Combatting Altitude Sickness

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



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 [email protected]) and i'll give you loads of advice!  



Hi Natasha !

Bit of a blonde mo but did not catch your e mail addy ! You will live to regret offering advice lol ! Me n sis panicking now after latest news of Irish Mountain Guide being struck by lightening just before New Year , roughly same time we are attempting to summit !!!! X x x


i wasn't clear.  address is [email protected]

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,


Staff member

hi there,

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.

Many thanks 


Staff member

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.




Hi Michelle

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 !!!

Thanks again


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!


Hi Michelle  

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!

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