My sister and I are "attempting" to climb Kilimanjaro via the Lemosho Route 9th December 2013 . Having read lots of blogs , a lot of people take Diamox to help combat the symptoms of altitude . However , having approached my GP she will not prescribe this as has said this is only for glaucoma or seizures .
Does anyone know of any alternative to Diamox ? It would be a shame not to summit if this can be preventable .
Also , can anyone advise on the Barranco Wall ? You could say I am a tad dubious about this (got a thing about sheer drops ! ) and any advice would be warmly welcomed :0)
Thanks in advance
This does seem a shame. I did the Lemosho route in June and am convinced Diamox helped me. My GP DID prescribe it! Does your sister have the same GP? Alternatively, is there another GP in the surgery you can approach?
I found every day up much harder than expected. But the Barranco wall morning was fun! it looks daunting and i was worried about it before hand but it wasn't the trauma you think it'll be. Definitely don't worry about it at all. You take it very slowly and luckily the porters are bounding past you with luggage all the time so it is very easy to keep stopping.
I am very jealous of you having this all ahead of you! Good luck.
Hi Natasha !
Many many thanks for your reply ! Any tips you can share will be priceless and very much appreciated . Not too sure how I go about (what seems to be going behind my Doctors back lol ) approaching another GP , will have to tackle that later on . My sister and I hiked to Machu Picchu last year and only suffered from a mild headache , but as this is 6000 feet lower than Kilimanjaro I am hoping this is a good omen that we did not fall ill .
Did you take any specific equipment with you ? There is a huge debate on what is the correct jacket to wear ie down etc . How many of your group actually made the summit ?
I do have a million and one questions to ask but I will not bog you down with them all !! Have finally re joined the gym and have my induction next week as no doubt I need to get these old leg muscles out of hibernation and get plenty of training in before I even attempt to climb the aircraft steps nevermind Uhuru !!
Thanks once again
no worries. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you.
email me (my name@hotmail) and i'll give you loads of advice!
i wasn't clear. address is firstname.lastname@example.org
looking forward to hearing from you. I've got loads to tell. I'll just expect an update next year in return! speak to you soon,
I will be asking our friends at Nomad to reply to your post about Diamox, don't worry, help is at hand! They offer advice on the subject including how to get it should it be needed. We also have several staff members how have climbed Kili over the years (sadly I'm not one of them) so you will be seeing a reply to your query on the Lemosho route pretty soon too. Check back shortly for the full story.
Hi Colette - as Natasha says the Barranco Wall is fun. It's a bit of a scramble but nothing serious - the porters are climbing it with packs/water/tents balanced on their heads and generally singing all the way up. You will need to put your hands down for balance at a few points but it isn't difficult and there is plenty of support to help if needed. The rest of the Lemosho route is on decent tracks, gaining altutude quickly up onto the Shira plateau and Shira Hut, before traversing below the summit cone via Barranco and Karanga to pull up to Barrafu. If you acclimatise well these extra shouldn't be too demanding and should mean you are in good shape for the summit day.
If you would like any specific advice please call the office and ask to speak with Andy Ross, Rob Dixon or myself - Jim Eite - all of whom have trekked this route and can describe the days in detail, or help provide advice on jackets/kit.
Your doctor is quite right about the things it is licensed for, but it is now well known to be effective in a majority of people in reducing the effects of altitude and symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness. Some GPs are not happy to prescribe such medications to healthy individuals and are quite within their rights to do so. I would suggest you approach an independent travel clinic or the nurse that runs the travel clinic at the surgery. Feel free to get in touch directly for further help should you need it.
MRPharmS DipTravMed(Gla) MFTM RCPS(glasg)
Tel: 0845 310 4470
My word , am overwhelmed at the responses ! THANK YOU !!! I will certainly be e mailing you Natasha to pick your brains lol ! Many thanks to Jason @ Nomad and Jim @ Exodus too .
Can anyone tell me about the weather in December for climbing Kilimanjaro ? There is a multitude of conflicting information on the various web sites . My sister and I have chosen to do the hike on the 9th December as this is advertised as a full moon summit ( after checking we are actually doing the summit the day before ) and also coincides with her birthday on the 17th December . ( There is no greater present I could think of than to be clinging onto the side of a mountain at -20 degrees with a mammouth headache and perhaps projectile vomiting lol , what a lovely sister I am !! )
I will certainly be contacting the health centre where I was prescribed yellow fever , regarding the diamox . Huge thanks for the tip !
And finally to Jim , if I telephone your office ... I inevitibly will pester your team to tears so will hold off on that telephone call (for the time being anyway )
Thanks again , Muchas Gracias !!!
Hi there, I just stumbled upon your post! I climbed Kili in Sugust this year, though did the Rongai route. However I hope I might be able to offer some advice and answer some of your questions...
Diamox - I managed to get my gp to prescribe it (only cost something like £12 for loads of tablets!) but ended up not taking it. It was very close at times but Ibuprofen and lots of water seemed to help sure the mega altitude headache I had. This being said, I would not worry too much about getting hold of some. There were at least 5 other people in our group that had Diamox with them and also the guides had a supply. So plenty available! I gave my Diamox to the guides and porters to pass onto other trekkers on future trips who might need it. My plan was to only take it if necessary, not as a preventative measure. I think only 2/13 of us took the drug!
Kit - The porters carry and provide a very much adequate sleeping mat. Unless 2 inches of foam, covered in a thick nylon outer would not suffice for a few days do not bother bringing a thermorest or suchlike. I found the mattress provided to be lovely and padded!
Jacket - Half our group had down, half didn't. I wore two thermals, a fleece and a waterproof jacket and was plenty warm enough. You get very hot trekking.
Sleepign bag - I took an Ajungilak Compakt winter bag (google it for spec) and it was very very warm. Most nights I slept in just my undies in it (TMI I know, but you get the drift!), even at Kibo (4800m)
Poles - essential to help protect your knees!
Wet wipes - Also essential as washing is difficult. You will never be 100% clean until 3 showers after arriving at your finishing hotel after the trek!
Please feel free to reply to this, asking any more questions. It is an adventure of a lifetime and an amazing experience!
Many many thanks for taking the time to write to me ! May I ask what you carried in your day pack each day ? What I mean is when my sister and I hiked Peru , we carried enough changes of clothes for the 3 days hiking plus our sleeping mats / bags etc which meant we were carrying about an extra stone in weight . I have read that you only carry essentials on the trail as the porters carry most things but not too sure what these "essentials" actually are ???
How did you feel /cope on summit day ? Did you manage to get any rest before the midnight departure or were the nerves getting the better of you ?
Really really excited , am hoping that I will cope with the altitude as only suffered a slight shortness of breath in Peru however this mountain is marginally higher lol !!!
Hi, no worries re giving you advice. I wish I had had a lot more before I went!
In my daypack - carried a 35 litre bag but still lots of space!
Water - 2ltr camelbak and 1ltr Sigg bottle
Waterproof jacket (not that we had rain, more for keeping wind off and an extra layer), spare fleece, suglasses, gloves, hat.
Wet wipes, suncream, tissues, lipbalm
Hat - I wore a baseball cap and some took a sunhat.
Snacks - before leaving the hotel just before the trek I bagged up a ziplock bag with some treats for each day! Hahaha! I went to Tesco and bought loads of mini bags of haribo, chocolate, kids sweets, peanuts, muesli bars etc and had one ziplock bag full for each day!
The porters carried everything else and as you see them at lunch and at the camp site it's no hassle to get things from your bag.
Other things - the porters provide tea/coffee/hot choc. I only drink hot choc and the rest of the party loved it too (they used Milo) so I was really glad of taking some sachets for when the group supplies finished the day before the end of the trek. My mate also took a miniture of Jack Daniels!!!
The porters carry 10kg of kit I think per person, so pack small and light!
Now the BIG question ........ did you summit ??? How many of your group managed it ?? How much training did you do to prepare ?? AND .... have you not posted your pics on the Exodus Feel More Alive competition , tis true what they say "you gotta be in it to win it " as I have had the most amazing news and won the January prize , a trip to Everest Base Camp woo hoo !!! Blimey , at this rate I am gonna be uber fit lol !!
Yes I did summit. 10/13 made it to Uhuru and 1 other to Gillmans. 2 turned back at approx 5200m.
Training - Very little! Though I do run, swim and cycle regularly!
Well done you on winning. Yes I did enter, but not with my Kili pics as lots had already put Kili on there!
Just checked out that sleeping bag and although I have a 5 season one currently I may just invest in one as from what I have read , a good nights sleep can really make the difference between success or not ! Have just started back at the gym as the most exercise I have done of late is a bicep curl with a remarkabley large vino glass ! Am planning to rejoin my walking group when the weather gets a bit better .
Re the diamox , am still a bit unsure what to do as my own doctor refuses to prescribe it however I do need to revisit the local medical centre for some injections as I forgot to go back for my boosters after Peru. Would be a bit reluctant to take any medication that has not been prescribed just in case I took a bad reaction to it (insurance would not cover in that case ) .
Good luck in the competition to you !! Are there any trips on your wish list that you would love to do ??
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