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Author Topic: Are hiking boots a must have for Mnt Kili's Marangu route?  (Read 9941 times)

marie

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Hi....Leaving for my trip in a couple of weeks.....will be climbing Mnt kili via the marangu route (I'm very much a novice)...and don't have hiking boots (just a low cut pair of 'high tec' hiking shoes......Wondering if I need to run out and buy a pair of boots (and break them in really fast!!) before leaving....I understand that I can rent boots there if need be....advice is appreciated. Thanks so much- M
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Mari

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Yes, hiking boots are a must.

They should be warm and fit well over light and heavy sock combination. Take time to select a pair that fits, and break them in well.
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Roger

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Hi Marie
I personally used Scarpa trek goretex and these boots went up above my ankle to give protection against twisting my ankle.    I used a poly liner sock and wigwam mountain socks. My feet were always solid and warm.  These boots had a vibram sole.
I went via Lemoshi route and for all days up to arrow glacier running shoes could have been worn (lots of porters do use running shoes)! However all climbers above Arrow glacier and up the Western Breach wore solid boots.
Lemoshi route is the best route over 7-9 days if you can.  The walk in is spectacular and not many go this way.  I would recommend Mt Meru as a build up as it is often overlooked and is a wonderfull climb. Dont forget to climb Little Meru while  up there about 45 minutes round trip from Saddle Hut.  Choose the lower route into Meru (lots of animals to see) and the direct quicker route out.
On lemoshi I would recommend climbing the Western Breach during the day and then another day at the Ash pit/crater.  Not many do this and miss something very special.  You can also trek out and away from the crater and onto/past great glaciers.
The climb up to the summit from here is reasonably easy.
Choose a reputable group though!!
Take lots of palatable yummy treats and drink heaps on the way up.
Roger
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MoT

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Absolutely - you need good warm boots, and preferably a pair in which you can wear two pairs of socks on. Ask at the store for at least 1 pair thick socks just while trying on the boots.

And I would suggest doing a LOT more research into what other gear (clothing, sleeping bag types etc) you may need. Whatever you do, don't go underprepared - no offence but you sound like you might be. (I could be wrong so this isn't flaming you or anything). I used Meindl boots when I went over - there was no breaking in required (although I wore them as much as possible for the weeks before I went). They were warm and comfortable.
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teamkilimanjaro

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Apparently, boots not necessary for everyone when summiting Kilimanjaro

This photo was taken on the summit of Kilimanjaro. The wearer had just climbed the Marangu Route in 10 hours 25 minutes. You'll notice he's wearing very lightweight running shoes and 1 pair of very thin socks only.

www.teamkilimanjaro.com/images/footwear.JPG

Regards,

www.teamkilimanjaro.com
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maubrey

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Apparently, boots not necessary for everyone when summiting Kilimanjaro

www.teamkilimanjaro.com/images/footwear.JPG


But I guess wine IS necessary! (see the bottle in the photo?)  :P I hope they took the empty down the mountain  ???
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MoT

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Harry - can you authenticate the second last post? Claims to be with teamkilimanjaro.com but yet what they recommend on their website is as follows:



Kit & Clothing That We Recommend


Despite Kilimanjaro being only 3 degress south of the equator, temperatures can drop to minus 25 degrees Centigrade. This is because every 100m of ascent will reduce the air temperature by about half a degree C.

Being prepared for this does not necessarily mean spending a lot. Having survived British weather you probably already possess most of what’s required. However, if you’re choosing to buy new clothing and equipment we’d strongly suggest that you consider our recommendations by clicking on each underlined item. As a rule of thumb you won’t do better than Lowe Alpine since their gear is developed by mountaineers for mountaineers, meaning their designs take into account pretty much everything.

Specific clothing combinations are obviously a matter of personal choice, but these items would suffice ideally:

 
-sturdy lightweight boots
-insulated jacket
-waterproof jacket
-gloves
-balaclava
-scarf
-thermal vest / base layer
(insulates when cold, wicks sweat when hot)

 
-2 pairs of warm trousers: inner / outer

 
-daysack

 
-rucksack for porter
-water bottle (a few 500ml plastic Coke bottles will suffice. Ideally, in addition bring a Camelbak or similar).
-2 sweaters (or ideally 1 windproof fleece)
-good quality socks (2 pairs worn together, 1 thin : 1 thick)
Socks always stretch and may cause blistering. Wear undersized pairs.
-sun proof hat with wide all-round brim
-UV blocking sunglasses (high altitude = thin atmosphere)
-sun cream and blue/white barrier cream (nose and ears)
-small first-aid kit (Compeed, Vaseline, lip-ice, Ibuprofen
 
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7summits

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Hi MoT & Maubrey,

well the picture is on Teamk's website, but it is not really smart. I assume this is a speedclimber, something that is not approved of by the park authorities and a really bad example for Kili climbers.

[edit: In my original post I mentioned: The gearlist and especially the comments are a load of yak****. This remark was purely pointed at the commercial links in the short list. TeamK's list itself is very good, therefore my apologies for the wording]

They are sponsored by Lowe and this outdoor store ('we strongly suggest that you follow our recommendations by clicking each underlined item'), but that should never be a reason to solely recommend their gear and say thet you 'won''t do better'. I guess they think TNF, Arc'teryx and Black Diamond are all just low quality gear producers ::)

I am sponsored by The North Face myself, and will always tell people what I am using. TNF makes great gear, and I am very happy with it. But the other manufacturers all have good stuff as well, biggest difference nowadays is just taste, price and marketing.

Most importantly, to get back to the subject: you need warm boots that can stand snow. So leather or goretex (or both). It will be cold at summitnight and you might slog through some fresh, soft snow. So boots should keep your feet warm. I never use 2 pairs of socks as they recommend, not even on Denali or Everest, as it is a good recipy for blisters, but this is personal, if you adjust your socks regularly, it might work.

Cheers,
Harry 8)
« Last Edit: Aug 14 2005, 01:20 by 7summits »
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teamkilimanjaro

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Esteemed friends at 7Summits,

You necessarily invite comment from us:

"I assume this is a speedclimber, something that is not approved of by the park authorities"

This is a slightly misleading, and perhaps poorly informed, remark. Team Kilimanjaro met with several officials and the acting director general of Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) recently. Moirana, speaking on behalf of TANAPA expressed considerable willingness to work towards a policy revision that will give official sanction to speedclimbs on Kilimanjaro, agreeing that adherence to their present policies which do not equip them to assist towards activities defined as 'adventure tourism' meant they were "losing an immense opportunity". You can hear this for yourself here: Tanapa-director-speedclimbs-movie.

"and a really bad example for Kili climbers"

This is disingenuous in the extreme. You'll of course know that the most usual venue for deaths and the incidence of HAPE/HACE is Crater Camp at 5729m. This is because a bizarre and dangerous convention has arisen on Kilimanjaro's Western Breach route of siting the final camp at this location prior to the assault. Obviously Team Kilimanjaro do not use this method but regrettably most operators do.

[For non-mountaineers reading this, an essential safety measure when acclimatising is to 'climb high sleep low'. This is because during daytime exertions when respiration is increased there is a sufficiently high concentration of CO2 produced for the chemo-receptors to register the need to inspire the rarefied air and to send this information to the medulla oblongata, but when respiratory drive is decreased - ie. while sleeping at Crater Camp - insufficient blood CO2 concentrations are produced and the MedOb receives too infrequent instructions to breathe. Now because the person is still in the process of acclimatising the concentration of haemoglobin in the person's blood is not yet enough to derive and carry adequate amounts of O2, whereas there would have been had the climber exposed him/herself to lower barometric  pressures at higher altitudes earlier in the day and thereby given the body 'warning' of what was required to be adapted to. The barometric pressure at Crater Camp will range from about 48% to 53% of what we are used to at sea level, depending on weather, and since the concentrations of air's elemental constituents are precisely the same at all levels this means there is only about half the available oxygen at Crater Camp and without the acquired means to get enough oxygen from this air often serious problems will quickly occur.]

One such example occurred on 20th July 2005 where a New Yorker had to be rescued from Crater Camp after succumbing to HACE. 7Summits will well know that survival and recovery depend on the speed at which the casualty can descend. Had one of us been the casualty in question we all agree that nothing would have given us greater assurance or appreciation than to know that the person rescuing us was the man with the record for the fastest ever descent of Kilimanjaro - Simon Mtuy, 2 hours 20. You can see a picture of him effecting this rescue here: http://www.teamkilimanjaro.com/simonmtuy.html

Any form of ignorance is dangerous. And yet it would be facile to describe a person's actions as irresponsible, or "a really bad example" simply because ignorant persons who are willing to act without reliable advice are capable of misconstruing the actions of such a person. You would surely know that in the case of an acclimatised attempt our athletes must acclimatise in the normal way and then spend two to three days in the crater once they have already summitted. For 'unacclimatised' attempts it would be obvious to anyone who bothered to consider the matter, that the athlete would be required to demonstrate that they could safely reach the maximum altitude even if not strictly 'acclimatised' to it.

Speedclimbs should be seen as conducive to the safety of all Kilimanjaro climbers for a number of reasons, not least:

- on account of the valuable and transferable gains made into the study of safe and effective methods of time-efficient acclimatisation, proven at a level otherwise un-explored. Eg. who else would be motivated to perform a VO2 max yielding Multi-stage Fitness Test at 5725m?

- once we receive official sanction from TANAPA we will likely be required to sponsor a rescue station at the Crater. Isn't it clear the extent to which this will accelerate safe rescues and thus save lives? You'll already know how many frightened guides have sat for hours beside the dead bodies of their once trusting Muzungu clients at Stella Point while slow rescue parties (who have probably never heard of the concept of 'speedclimbing' and who would perhaps think such activities 'a really bad example' or something they personally 'didn't approve of' if they had) are dispatched from Barafu or Kibo.

- because having highly fit and motivated people on the mountain who have an advanced understanding of acclimatisation and emergency HA 1st Aid, and the discipline and motivation to move quickly uphill towards a casualty when everyone else has succumbed to HA lethargy / surreality / apathy, is clearly a desirable thing.

... there's much more to say on this but time constrains.

"The gearlist and especially the comments are a load of yak****."

We have assumed that you refer to our summarized Kilimanjaro kitlist at http://www.teamkilimanjaro.com/kit.html and not our comprehensive Kilimanjaro kitlist at http://www.teamkilimanjaro.com/kitlist.html.

7Summits, you have an interesting ethic in the matter of professional courtesy - is this considered acceptable your side of the Atlantic nowadays? Are you willing to qualify this remark with anything beyond the mere anecdotal, or your personal opinions?

Since there are certain unfortunate people who are willing to digest our yak****, you force discussion:

The comments to which you allude are:

"-thermal vest / base layer
(insulates when cold, wicks sweat when hot)"

Have we missed some yak**** here?
   
"...water bottle (a few 500ml plastic Coke bottles will suffice. Ideally, in addition bring a Camelbak or similar)"

To people who have spent heavily on their wonderful 'don't fit in breast pockets on the freezing assault' Nalgenes, or their 'this also functions for nuclear waste disposal' Siggs, it may be disappointing to read that Coke bottles suffice. However they do. Please show us the yak**** here.

"-2 sweaters (or ideally 1 windproof fleece)"

What's the issue here?

"-good quality socks (2 pairs worn together, 1 thin : 1 thick)"

You've already offered anecdotal dissension for this. Are you aware that there is a certain sports sock manufacturer that is so satisfied with the logic that 'the inner layer sticks to the foot, the outer layer sticks to the boot, and any friction occurs between the two, not between foot and sock or sock and boot' that they offer a refund if you manage to achieve a blister while wearing their double-membraned socks? Hard as we have tried to get blisters by running up and down Kilimanjaro several times with no gaiters or screeguards, none of us has yet succeeded in meriting a refund on these socks and have failed miserably in getting anything that could be distantly associated with a blister. This is because friction between two two tight socks is negligible as it happens.
 
"Socks always stretch and may cause blistering. Wear undersized pairs."

We typically will wear sizes 3 UK designations smaller than our shoe size and have never suffered a blister when worn as above. Note the sufferer at the beginning of the first video presentation on our homepage: www.teamkilimanjaro.com. Despite wearing two pairs of socks she let an inexperienced sales assistant get the better of her on sizing, her socks quickly stretched and bunched and, predictably, she blistered. Get the right size - experiment, around 2-3 sizes smaller than your shoe size - and you won't need to adjust them at all, except to let the scree out at Barafu if you run down without gaiters or screeguard.

It seems quite strange that you would not consider that if anyone were to get blisters it would be the people who habitually cover around 8 times the daily distance as the people you are advising and who have no time to stop and 'adjust' their socks, UNLESS necessity had driven them to develop a means of avoiding blisters, of course. However, is your experience otherwise? Please identify the yak.

"-UV blocking sunglasses (high altitude = thin atmosphere)"

You don't agree?

-sun cream and blue/white barrier cream (nose and ears)

You don't agree?

-small first-aid kit (Compeed, Vaseline, lip-ice, Ibuprofen)

Surely?!

If we believe a certain equipment manufacturer produces kit of a consistently good quality that suffices ideally for the purpose discussed then we have no qualms in strongly recommending that the reader considers it.

Warm regards, and keep up the excellent work,

www.teamkilimanjaro.com
« Last Edit: Aug 14 2005, 01:15 by 7summits »
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7summits

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Hi Teamk,

thanks for your lengthy reply. Fortunately we agree more than you think (and might be on the same side of the atlantic actually)  there were some misunderstandings:

- I called the short gear list something not so nice; this was purely focused on the commercial links. Your overall list is good as you have experience. My apologies for that, I have corrected it in my original post. No Yak stuff in your extended gearlist ;)

- As you prove yourself, the authorities are not approving of adventure tourism as they ' expressed considerable willingness to work towards a policy revision'. In my opinion this means that currently speedclimbs are against policy. QED

- A bad example: here is a big misunderstanding due to my wording. Sometimes it shows too clearly that English is not my first language.. I was reffering to the subject of this topic, namely: shoes. The picture shows a bad example as many people might think that sneakers would suffice for Kili, as we all know they don't. Your and my gearlist clearly state this, but pictures like these give bad example, I think you'll agree.

I was not referring to the speedclimbs. Frankly, I do not care much about them, so have no stance pro or against, just noted that it is against current park policies. But of course I agree that a speedy descent is key to resquing. But speedclimbing is something different than resquing of course, but it will help if the resquers are fit and experienced.

What worries me is not the local guides who are speedclimbers, that is more than good as you pointed out correctly. I worry about starting up a circus where mzungus from all over the world think that they can just run up Kili to tick it off a list, therefore creating much more casualties and resques.

Thanks for the additional AMS info, we can never share info like this too much. Hopefully readers of your and my posts will take Kili and altitude in general more seriously.

All the best from the east side of the Atlantic 8)

Harry
www.7summits.com
« Last Edit: Aug 14 2005, 01:41 by 7summits »
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teamkilimanjaro

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7Summits,

Your courteous response is appreciated and we are grateful for the clarification you offer.

To explain our reasons for describing your earlier post's remark as slightly misleading: we were not aware that English was not your first language. Had it been you would likely have realised that you used the less common definition (2) of the verb 'approve' and did so intransitively when it is more usual to use that definition transitively, eg. 'officially TANAPA do not approve speedclimbing' whereas the audio clip shows that 'TANAPA approve of speedclimbing'.


ap·prove

v., -proved, -prov·ing, -proves.

v.tr.
1.To consider right or good; think or speak favorably of.
2.To consent to officially or formally; confirm or sanction: The Senate approved the treaty.


Your use was concerned with transitive definition number 2 whereas our treatment related to definition number 1. TANAPA appear to think speedclimbs on Kilimanjaro good and right and they speak favourably of them whereas their present policies do not allow them to give official or formal consent or sanction.

To assume automatic equation of the words 'against policy' with 'do not approve of' is not therefore correct.

"QED"
Ergo, quod non demonstrandum est. Apologies for the bad grammar, Latin's none of our first languages. ;)

If there is ever to be any danger of "a circus where mzungus from all over the world think that they can just run up Kili to tick it off a list" this won't be happening on Team Kilimanjaro's watch, God willing. Our requirements for participation are rigorous and exacting.

"The picture shows a bad example as many people might think that sneakers would suffice for Kili, as we all know they don't. Your and my gearlist clearly state this, but pictures like these give bad example, I think you'll agree."

In the context of a recommended kitlist for people equipping themselves to trek up Kilimanjaro and who are yet to discover through safe and progressive experience whether their circulation and lower limb integrity would allow the use of running shoes at low temperatures, we would agree. However, the picture did not appear in such a context but appeared rather where open discussion is invited that aims to better equip all readers with the understanding assumed to be sought by the original topic poster.

We do not advise anyone who is inexperienced to use running shoes at any time of year. However, we will sometimes lead a group at standard pace in the dry season ourselves wearing only running shoes - North Face and Salomon, generally. The owner of Kili-warriors, Eben Schoeman, also uses North Face trainers when climbing at the standard pace, but he's South African and likely grew up in a culture that develops ankle strength early as few Afrikaans children wear shoes at all most days.

People should be fully informed and not have true information denied them as though they were children and unable to discern. Information is not advice. A prospective climber ought always to arrange access to a person who is experienced and well placed to discuss their individual needs, prior to an expedition. We allow this and we've no doubt you do also.

Their is an annoying and narrow minded tendency prevalent to insist on certain conventions as though they were Gospel and absolutes and no alternative could be considered. We resent this and will continue to resist this.

On the question of a bad example, we refer you to a prior observation:
Any form of ignorance is dangerous. And yet it would be facile to describe a person's actions as irresponsible, or "a really bad example" simply because ignorant persons who are willing to act without reliable advice are capable of misconstruing the actions of such a person.

We don't intend to be pedants, only we value clarity because misinformation in this game can kill you.

Ongoing best wishes,

www.teamkilimanjaro.com








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