Our team of 5, Team PAAGAL, has been preparing for this once in a lifetime adventure, now for over 3 months, with local day hikes in upstate New York and the white mountains in New Hampshire. PAAGAL in Hindi refers to someone crazy and it is an apt name for the group, as most people, besides mountaineers, would consider such endeavors as crazy. Just the other day, I told a coworker that I am taking a vacation to climb Kilimanjaro and she immediately said: “Are you crazy?”
Kilimanjaro is one of the Seven Summits and the highest free standing mountain in the world. Located in Tanzania, just about 200 miles south of the Equator, it is the highest mountain in Africa at 19,340 ft above sea level.
Compared to the high peaks of the Himalayas, Kilimanjaro offers a relatively easy ascent to the summit since it does not involve technical gear like crampons or crossing crevasses. However, trekkers and mountaineers are advised not take the trek lightly due to dangers of high altitude and weather. In a matter of days, climbers go from the hot and humid conditions at the equator, through 5 major ecological climate zones, to sub-zero arctic temperatures at the snow-capped summit. It is therefore critical to have proper acclimatization and appropriate layers of clothing to deal with the diverse weather.
For this newly formed team of Paagals, this is our first big climb together. The team created a Google Shared Drive to motivate each other with a weekly training log of each member. The drive also includes an extensive checklist for detailed planning.
Our training to date primarily comprises of daily 2 – 5 mile runs, local day hikes, swimming and most importantly includes some form of yoga and deep breathing practice. The team is fully energized and the countdown begins as we come to the final 7 days before the trip.
Team PAAGAL: Vivek, Kumar, Haresh, Paras and Bala.
- Larry Davis – One Man’s Passion for Mt. Monadnock
- How to Train for Kilimanjaro?