book your trip a year or so in advance, get out a couple of times a week walking, try and squeeze in a 10-mile hike every couple of weeks. One thing that makes a big difference when climbing Kilimanjaro is to do some multi-day hiking so multiple days walking in a row.
(You could join some of our multi-day training weekends in the Brecon Beacons. View the details right HERE. Great fun and some multiple days hiking perfect practice before Kilimanjaro. )
We rarely get the time to do this in our busy lives but if you can do so, it will massively help. Aim for a long walk of four or five hours then the next day, when you have those aching muscles, get out again and do another long hike and see how your body gets on with it. When people climb Kilimanjaro the day after day element does surprise people so doing this will help for sure.
As well as that, mix a multi-day hike with a night walk. When you're climbing Kilimanjaro it is all about summit night and you will be getting up at 10 pm and walking during the early hours. It's an awesome thing to do but I've seen people literally falling asleep on their trekking poles so doing a night hike or 2 before you go might make the difference for you and it's a good bit of fun as well. Don't forget your head torches of course.
So in summary, the fitter you are, the better experience you will have when climbing Kilimanjaro but don't think you need to be super super fit. It does help but keeping a strong mindset, taking it slow on the trails, enjoying yourself and keeping motivated will make all the difference when climbing Kilimanjaro.
If you need any advice on the types of training you want to do before your trek or want to use one of our own training plans, do drop us a message at [email protected] and one of the EverTrek yetis will get back in touch.
CEO & Head Yeti