Acute Mountain Sickness

How Can I Pre-Acclimatize to Kilimanjaro’s High Altitude ?

Altitude training systems work by simulating the high altitudes found on Mount Kilimanjaro. The altitude training system reduces the percentage of oxygen in the air you breathe. Through regular use, the body undergoes physiological changes to cope with the lower oxygen level.

Without pre-acclimatization, as climbers ascend on Kilimanjaro, their bodies respond with short-term adaptations. These quick-response adaptations are meant primarily to prevent sickness and allow for some semblance of normal cardiovascular and muscular performance in an oxygen deprived environment.

Pre-acclimatization through altitude training systems produces long-term adaptations, such as an increase in red blood cells, blood volume, and efficiency of oxygen absorption. These adaptations help:

  • Reduce the Incidence of Acute Mountain Sickness. Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is the main reason climbers fail on Mount Kilimanjaro .  Most people will experience some symptoms of AMS. Pre-acclimatization can reduce or eliminate symptoms of AMS.
  • Increase performance on the mountain. Pre-acclimatization significantly improves the body’s mechanisms for delivering oxygen to the muscles. The result is increased aerobic and anaerobic performance on Kilimanjaro, such as hiking strength and endurance.
  • Increase recovery on the mountain.  Breathing rates and oxygen intake decreases when the body is asleep. In an oxygen deficient environment, many people have difficulty sleeping. Pre-acclimatization enables people to sleep well, and thus, recover after physical activity.


Is Climbing Kilimanjaro Safe?

If you only read one page on our site, this should be it. Climbing Kilimanjaro is probably one of the most dangerous things you will ever do. Every year, approximately 1,000 people are evacuated from the mountain, and approximately 10 deaths are reported. The actual number of deaths is believed to be two to three times higher. The main cause of death is altitude sickness. Everyone climbing Mount Kilimanjaro should be familiar with the symptoms of altitude sickness.

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