Climbing Kilimanjaro & vertigo
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Jul 27, 2012 6:55 AM Last Post By: nilsy
Jul 12, 2012 1:17 AM
Climbing Kilimanjaro & vertigoHi all,
My brother and I are seriously considering hiking Kilimanjaro in september. I've been reading a lot of blogs and stories, and the more I read, the more I want to do it :) Now, there's this one thing that makes me doubt. The thing is: I'm afraid of heights. Walking near the edge of a cliff almost makes me panic (eg: I wasn't feeling comfortable when visiting Grand Canyon last year), walking on tall constructions (e.g. Golden Gate Bridge) isn't a pleasure either. I've been reading quite some contradictions: some (even people who have some form of vertigo) say there's no issue whatsoever, even on places like Barranco Wall. Others say some climbs are not for the faint hearted.
Does it depend on which route you take? Are there people on the forum who have climbed the mountain and have vertigo (or know someone who has)?
Thanks a lot for your help!
Jul 12, 2012 2:06 AM
1I have a tiny little bit of vertigo and climbed Kili on both Marangu and Machame route.
In this respect Marangu is better for you, because on Machame Route there is indeed the famous Barranco Wall, where there are some spots that can be pretty scary if you have vertigo.
People who say there are no issues whatsoever on the Barranco Wall, are people that simply don't have vertigo and don't know what others might feel.
Jul 12, 2012 9:07 AM
2It is hard for those of us who don't suffer from vertigo to know just what might set you off. I would think that sections of the Barranco Wall might be intimidating for you, even if it didn't seem like much to me. I would also think that crossing some of the snowfield on the final push to the summit might seem intimidating to you because of the combination of footing (narrow path on snow), altitude, and visuals (i.e. looking down on clouds, etc.). You don't spend much time in either place, so that might help you.
Jul 13, 2012 12:19 AM
Jul 13, 2012 9:58 AM
4Gunter, if you suffer from vertigo you may have trouble with the Machame Route. You have to negotiate the Barranco Wall. This may or may not be a problem for you. The other route mentioned was Marangu. Many companies don't offer this route for a number of reasons. The acclimatisation for this route is the least favourable of all the routes. The trail is the same for both ascent and decent. It has the poorest summit record. Its the least scenic. This is the only route with huts, and its known as the Coca Cola route as you can get Coca Cola at every hut on the trail.
Another route that has not been mentioned in the Rongai Route. This one comes in from the eastern side of the mountain and if you take a 7 day route, acclimatisation is good. On the Rongai route you desend via Marangu.
Other than the route, the question of vertigo is often raised, and many people don't seem to have a problem on the mountain. Just stay away from the Barranco Wall and I think you will be fine. Hope this helps.
Jul 16, 2012 1:02 AM
5Thank you all for the replies!
It looks like we'll be going for the Rongai-route. I don't want to take the risk of having an unpleasant experience with the Barranco Wall, and I've also heard quite some less positive stories about the Marangu trail. The fact that we can take our time on the Rongai route (7 days) is certainly a plus: we absolutely want to make it to the top, so this is probably our best option.
Thanks to all!
Jul 18, 2012 12:08 AM
6For GuntherN -
I climbed Mt Kilimanjaro in January this year via Marangu route and I could make it despite it's poor success record. It was a decent walk till I (or we since there were travellers from around the world) reached Kibo hut. I looked at the top and asked some co-travelers from UK whether we can make it and we were not sure. It was so steep. Anyway we started climbing at mid-night (in complete darkness so no Q of Vertigo) and completed ascent at Gillman's point at around 0545 AM. From there till Uhuru peak it was somehow scary. On one side I could see loose heavy rocks within reach and on other side a smooth snowy way down to crater. Once I slipped due to snow (or ice ?) but luckily didn't loose balance completely otherwise most probably I would not have written this :)
Weather also plays a major role even if you are used to cold climates. I remember two young girls could not make it only due to windy climate at top. Temperature was less than 5 degree C but then wind played major role in making them sick and thus denying them success.
Anyway best of luck from my side. Reaching Uhuru peak via any route is itself an achievement. After all it is the highest point of a continent.
Jul 27, 2012 6:55 AM
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