Climbing Kilimanjaro

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Hiking' started by sparkymarky34, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. sparkymarky34 Barefooters

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    Hi guys,

    Mark from London here.

    I am off to Tanzania in October to climb Kilimanjaro, and as part of the training I am doing various long-distance treks between now and them, including the Coast to Coast walk up in the north England countryside.

    As someone who runs in Sockwas and lives pretty much day-to-day barefoot, I am wondering how best to approach these long-distance walks, on a variety of terrain.

    Should I buy a pair of the recommended heavy-duty walking boots or are there more minimalist hiking options I could try?

    I don't really like wearing shoes (particularly in the warmer months), and especially the constricted feeling of big laced-up boots!

    If you have any pointers, have climbed Kilimanjaro, etc please let me know what you reckon.

    Thank you,
    Mark
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  3. bfsailor Barefooters

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    No personal advice, but there was a team that climbed Kilimanjaro completely barefoot in 2012.
    They posted blog entries as they progressed - some fascinating reading - might give you some pointers.
    You may be able to do a good portion of it barefoot.
    http://dogreatthings.co.za/barefootkilimanjaro/

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  4. DNEchris Chapter Presidents
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    Hi Mark,

    I did the coast to coast, carrying a pack and 30 odd years ago, in a pair of very lightweight hiking boots (all fabric upper) and it was fine.

    Most guide books way over-state their case when it comes to equipment requirements.

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  5. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    I've done high-altitude hiking in the Andes and Himalayas. In the Himalayas, I hiked with two guys wearing heavy-duty hiking boots. Both of them were bothered by blisters, and one of them had already hiked the complete AT in his, so they were well broken in. I hiked in a light shoe I picked up in Singapore. I didn't have any troubles. In the Andes I hiked in circa mid-80s sneakers, also no problem.

    As far as I can tell, the heavy-duty hiking boots that everyone recommends are unnecessary unless you have extremely weak ankles or something. If you're used to barefoot or minimalist shoes, I don't see any reason why you'd want to change things. Just take along your favorite minimalist shoes in case the terrain gets too tough for you or it gets too cold.

    The main trick with Kilimanjaro is that you go from a relatively low altitude to the summit in just a matter of days, so be sure to spend some time at the base camp elevation, take baby steps as you get higher, and drink plenty of water. I gave the latter two bits of advice to the guys I hiked with in the Himalayas, they ignored them, and one got a severe headache and the other guy puked at around 18,000 ft. I felt fine.

    Have fun!

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