Global Rescue’s Timothy Koeth recently ascended Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak on the African continent. Tim, an avid hiker, said his trek up to Uhuru Peak on Mt. Kilimanjaro was one of the most difficult hikes he has ever undertaken.
The summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro stands at 19,341 feet and the route up to the summit crosses through a number of vegetation and climate zones. Every year, thousands of climbers from around the globe venture to Tanzania to attempt the climb, yet only approximately 65% reach the summit.
While Mt. Kilimanjaro is regularly climbed by thrill-seekers of all ages, there are a number of practical concerns that must be considered on every trek. Some dangers of climbing at altitude on Mt. Kilimanjaro are Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE), and High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE).
AMS is characterized by nausea, vomiting, fatigue, insomnia, dizziness, and lightheadedness, primarily caused by a lack of appropriate acclimatization or over-exertion. AMS is not a severe illness and is, in fact, common amongst high altitude hikers. HACE and HAPE, however, are potentially life threatening. HAPE and HACE are characterized by headache, disorientation, memory loss, psychotic behavior, chest tightness, among other serious signs and symptoms.
While some members of Tim’s group had symptoms of AMS and general discomfort on the trek, all of those who attempted the final ascent made it to the summit. Tim attributes the group’s 100% success rate to the supporting attitude of the hikers and the expert guides and porters from Ringo Tours who provided meals, camping accommodations, and support throughout the journey.
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